What Causes Moisture in Basement Walls?

Excess moisture is a common problem in many basements. This can raise concerns in homes where the basement is used as a finished space and occupied for living or sleeping. Along with potential health hazards, wall moisture problems presents the risk of property damage as well.

Here are some reasons why wall moisture problems exist in basements.

Rain and Ground Water

wall moisture problemsProblem: If the structure does not have proper grading, gutters, or down spouts, a substantial amount of rainwater can end up seeping through basement walls. In instances where the below grade water table rises due to flooding or seasonal conditions, the resulting high water table will also make its way into basement walls.

Solution: To implement an effective wall moisture solution, it is recommended that drain tile systems are put in place around basement walls even where the soil is sandy or gravel.

Improper Grading

Problem: When the ground surrounding a structure’s foundation slopes towards it or is level, any water that accumulates will be directed towards the basement. Not only will water collect next to the basement wall, but the soil at the side of the house becomes backfilled without compaction and settles.

Solution: To make grade adjustments and enhance wall moisture treatment, use earth-moving equipment like landscaping rakes to work the topsoil to the proper grade. Place soil around the house so that it slants away from the foundation wall in all directions, dropping a minimum of at least two to three inches every ten feet.

wall moisture problemsDefective Gutters and Faulty Downspouts

Problem: Missing or clogged gutters and faulty downspouts induce rainwater to trickle along exterior walls and head towards the foundation periphery. As such, a downspout missing an extender will direct all the water along the wall into the ground, depositing rainwater in a concentrated spot close to the basement.

Solution: To prevent wall moisture formation in basements, gutters should be cleaned seasonally while downspout extenders should be attached properly. Extensions should be set up to dispense water at a minimum of four feet away from the home’s walls. Installing slanted concrete walkways around the basement can help redirect runoff rainwater away from the property.

Poorly-Fashioned Window Wells

Problem: Another source of basement wall moisture is the installation of faulty window wells. Since these architectural features pretty much act like a drain beside the basement wall, improper fitting allows water to run towards the wall rather than drain away from the foundation. Waterlogged window wells can easily leak through the window and into the basement.

Solution: To prevent this from happening, window wells should be constructed with a ¾ inch coarse aggregate as a wall moisture barrier from the window sill to the footing. In addition, a supplemental drain tile extension should also extend along the same premises.

Structural Cracks

Problem: Foundations made from concrete blocks and concrete slabs often develop cracks. In addition, soil settling can also cause cracks to occur. Structural issues can also involve improper floor joist connections to the foundation wall. All these issues can create crevices large enough to permit water seepage into basement walls.

Solution: This sort of wall moisture problem needs to be addressed by professionals only, where exact footing fixtures and accurate connection between the structure and the foundation wall above can be ensured.

Interior Moisture Sources

wall moisture problemsProblem: Basement walls are not only subjected to moisture from the building’s exterior but also face dampness and moisture issues from the inside. This moisture in the basement is generated from occupants and their activities.

For instance, appliances like humidifiers and unvented clothes dryers can create indoor moisture. Daily activities like showering and cooking also create indoor moisture which tends to settle on basement walls among other surfaces.

Solution: Basements used as living spaces cannot avoid indoor sources of moisture, so proper ventilation is integral to preventing moisture build up. Dehumidification may be introduced to lower the level of basement humidity and to prevent condensation that may form on concrete walls.

Tidal Wave Response Atlanta

Other than foundational issues, property owners can easily take steps to prevent moisture build up in basements. For all other concerns, residents of the Atlanta, Georgia area can get in touch with water damage restoration experts like Tidal Wave Response to deal with their basement moisture issues.

We use professional grade wall moisture sensors and wall moisture meters to test moisture levels in walls and provide long term solutions to remedy moisture issues.

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