Keeping your home’s basement dry all year around is important to keeping your home and family safe and healthy. A dry basement is one sign of a healthy basement. Or rather, a wet basement may be a sign of an unhealthy basement.
Let’s take a dive into how to keep your basement dry and what might be the cause of wet basements.
Skip to section:
- Understanding Why Basements Become Wet
- A Formula for Keeping Your Basement Dry
- Consequences of Not Keeping Your Basement Dry
First, let’s look at why some basements don’t stay dry.
Understanding Why Basements Become Wet
Not all basements are the same. Not all houses are the same. Each house fights off water from coming into its basement differently. Some have more water wanting to get in, while others simply don’t have the defenses put up to be able to fight off an attack from the water.
Water can also enter in different forms. Water vapor is the gaseous state of water, and it is invisible to the naked eye until it turns into the liquid form. Regular household activities can contribute to water vapor in basements. Liquid water can enter the basement through a variety of different ways as well.
Here are some of the most common reasons basements become wet:
- Water is leaking through basement wall
There are a few different reasons that water might leak through your wall. It could be a plumbing issue, or leaks in the pipes inside your walls. Another common cause of this is hydrostatic pressure that forces water up from the soil into your home through the basement floor and walls.
If your basement leaks when it rains, this may mean that there are cracks in the wall. This is an easy way for water to enter in, especially in walls that have larger cracks.
Having a leaking basement wall could mean there are a number of underlying issues. It’s best to figure out where the source of the water is coming from before making any decisions or repairs.
- Cracks in the floor
If there are cracks in your basement floor, it could absolutely lead to water entering your basement. Depending on the reason and size of the crack, it may need to be fixed before your basement can become dry again.
A high water table under your basement may lead to water coming up through cracks in the floor.
Smaller sized cracks may not need fixing, but if there is dampness near the floor crack, it may mean that there is a leaking issue that needs to be taken care of.
Larger cracks in the basement floor could mean issues with the home’s foundation and should be looked at by a professional.
Just like water entering through your walls, the static pressure under your home can cause the water from the soil to rise up and enter through your floor.
- Damp spots
If there seem to be “random” damp spots in your basement, but not necessarily standing water, there could be an assortment of issues. For one, it could simply be a moisture problem from your dryer or central air conditioner not flowing properly. It could also be ineffective grading, and the water then presses into your basement, seeping through tiny cracks.
The same could be happening, except from below. Water can seep through cracks from the floor and cause damp spots on the surface above.
Heavy precipitation can lead to a few problems for basements. Water tables can rise, and the soil surrounding the foundation can fill with water. When the water builds up, it has no where to go except up into the basement.
- High water table
If your home is near a lake, pond, swamp, ditch, or simply in a low lying area, when the water rises to a certain level, it will have nowhere else to go but into your home. If you have lived at this home for a good while, you might actually know how high that water source can get before your home starts taking on water.
Really, the only solution to keeping your home dry in this environment is a proper drainage system. Your home is simply in a targeted spot where pools of water lie just beneath the ground, and wet seasons will cause water to rise to high levels.
- Gutters, downspouts not shooting water far enough
When precipitation comes down onto your house, and there are no gutters or downspouts, the water slides down the sides of your roof and falls onto the ground right next to your house. Heavy rains can cause pools to form around your home’s foundation. When the pools become large enough, they can enter into your home.
A Formula For Keeping Your Basement Dry
As we looked at above, there are numerous ways water can enter into your home. To keep your basement dry no matter the season, there are lots of solutions. It simply depends on which issue you are facing.
- Proper drainage system
The drainage system is what takes the water that wants to get into your home and carries it out and away, so it can’t get in. Below are some common pieces of the dry basement system that will keep moisture out of your home.
- Drain tile
There are a few different drain tile systems, but the main idea is that the drain tile collects water that surrounds your house and channels it away from the foundation.
Water coming through the walls generally call for the smaller drain tile system, whereas floor leaking issues require the larger drain tile system to be installed.
The baseboard system works great for smaller leakage issues. It is installed along the walls of your basement and, again, channels water away from the basement, sometimes through a sump pump. Holes are also sometimes drilled into the cement blocks to allow the water to exit.
- Sump pump
The sump pump is a piece of the drainage system that collects water into a basin, and discharges the water away from the home’s foundation. The sump pumps can sense when the water level gets high, and it automatically pushes it out through its discharge line into a designated drainage area.
- Landscape slope
As mentioned earlier, if water enters through your basement’s walls, it may mean that there isn’t enough slope in your landscaping. The solution here would be to build up a higher slope so that the water can funnel downwards and away from the house, as opposed to downwards into the house.
The water has to go somewhere, and if the slope is pointed towards your house, unfortunately that’s where it will go.
- Gutters and Downspouts
If your gutters are clogged, not working properly, or non-existent, water can pile up next to your house and leak through. To keep your basement dry, make sure your gutters are clear of debris and not clogging up.
When the downspout clogs up, it will overflow and fall directly down, saturating the soil and damaging the foundations walls.
Be sure to check and clean your gutters and downspouts.
Dehumidifiers can also be a solution to keeping your basement dry. If there is condensation in the basement, a dehumidifier may fix this. However, it is important to note that a dehumidifier may not be a long-term solution to your problem.
Consequences of Not Keeping Your Basement Dry
There are some consequences that can occur if you don’t keep your basement dry.
Mold can accumulate very easily in damp areas. This makes the push for keeping your basement dry all year around so important.
- Ruined furniture
Standing water could also cause damage to any furniture and items you have in your basement.
- Further damage to walls and floor
Damage can compound and get worse with time. Even if your basement had lasted this long, it may just be one more heavy rainfall until a catastrophe happens.
What Does A Dry Basement Mean?
A dry basement means that you can have peace knowing that your family, furniture, and house are safe from water damage. Your dry basement system will kick water out, and it will protect your house from being invaded in the future.
Have Professionals Take a Look to Keep Your Basement Dry
If you are concerned that your home may have a recurring basement waterproofing issue that is causing harm to you, your family, or your home, get in touch with us right away. Our team will send a trained professional out to analyze the situation and give an estimate on what it will cost to fix the problem.
Our team is made up of several seasoned waterproofing experts that have been in the business for 10+ years. We’ve seen just about every wet basement issue you can think of, and we’ve kept a lot of basements dry over the years.
When you call our office during regular business hours, a team member will answer and help you schedule an estimate with one of our estimators. He will then come out and take a look at your basement issue and provide guidance on where to go from there.