Wet Basement

Contributor: Aaron Goucher

Though you may not initially see the connection, a wet basement can be a sign of foundation problems. A wet basement often causes horrible musty smells and makes the home feel overly humid and uncomfortable. Basement humidity always migrates upwards towards the drier air in the living areas of the home. The elevated humidity can contribute to higher heating and cooling costs. It also jeopardizes the value of your home. When a wet basement problem is left unsolved, additional issues can result, including damage to flooring, walls and mold growth. Mold growth from basement water issues can pose a serious health risk if left unchecked.

An improperly drained gutter can also cause water in a basement and foundation problems. During rainstorms water collects in the home’s gutter and should flow out of the gutter, through the downspout and away from the house and its foundation. However, if the gutter is clogged with debris or the downspout is improperly placed, water can pool around the foundation, seeping into the basement.

What are the Signs of a Wet Basement?

Spotting signs of a wet or damaged basement isn’t difficult. Common symptoms include basement windows that sweat and bleed, stained basement walls, puddles of water pooling on the basement floor, and water seeping in through wall cracks. Water intrusion usually results in excess moisture and uncomfortable basement humidity.

While fixing one of the problems, like using epoxy injections to repair a wall crack, may stop water from entering the basement, it will not always remedy the underlying problem responsible for the damage. Alleviating hydrostatic pressure, installing a drainage system and/or moisture barriers and using sump pumps to discharge subsurface water often results in a more comprehensive, long-lasting repair.

Wet Basement Problems

Potential Causes

If you have begun troubleshooting your wet basement issues and eliminated gutter runoff as a potential cause, it’s time to consider other issues that may be responsible for your wet basement. Check all the pipes leading into and out of the basement. Cracks or gaps can cause leaks, resulting in moisture in the basement. However, if it appears the water is seeping up through the basement flooring, it’s time to call in a foundation repair specialist to check for hydrostatic pressure and more complex issues. Seepage can create multiple problems including cracked flooring and walls.

Poor Drainage Issues

When surface water does not drain properly away from the house, a wet basement can be the result. Poor surface water drainage can cause water to trickle (or sometimes flow during storms) into a crawl space or basement from the highest portions of the basement foundation walls. This often indicates the foundation soil has settled or shifted. Foundation erosion or shifting is normal, and when repaired, can eliminate wet basement problems. Basement waterproofing and repair may be needed as well.

Determine what’s at the root of your foundation issues. Contact a certified repair specialist to inspect your home and provide a foundation repair estimate.

Olshan Foundation Repair GM Kansas City

Aaron Goucher

Aaron is a Veteran and has been in the construction industry most of his life. He joined the Olshan Team in 2002 and has served as a Certified Structural Technician, Regional Manager and General Manager. Aaron is passionate about helping homeowners in the Midwest region stabilize, waterproof and protect their homes. You can usually spot Aaron on TV or podcasts, as local media outlets often feature his advice when it comes to structural & waterproofing issues.