Your home is where your family grows and makes memories, you don't want one of those memories to be a flooded basement or collapsed foundation. Waterproofing is essential for basements, there are some signs that everyone knows needs immediate action like wood rot or broken sump pumps, but what about those little things that can be more insidious problems?
Damp, Musty Odor
Does the basement's odor take you back to your middle school locker room? There's a pretty good chance that instead of a sweaty gym class in your basement there are years of water seepage. Even if you don't see any physical symptoms, that smell is a powerful sign.
Presence of Mold
This should always, always be a concern. Never ignore mold anywhere in your home. It doesn't matter whether it is black, green, or white, the presence of mold in your basement should be a serious concern. As soon as you notice it, call an expert to get an estimate of what the extent of the damage is, what needs to be done, and how much it will cost.
This is a white, chalky substance you will see on the walls. Efflorescence is the migration of a salt to the surface of a porous material, like concrete, where it forms a coating. This happens near areas where wall cracks and openings are present because they let water in. This is not as serious as mold, but it is a bad sign.
Cracks in the Walls or Floor
Even if you do not see signs of water seepage yet, foundation wall cracks never go away by themselves and they will get worse as time goes on. Luckily, if cracks are your only problem so far, they are usually the least expensive waterproofing remedy.
Hairline floor cracks are common sources of water seepage from the hydrostatic pressure built up below ground. However, large cracks, gaping cracks, or heaving may be signs of inadequate flooring or more serious foundation problems.
If you notice an inward curve or bulge in your concrete foundation wall, this needs an immediate fix. Bowed walls cause long horizontal cracks that will allow water infiltration and could possibly compromise the entire foundation. Bowed walls can usually be fixed with steel bracing.
Water Marks on Walls
Similar to the window problem, if you spot stains from water that has run down your basement walls, this means that water has entered over the top of the foundation. This can happen due to grading problems or exterior sources of infiltration. If the space is not waterproofed then it is likely to happen again.