Basement Walls and Floors Damp? Here's What To Do
Basement Walls and Floors Damp? Here's What To Do

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Have you ever gone down into your basement and found the walls a little damp? After a rainstorm, do you have to mop rainwater up off of your basement floor?

It’s never pleasant to deal with water that’s somehow made its way into your basement. It’s part and parcel, however, of the lives of many folks who live in Indianapolis, IN. Many older homes rarely have their basements waterproofed. That means their basements are vulnerable to strong rain, snow melt and other forms of precipitation.

There is good news for homeowners who’ve had to deal with leaks in the past. You don’t have to resign yourself to living in a damp home. Instead, you can reach out to a local contractor and see what waterproofing options you have available to you. Then, through the power of DIY or with the help of a a reliable professional, you can seal off your home.

Not sure where to start? There are a few different paths you can take. Let’s explore the different ways you can waterproof your home and what situations call for it.

Signs of a Damp Basement

You don’t have to wait until your basement is full of water to think about waterproofing your home. Symptoms of a leaking basement include:

  • Increased levels of humidity – As mentioned, leaks do more than bring standing water into your home. They also increase the amount of dampness in the air. As a result, a basement with a leak will be more humid than the rest of your home.
  • Cooler temperature – When the air in your basement is damper than normal, it will be more difficult for you to keep the space warm. While basements are typically cooler than the rest of the home, an unnaturally or overly cool basement may have fallen victim to a leak.
  • Fogging windows – While not all basements have windows, you may notice the windows near your gutters starting to fog up when you turn the heat on. This is usually a sign of water vapor forming with nowhere to go. As such, foggy windows can be a sign of a leak in your basement.
  • Warping door frames – The longer water stays in your basement’s air, the more damage it can do to your home. If you’ve left a leak unattended for a considerable amount of time, you might notice your basement door sticks when you try to open it. That’s because the water in the air will have warped your door frame and made it more difficult to use. Do note that this is a more severe leak symptom, and it should prompt immediate action if you want to preserve your basement.
  • Damaged belongings or materials – The more water makes its way into your basement, the more likely it is that the belongings you have stored there will be damaged. If you’re taking out holiday decorations and notice that paper belongings are warping, fabrics are unusable and everything is a little bit damp, you’ll want to start looking for the source of a leak.
  • Mold – Damp air provides mold particles with the exact environment they need to thrive. Take a close look around your basement and see if you can spot mold colonies growing around the joints of your basement. If these colonies have formed, your basement has been leaking for a significant amount of time. You’re going to want to detoxify the mold first, then call a professional to keep the colonies from re-growing.

Wet Wall and Floor Solutions

Have you noticed any of the above symptoms in your basement? If you have, it’s time to reach out for help. The good news is that there are a variety of solutions you can employ to de-dampen your basement.

If you choose to waterproof your basement from the inside, your solutions include:

  • French Drains – A temporary solution, these drains redirect water out of your home. Sump pumps are a cousin to the French drain and provide precipitation with a storage unit, whereas French drains do not.
  • Drainage Mats – Another temporary solution, these tarp-like additions to your basement will serve as waterproof barriers to protect your belongings from invading water.
  • Sealants – Sealants typically waterproof your basement for a year or two at a time when applied indoors. This form of waterproofing is most effective on homes that only experience mild leaks or dampness over the course of a year.
  • Dehumidifiers – Dehumidifiers eliminate the humidity in your basement’s air, ensuring mold doesn’t have the climate it needs to grow. These tools, however, are only temporary solutions in the fight against indoor flooding.

Exterior Waterproofing: the Process

Under more extreme circumstances, you may want to invest in exterior waterproofing solutions. When you waterproof your home from the outdoors, a contractor will typically take the following steps:

  1. Excavating the earth around your home’s exterior foundation
  2. Assessing your foundation for cracks or damage
  3. Applying sealant to your walls and foundation
  4. Optionally installing a French drain or sump pump, depending on the amount of incoming water you see as the seasons change
  5. Installing or re-directing downspout drainage lines to keep water away from the foundation

The exterior waterproofing process should take a week at most, but your timetable will vary based on the size of your home and its history of leaks.

Precipitation in Indianapolis, IN, is hard to predict, and even harder to stay on top of. Even so, don’t think you have to resign yourself to living with a wet basement forever. Reach out to a local contractor to see what waterproofing solutions are available to you.