Discovering water in your basement can be intimidating. However, at AquaGuard, we provide fast, permanent basement waterproofing solutions to restore your peace of mind and keep your basement dry, healthy and safe.
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How Do I Know If I Have Water Problems in My Basement?
Sometimes discovering that your basement has water or moisture penetration issues isn’t as simple as walking in on standing water. Basement water problems can manifest in different ways, and being able to identify common symptoms can help you be proactive about waterproofing and repairing it before issues worsen over time.
Here are common signs of basement leaks or moisture issues:
Condensation in Basement
Condensation forms when warm, humid air touches cold surfaces. Thus, condensation on basement ceilings, walls, metal, and pipes is an indicator of high humidity due to excess moisture. Indoor humidity should stay between 30-45%. Any higher, it can welcome a slew of problems, including condensation, mold, and mildew.
The best way to prevent condensation on basement walls is to check your basement for water sources. A humid basement may be caused by standing water or leaky windows. Holes in walls and poorly sealed windows and doors can create opportunities for humid outside air to enter your basement.
Though it’s not the solution to all basement humidity causes, a dehumidifier may be installed to help control basement humidity levels. However, it should be noted that a dehumidifier’s hard work will be canceled out if you don’t first seal your basement from outside elements.
Hence, if your dehumidifier appears to be constantly running, you likely have a water problem in your basement.
Efflorescence on Basement Walls, Floors, or Ceilings
Efflorescence is the white, chalky stains left behind on basement walls, ceilings, and floors after water evaporates. It’s made up of the minerals in concrete and water, and while not toxic and easily cleanable, it is typically a sign of basement water problems.
Removing efflorescence is simple, but it won’t prevent it from returning. After cleaning efflorescence from your basement walls, it’s important to inspect further to discover the source of the water and consider waterproofing solutions.
To remove efflorescence from your basement wall, follow these steps:
- Cover basement floors with a protective material.
- Wet the surface thoroughly with a sponge. Work in sections so the water doesn’t dry before you can complete the project.
- Scrub the wall with a wire or plastic scrub brush.
- Rinse the wall with clean water and let dry.
Wet basement walls are an obvious indicator of basement water problems. Wet basement walls can be caused by leaky window wells or water seeping through cracks in the foundation. Even if the only cracks that have appeared in your home’s foundation walls are hairline, water will always find the point of least resistance and thus can still squeeze its way through those hairline cracks, resulting in basement leaks or floods, larger wall cracks, and even bowing or buckling walls
Just like a towel gets heavier when as it saturates, so does soil. When water oversaturates the soil surrounding your home, hydrostatic pressure places thousands of pounds of additional weight on your foundation walls, causing your walls to crack horizontally. Because of this, water will be forced through the smallest of openings in your basement walls, eventually resulting in leaks or floods.
Beyond basement leaks and hydrostatic pressure can also cause severe structural foundation or structural damage in the form of bowing, buckling or shearing walls. If a damaged wall is left untreated and succumbs to enough hydrostatic pressure, over time it can even collapse. Though wall collapse is rare, it does occur and is extremely damaging to your home’s structural integrity and expensive to repair. Proper drainage can help prevent hydrostatic pressure and should be installed if this is identified as a problem, in addition to a wall stabilization system. Hence, we advise you to address ANY basement wall cracks you’ve noticed sooner rather than later, to have an expert assess your home’s specific situation, and to repair your hydrostatic pressure-caused water and foundation issues before they worsen with time.
Basement Floor Wet Spots
Like with cracks in basement walls, hydrostatic pressure can also push water up through basement floor cracks. Floor crack leaks may or may not result in a full-blown flood, but the moisture the cracks allow into your basement will create dampness, musty smells, and/or perpetually-high relative humidity levels. This can lead to numerous complications, such as high energy bills and mold growth.
Perhaps the most concerning problem that basement floor wet spots indicate is foundation damage. Floor cracks are typically caused by settlement, which can compromise the structural integrity of your home. If water is seeping through your basement floor, the false water table created underneath your home at the time of construction has likely oversaturated due to a clogged or inadequate external drainage system, and thus water is pooling up underneath your house and entering through basement floor cracks.
You should call an expert immediately for a foundation inspection if you’ve noticed this issue.. AquaGuard Foundation Solutions offers free foundation inspections, during which we will assess any concerns you have, determine the causes of your floor cracks and subsequent groundwater seepage, and help customize a permanent solution to repair YOUR home’s specific needs.
Finding the source of a basement leak with wet carpet can be a bit more difficult than with exposed concrete floors. You will most likely need to tear up or remove the existing carpeting and, if the wet spot is near a wall, check behind the trim and drywall as well. Wet basement carpet may be an indicator of more severe structural damage. Because of this, it’s important to call for a professional foundation inspection as soon as possible.
If your basement water problems originate from window wells, broken pipes, or foundation wall cracks, your drywall may be what tips you off to a leak. However, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if your drywall is wet below the surface. Here are some questions to evaluate whether your drywall has incurred water damage:
- Is the wall bowing outwards?
- Is the wall pulling loose from mounting screws?
- Is the wall damp and soft to the touch?
- What does a moisture meter reading of the wall indicate?
When determining whether a drywall can be saved, time is of the essence. This is because after 48 hours, a wet drywall is very likely to grow mold. Even if the exterior of the wall has dried, the interior and insulation may retain moisture. If your drywall is exposed water from sewage and outdoor flooding, it should be replaced regardless of how long it’s been damp. It can be dangerous to try to salvage drywall that is exposed to these external elements because they are considered unsanitary and can be contaminated with pollutants such as fungi, e. Coli, pesticides, and more.
Mold is a very common side effect of having moisture issues in your basement. The growth of mold is caused by too much moisture build-up and not enough ventilation. Not only is it unsightly in your basement, but it can also lead to health issues. Mold can emerge in several different colors, including grey, black, green, or white, and some can even be toxic.
The first thing to do about mold in the basement is to reduce indoor humidity. While a dehumidifier can help ameliorate this process, it’s important to find the source of moisture and ensure it is repaired and that effective waterproofing solutions are installed. You’ll also need to invest in mold remediation services as soon as possible considering that mold can have severe impacts on the health and value of your home. Mold remediation can be dangerous, especially in the presence of black mold, so make sure to do your research and consider hiring a professional before you start a DIY project.
Unfortunately, those musty smells in your home are likely indicators of water leaks, high humidity, and possibly mold. Mold grows on organic material in high humidity environments. If you believe your home or basement has a musty smell, check for other signs of water intrusion such as peeling paint, wall discoloration, mold spots, or increased allergy symptoms.
To completely remove musty odors, you’ll first have to rid your home of mold through a mold remediation company. After this has been done, you may still notice a lingering stench. Rather than opening windows to vent the room, consider investing in a basement dehumidifier. Letting humid air in from outside can worsen the problem. Air purifiers, air fresheners, and bowls filled with vinegar or opened boxes of baking soda can also help remove musty odors.
If your home is plagued by high humidity and allergies seem to be an issue, it could be due to moisture in your basement. The stack effect is the process of hot air leaving the home through your attic and upper levels. As it does this, it creates a vacuum in the levels below. New air is pulled upwards through the basement and crawl space. So, if the air in your basement is humid and polluted with allergenic mold spores, that’s the same air that circulates through the rest of your home.
Bugs in Basement
Damp, dark spaces can serve as a breeding ground for bugs and other pests. Some common critters in these environments include pill bugs, cockroaches, silverfish, mice, rats, and carpenter ants. Solving a moisture or high humidity problem in your basement can help fend off pests.
What to Do After Discovering Basement Water Problems
If you’ve discovered that you have basement water problems, the next step is finding the source of excess water or moisture. Finding a leak in your basement can be a tiring, time-consuming process, and it’s easy to look over potential causes. To avoid the hassle, call AquaGuard for a free inspection! We’ll thoroughly assess all areas of the basement for leaks or moisture issues and recommend permanent solutions.
Potential Causes of Basement Water Problems
If you decide to inspect your basement yourself, here a few of the common causes of basement water problems:
Concrete foundation cracks are very common once the concrete is poured. Cracking typically occurs when the concrete dries, or from any settlement in the soils on the exterior of the foundation. Cracks create passageways for water to seep into your basement. Even the smallest of cracks can allow water to flow through, so it’s important to get these checked out before the issue gets worse.
If you notice any tie holes in your concrete foundation, these could also be passageways for water to get through to your basement. These are very small holes that are left behind when the steel rods are removed after the concrete is initially poured. These holes are patched, but over time they are susceptible to leaks if not patched properly.
Window leaks are common after heavy rains, and are often the result of poorly-sealed window frames. Luckily, this is a simple fix, easy to catch, and unless the problem is simply neglected, doesn’t usually lead to significant flooding.
Plumbing leaks or busted pipes are a common cause of basement floods. When a plumbing line breaks, it can cause extensive damage to basement walls, floors, and storage. Check washing machine hoses, sump pumps alarm systems for sump pumps, water heater units, and pipes for indicators that a plumbing leak is causing your wet basement.
When a water heater ruptures or bursts, several gallons of water can quickly pour into your basement. Unfortunately, water heater floods are a common cause of basement water problems. However, there are several solutions that can help you catch water heater floods before they cause damage, including flood rings and floor alarms.
How to Keep Water out of the Basement
To keep water out of your basement, you’ll need to accurately unveil what’s causing moisture to enter it in the first place. If the cause of your basement water problem is foundation cracks, you may need foundation repair and better drainage solutions. If the cause is ruptured plumbing, plumbing repair is necessary.
Once the root cause is known and repaired, several waterproofing solutions will typically need to be installed to ensure your basement remains permanently protected from future leaks, flooding, or high humidity, including, but not necessarily limited to:
- Vapor Barrier
- Drainage System
- Wall crack injection repair
- Low-profile dehumidifier
- Self-drainage dehumidifier
Looking to Buy or Sell? Why It’s Important to Check for Basement Water Problems
If you’re in the market for a new home, make sure to always check for basement water problems before closing the deal. Purchasing a home with a wet basement can mean expensive repairs are in your future. Not only that, but water problems in the basement should significantly decrease the home’s value—you’ll want to make sure that’s reflected in the home’s price tag.
Similarly, if you’re about to put your home on the market, it never hurts to have your leaky basement issue addressed sooner rather than later. You’re required to disclose any waterproofing or structural issues with your home when you sell it, but by addressing your water penetration issue before it worsens, you’ll not only protect your house for you and future homeowners, but these repairs will let you sell your house for what it’s truly worth. Basement waterproofing repairs can actually increase your home’s resale value by as much as 10%!
Who Do You Call for Water in the Basement?
Know you have basement water problems? Call AquaGuard today!
Basement moisture issues can be solved quickly and permanently if caught early enough. During the humid months in Georgia, your house is often even more susceptible to water damage. If you think your house needs an inspection, let us know!
For a free, no-obligation basement waterproofing quote, call us today! We proudly serve Atlanta, Marietta, Decatur, the surrounding areas of Lawrenceville, Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Athens, Gainesville, Roswell, Rome, Peachtree City and many nearby areas.