Any person with a basement in their Indianapolis, IN, home will have to deal with the issue of moisture at some point in time. Water from the soil can seep through foundations cracks right into the basement floor or condense on the walls.
Whatever the source, you should always be ready to deal with these types of problems:
- Normal problems (typical of basements)
- Fix-me-now issues that need urgent attention
- Concerning troubles or serious issues that can threaten the structural integrity of your home.
Normal Basement Troubles
We’d like to refer to these as “fix-me-now” issues, as you’re likely to feel their impact the moment they occur. These include:
- Outside air: During summer months, hot and damp air from the outdoors may get into your basement via cracks or vents. This air will condense when it comes into contact with cool basement floor and walls forming droplets. Fix cracks and install a dehumidifier to control moist air from condensing in this space.
- Stagnant water: Damaged pipes and downspouts may let water flow down your walls right into the basement. Ensure they’re channeling water away from your home to your drains or water collection point.
- Leaking pipes: This a no-brainer. Damaged water pipes that run through your walls or across the basement floor will cause water to enter your basement making it damp. The sooner you fix it, the better.
- Peeling paint: When water comes into contact with wall paint, it can weaken the paint, causing it to peel off.
- Cold floors and wall: This is pretty straightforward, and it’s because of the persistent water that seeps through to the living space above.
Some of the things that should alert you to the possibility of moisture or dampness before things get out of hand include:
- High energy costs: Since the basement walls and floor are colder than usual, you will have to leave your heater on for hours to raise the temperature down there to match that of the living space.
- Electricity leaks: It’s likely that water in the basement will carry current for long distances. This can become a hazard when you or your loved ones rush to the basement to salvage items during floods.
- Rodents and insects: A moist and dark basement is an instant magnet for mice, cockroaches, and termites. When these come into the basement, they can destroy your belongings, contaminate any stored food, and damage wooden fixtures
- Wood rot: When your basement gets wet or damp, it will encourage mold, which may attach itself to your wooden beams or joists. Mold will feed on the decaying wood, and this makes the work easier for termites too.
Serious Moist Basement Issues
Ignoring the above issues means they could mutate into serious problems over time. And these could be costly to fix. Notable issues include:
- Mold infestation: As moisture builds up in the basement, it will trigger mold growth, a dangerous microorganism that can cause respiratory problems as well as headaches and itchy eyes.
- Radon gas: Soil surrounding your basement walls can let in radon gas through small cracks in the foundation. This gas can diffuse into basement water and sit for months without your noticing its presence. Testing can reveal whether it’s there or not.
- Basement cracks: Any crack that’s wider than one-eighth of an inch could signify a serious underlying issue that needs fixing. It could be soil movement or hydrostatic pressure.
Is My Basement at Risk of Becoming Damp?
Moisture in the basement is a normal thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or that you should have to always worry about dealing with this problem. However, homes with certain conditions or specific parameters at a higher risk of developing moisture than others. The first is a home with a structural problem like foundation cracks. Such cracks can let in water during floods or heavy downpour. Unless the underlying issue is fixed, your basement will be perennially wet.
Another cause is a clogged internal drain. Clogging stops water from going outside. With time, it will overwhelm your drains and overflow into the basement. Inspect internal drains and ensure they’re all flowing.
If your home sits on a floodplain, the basement is a perfect candidate for floods, which can inundate your basement and make it wet. Ensure you have proper external drainage, as well as interior perimeter drainage and waterproofing measures.
Uneven soil or poor grading within your home is another factor that makes your basement prone to getting wet. You will find that water will flow toward the walls and seep through the basement when it rains.
Finally, poorly installed or damaged gutters and downspouts may contribute to a watery basement as they channel water into the foundation walls and not away from it. Inspect and fix any that are loose or damaged.
Not sure what’s ailing your basement? Schedule a basement inspection and get a free basement repair quote plus solid recommendations to deal with recurring moisture problems.