Simple Tips to Maintain a Dry Basement


The condition of a basement has a significant impact on the overall health of the building as well as its occupants. A wet or moist basement can very easily lead to serious structural damages that can be expensive to fix. Moreover, damp basements provide the perfect environment for the growth of mildew, fungus, and mold. This can cause a number of serious health issues including allergies, asthma, etc.  This is why a dry basement is critical to your overall wellbeing. Tips shared in this article will help you eliminate dampness and keep the basement dry and warm.

Diagnosis of the Problem: In order to fix basement dampness, the first task is to identify the source of moisture or water. There are two primary sources of water in the basement. The first source is the internal humidity that results in condensation on surfaces that are cold. This is comparable to water droplets that are formed on a bottle of cold drink during high humidity. The second source is water vapour or water that comes from outside.  Groundwater, melting snow, or rainwater may leak in by saturating the soil adjoining the foundation of the building. In the form of water vapour, water can penetrate through the cracks and porous walls of the building. To identify the source of the problem, tape your basement wall with aluminium foil and inspect after a few days. Presence of any moisture behind the foil is a clear indication of moisture leakage through the wall.

Eliminate Excess Humidity: One of the best ways to dry out the basement is to eliminate the humid air sources. All the leaky dryer vents must be sealed using foil tape so that humid air cannot enter the basement. Vent fans can be added to the basement bathrooms and the fan must be turned on while taking showers. All the basement windows must remain closed, particularly during humid climate. If the condensation problem still persists, use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity.

Insulate the Pipes: Condensation often develops on the surface of cold water pipes. One way to solve this problem is to use foam pipe insulation for covering the cold water pipes. Foam insulation is easily affordable, and can be used easily.

Insulate the Walls:  One of the ways to prevent condensation is to insulate the exterior walls of the basement. If you live in a cold place, this will also reduce your heating expenses by saving energy. However, don’t use insulation if there is any water leakage from outside because this may lead to mold problem.

Keeping Water Away: You may notice that your basement tends to leak after the melting of snow or heavy rainfall. In these circumstances, you must take measures to divert the water away from the foundation.  Sometimes, the soil surrounding a house settles over a period of time to create a moat. All the runoff gets collected in this ditch and is directed down the foundation wall into the basement. This problem can be solved by creating a six feet wide slope, dropping approximately four inches from the building foundation.

Extend Downspouts and Add Gutters: If you don’t have gutters and your basement leaks regularly after rain, it is time for you to consider installing them. Gutters are able to arrest the rainwater and direct them away from your building. Even if you already have gutters installed, ensure that the downspouts have horizontal extensions of four to six feet. This will allow them to move the water away from your home.

Plug the Cracks and Holes in the Foundation: Presence of cracks and holes in the foundation makes it extremely easy for water and moisture to seep into the basement. Hydraulic cement is probably the best alternative to patch the foundation holes because it can be used even under water and expands to seal the holes properly.

Wall Waterproofing: Waterproofing materials such as paints can be used to fill the pores in masonry or concrete walls to prevent water leakage. To ensure high efficiency, apply these coatings only on bare masonry or concrete walls. Before applying the coating, use a wire brush to remove all loose materials. Make sure you have created a continuous waterproofing membrane by covering every pinhole. After the first coat has dried up, don’t forget to add a second layer.

Drainage System Installation: One of the most effective and permanent fixes for a chronic basement leakage is the installation of a drainage tubing system just beneath the floor of the basement connected to a pump and sump basket. However, this involves a lot of hard work and it is better to engage a professional for this task.

Use of Drainage Mats: Plastic drainage mats can be extremely useful because they create a moisture barrier under the flooring by allowing air to circulate. They also isolate the cold concrete from the floor by providing a layer of air insulation. This reduces the probability of moisture damage caused by condensation.

These were a just few measures to maintain a dry basement. If you have any other questions related to your basement or underfloor, feel free to contact the experts at ExtractAir. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of our customers maximise the life of their buildings with our state-of-the-art subfloor ventilation systems.