The amount of moisture that builds up in your basement can cause structural damage over a period of several years. The structural deterioration progresses so slowly that you may never notice it until you experience costly repairs in the walls, flooring or electrical system. With preventative maintenance, however, you can reduce or eliminate the amount of moisture that passes through your basement. Below are some handy tips to help you get started.
Fortify the Foundation
If you’ve identified water leakage along the foundation of your basement, it’s a sign that the water is coming from somewhere outside your home. Melting snow, rainwater and groundwater can seep through holes or cracks in the concrete, causing a buildup of moisture in the room. When you locate the moisture,use a concrete sealer or hydraulic cement to block the invading water. Remember, where there’s water, there is mold. The development of mold creates further moisture along the walls and the edge of the flooring in the basement, thus making your basement feel damp and cold.
Water Leak Prevention
If leaking water is an issue, the best place to stop its penetration is on the outside of your home. Inspect the outer foundation as well as any window frames and concrete porches or patios. Cracks or holes along the outside of the house almost assuredly lead to water finding its way into the basement. You may also want to inspect your plumbing for any loose connections or corroded metal pipes. The slightest opening in the pipeline can lead to ongoing drips, which, unchecked, can form standing water. Key plumbing components you should inspect may include the water heater, faucet valves, appliance connections and pipes running along the ceiling of the basement.
In addition to sealing the inside and outside of your foundation, you should also monitor where the rainwater, groundwater or melting snow is flowing. A good place to start is on top of your roof. If your gutters have leaks or loose connections, then water is dripping through the channels. You may want to replace your old connected gutters with seamless gutters to ensure the water is flowing where directed. Make sure your downspouts are pointed away from the house with an extension long enough, so the water flows away from the base of the house.
Next, you should check for any standing water along the foundation. Are there any puddles around the base? An affordable, easy solution to standing water is to install drainage tubing in the yard so that the water flows away from the home’s foundation. You may have to elevate the area around your yard a bit to channel the excess water where you want it to go.
Nothing prevents the spread of moisture and humidity throughout your basement like proper insulation. You can begin by insulating your plumbing. Are there steel or copper pipes running along the basement ceiling or the walls? Foam pipe insulation is cheap and easy to install. Just cut it and wrap it around the pipes to keep droplets from formulating and dripping on the floor.
You can also insulate your brick walls with rigid insulation sheets that you can cut to size. To attach the sheets to your brick wall, stabilize the sheets with 2” x 2” wood rods and heavy-duty concrete screws. Before covering your walls with the rigid insulation, you’ll want to seal the wall, so it’s waterproof. Placing the insulation over leaking walls will only create mold and mildew that could go unnoticed.
By identifying where the moisture is coming from and preventing it from invading your basement, you’ll create a watertight environment free from humidity, saving you from costly repairs down the road.
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