Common Sources of Moisture & Water in Basements

By:    |   Published May 29, 2020
A homeowner wiping away water in basement due to condensation on a window

The joys of being a homeowner can quickly turn sour when you have moisture problems. Between water damage costs and the risks of mold, you need to keep your basement dry! To diagnose your basement moisture issue, you should start by investigating for the most common sources of water in basement areas.  

Read on to learn the most likely reasons you have water in your basement and some approaches you can take to reduce your risk. 

Foundation Problems 

One of the most common causes of water in basements is when a foundation begins to fail. Cracks in your home foundation can happen anytime, anywhere. While many think of foundation cracks as something that happens after decades of wear, even fresh concrete can experience cracking! 

If you’ve found water in your basement and also see that your foundation has long cracks along the walls, it’s a likely culprit. As water builds up in the ground around your home, hydrostatic pressure constantly presses against the foundation. Over time, this pressure leads to cracks, or exacerbates existing cracks. Eventually, the cracks become significant enough for moisture to be pushed into your home. 

Foundation problems can range from minor to catastrophic. The earlier these are caught, the easier they are to repair! In the earliest stages, foundation cracks are often able to be filled. However, if left to grow, these cracks may eventually require extreme rehabilitation to your foundation to prevent more moisture intrusion or even a complete foundation failure. 

When you notice cracks in your foundation, particularly in the walls, pay close attention to them. By the time these cracks become visible inside your home, there will be several more cracks on the exterior where the moisture pressure starts. These cracks won’t always have signs of moisture in them, but it’s often just a matter of time before they get to that point. 

Take the health of your foundation seriously! The moment you identify a crack, fill it or contact a professional for an inspection and repair! 

Poor Grading 

The ideal landscaping for any home not only looks good, but also naturally draws moisture away from your foundation. Proper grading for a home should gently slope away from your foundation for several feet. This helps guide rainwater and ground moisture towards places they can safely drain away, such as a sewer system. 

Over time, the grading in your lawn can be diminished by weathering or landscaping efforts. If this leads to areas where the grading slopes towards your foundation, it’s almost inevitable that you will experience water damage in your basement. 

For small grading problems against your foundation, homeowners can often take the matters into their own hands. Filling these areas with packed dirt and soil, angling the slope back away from your foundation can be done cheaply and quickly. However, for more severe grading issues you’ll need professional help! 

Gutters & Downspout Failure 

Another core aspect of protecting against water in basements is the gutter system. It doesn’t take a massive rainstorm to deluge your house with water. Even just a 1-inch storm dumps almost 30,000 gallons worth of water on a single acre of land! 

When the rain hits, it’s your gutters and downspouts that do the heavy lifting to protect your foundation from the moisture. Without working gutters, any rain that pours down your roof will land right at the base of your house’s exterior walls. That means it will seep into the ground directly against your foundation! Likewise, if your downspouts aren’t running drainage far enough away from your home, the moisture caught by your gutters will end up right back where it was originally going!  

It’s important to keep your home’s gutter system in peak condition, especially during the rainy spring season. Leaves, twigs and other debris in your gutters will dam them, leading to overflow falling alongside your home. Keep them clear by cleaning your gutters annually or invest in gutter guards. If your downspouts don’t bring the water far enough away from the home, get downspout extensions. 

Poor Basement Circulation & Humidity 

Water doesn’t always come from an obvious source. In some cases, water in your basement may be a symptom of another problem like poor circulation and damp air. While all homes are susceptible to poor basement circulation, the ones that notice it the most tend to be those with basement showers or other sources of high moisture and heat. 

Basements commonly give space for colder air with higher moisture to accumulate. Over time, this moisture will condense into water droplets across your basement. Unlike more direct waterproofing options, fixing circulation and humidity requires solving your airflow problem instead of trying to protect your home from the moisture itself. 

The two best options for reducing water in the basement due to air quality and humdiity are: 

Dehumidifier – A dehumidifier is a popular way to help control water in the basement. They come in a variety of capacities and it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that can help stabilize the humidity in your basement.  

Improving Airflow – Ventilation systems and additional exhaust can help expel damp air and keep the circulation in your house from falling stagnant. An easy way to improve airflow and home air quality is with a system like the E-Z Breathe. 

Schedule Your FREE Annual Foundation Inspection 

The best way to protect your home from poor air quality is with professional waterproofing. EverDry Toledo can help with a FREE 20-point basement inspection! We’ll help you find out if your home is at risk for water damage and which solutions will best serve you. Contact us online to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (419) 469-5833 and schedule your inspection today! 

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