Dealing With Basement Wetness

& Water Intrusion

Water Intrusion Into Your Foundation, The Causes & Problems

Water gets into the foundation of a building and to the basement in different ways, of these, the most common factors are not having effective foundation drain tile installed, infiltration and condensation, cracks in walls, poorly designed window well, improper grading, leaky joints between structural elements and cracks in slab . All of these can cause the groundwater to seep into the basement and leave the foundation deck to be prone to a crack between the ground and the basement wall.

Sidewalk Problems

Another culprit is the driveway and sidewalk problems, a poorly built driveway slab or saggy sidewalk can contribute immensely to basement wetness. Water can find its way into the basement by taking advantage of these bad design concepts and over time, even a small amount of moisture can promote the proliferation of mildew, fungus and bacteria if no proper measures are taken.

Condensation & Infiltration

Basement wetness or leaky foundation are caused by condensation and infiltration. In the hot, humid weather, foundation walls are susceptible to being damp when airborne water vapor turns to water and gets in contact with cold surfaces through vapor sources (poorly ventilated drying appliances, damp walls, and outdoor air). 

When it rains, it wets, and this can lead to rainwater running towards the house with a poorly designed drainage system and improper grading around the foundation.

What Do You Do If Your Basement is Wet?

If you have a wet basement, do not panic. But even if you have just acquired a new property, you are not an exception to water intrusion problems. You can stop, reduce and completely eliminate this anomaly by ensuring the following measures are carefully taken

✓  Take a good look around the property and check for dampness, discoloured paint on lower parts of the walls, and also possibility of mould growth. 

✓  Check for any strains such as stains and painstakingly see if the panelling is not compromised, as it can be a breathing ground for cover-up, so see if the bottom of the plywood is not stained or coming apart

✓  If you have a mop leaning against the wall, particularly if the mop is damp or stains running to a floor drain

✓  Test for condensation and seepage using a tape.

✓  Check your drain pipe

✓  Check all the possible vapour sources like damp walls, water release from concrete, humid outdoor air, and poorly ventilated appliance.

Preventive Measures You Should Take

✓  If you have a property with basement wetness caused by sewer problems either from a flood or the sewer line being plugged. Install a special floor drain with a shutoff valve to prevent sewer backup. Only apply this if your house is in a low-lying area where flooding is predominant.

✓  If the problem is as a result of condensation, run a dehumidifier in the basement. Insulate cold-water pipes to prevent condensate drippage. Also ensure appliances such as dryers have vents running to the outside. Doing this can help reduce vapour build-up during warm and humid season

✓  Check the grade of your yard about 6ft below the ground around the foundation. Use a level, long board and tape measure to check the grade.

✓  If you are experiencing rainwater running towards the house, this can be an open invitation for water infiltration which can cause cracks between the ground and the basement wall. Pack some soil against the outside of the wall and tamp it down firmly, and cover the pile-up and sloping soil with a layer of construction plastic and mulch held down with a layer of stones. The plastic keeps the weeds from growing.

✓  If you have clogged gutters, clean them out to avoid free fall of water from splashing and eroding into the basement.

✓  If you have downspouts installed in your property, ensure the downspout piping is extended to carry the water from the roof at least 48 to 72 inches from the foundation and ensure to build the grade around the house so that it carries water away from the house.

✓  Inspect the property you are or the one you are about to acquire if it has a foundation tile drain installed and if located outside the basement walls at or below the basement floor level.

✓  Patch cracks in the foundation walls using waterproof masonry sealant only if the cracks are under 0.25 inches wide, otherwise use a dual layer waterproofing consisting of a non-woven polypropylene  waterproofing material for larger cracks.

✓  If you have larger water problems, it is best you consider the sump pump system. Foundation drainage systems are designed to remove water pools around foundation footings.

✓  If an interior basement wall is going up while the rest of the structure stays calm, the least expensive correction may be to take off the top of the wall and substitute a row of small screw jacks to let the house down a little at a time. Lowering should be no faster than 1/4 inch per week to keep the noise level low and allow the plaster to adjust.