Just about anyone can fall victim to a flooded basement, but it isn’t always easy to notice the signs of a problem. Today, we’re looking at 4 of the most common reasons for finding water in your basement. First, look down: the most obvious sign of basement water leaks is accumulated water on basement floors. Other signs that may suggest you need an interior waterproofing company for basement repair include:
- Damp or musty smell
- Water stains or streaks on the basement walls
- Dampness or beads of water on the basement walls or floor
- Condensation on the inside of basement windows
- “Sweating” pipes
- Walls with mold or mineral deposits, called efflorescence
The first step to basement waterproofing is to identify the source of the water in your basement. Here are four places an interior waterproofing company will look for water entering the basement:
One source of water in the basement does not come from the soil surrounding the home, but from the air in the basement. If a bathroom or clothes dryer vent is not properly directing moisture outside, the basement can become so humid that condensation appears on walls, windows, and pipes. Humidity in the basement can be reduced using a dehumidifier. However, this will not address the root cause and may require a contractor to determine why the vents are failing to move the moist air outside the home.
Concrete is an aggregate material. It is made up of sand and rock held together with cement and water. As an aside, concrete and cement are not the same thing. Cement is the binding agent that holds concrete together, whereas concrete is the final product.
Because concrete is an aggregate material, it is porous. These pores may be tiny, but they exist. When sitting in a saturated environment, these pores can transport water through capillary absorption.
In essence, this means that concrete absorbs water, like a sponge. And, like a sponge, concrete will seep water out when it takes water in so that it maintains equilibrium. The result is water that is transported from saturated soil outside the basement through the concrete walls and floors by the concrete itself.
Interior waterproofing services offered by a basement repair company include sealing the concrete to slow or halt this process. These waterproof materials plug the pores, preventing the water inside the concrete walls from seeping into the basement.
CRACKS AND GAPS
Your basement walls and floors will almost inevitably develop cracks or gaps as the house settles into its foundation. Concrete is a very strong building material in compression but is weak in tension. This means that concrete can support the weight of the entire house pressing down, but is prone to cracking or crumbling when it experiences pulling or twisting. The result is that when the house settles unevenly, the forces on the walls and foundation can cause cracks or gaps between slabs to form.
Again, when the ground becomes saturated, the water in the soil can leak through gaps between slabs or cracks in slabs. Water drips and water stains in the corners, along the top of basement walls, or along the base of basement walls may indicate that a gap has opened up between concrete slabs. Water drips or water stains on the walls themselves may, upon closer inspection, reveal a small crack.
Basement wall repair or home foundation repair may be needed to close any gaps and prevent any cracks from expanding. Once the cause is addressed, an interior waterproofing company can repair the cracks or gaps to plug the water leaks.
WINDOWS AND PIPE OPENINGS
Leaks near basement windows can have a number of causes including an improperly sealed window pane, an improperly sealed window frame, a gap around the window frame created by settling, or a window well with poor drainage. Similarly, improperly sealed openings for water pipes, gas pipes, and sewer pipes can allow water to enter the home. Sealing the window pane, window frame, and plumbing may be a relatively easy DIY repair.
A gap around windows and pipes caused by settling may indicate a broader problem that may necessitate foundation leveling or repair. Similarly, a window well that is not properly draining water from the basement window may require exterior work. In either case, simply sealing around the window or pipe may only temporarily fix the water leak since the water leak is merely a symptom of a broader problem.
To repair a wet basement, an interior waterproofing company must first determine the source of the water. Condensation, seeping, and leaks can be repaired, once found.