Moisture, in general, can cause all kinds of problems in the basement, including mold and the destruction of flooring and wall materials. But how do you prevent moisture or flooding in the first place? There are a few simple steps to stop this problem in its tracks, as well as a few solutions for having an attractive floor that is also moisture-resistant.
Cause of basement moisture
Most basement water moisture comes from one of these three places:
Water from the ground
That water could get into your basement if you don’t have the right slope, downspouts, and gutters.
Some of the water in our basements comes from or is made in our basements. Some of these sources are dryers, showers, cooking, humidifiers, and even concrete that has just been poured.
Exterior humid air
When it’s warmer outside, we often open the basement windows to let in more air. But letting humid air from outside into our cool basements can make the walls and floors wet.
Solutions to basement moisture problems
Often, the source of moisture or flooding begins outside the home. Gutters collect and move mass amounts of water on a single home with just a few inches of rainfall. A quick inspection of your gutters, downspouts, and the grading surrounding your foundation can indicate a potential problem. Gutters should be clean and properly sized for your home.
Downspouts should draw drainage away from the home to the lowest portion of your lot. In other words, the water should be directed to where it would drain naturally. Some areas allow drainage systems connected to city storm sewers and retention basins.
Check with your area’s water and sewer department before making any changes involving public systems.
The surface grading around your home should provide a gentle slope away from your foundation, pulling any added rainfall or moisture back into your lawn. Most building codes state that the surface grading should slope down at least six inches in the first ten feet from the house. Check with your local building codes to determine your area’s specifics.
Some basic steps for keeping your basement moisture-free are to provide proper ventilation for dryers, bathrooms, or any other moisture sources and ensure that your sump pump is in proper working order. It is essential in dealing with moisture, and during a flood can save homeowners thousands of dollars.
A dehumidifier can help remove moisture from the air, which can aid in the prevention of the formation of mold.
Applying a waterproof sealant can keep moisture at bay and is not only easy but relatively inexpensive to apply. Walls and flooring must be prepared before the sealant is applied by scraping away loose materials, filling in cracks, and creating the cleanest surface possible by vacuuming. Simply follow the instructions included with the sealant for the application and drying processes.
Suppose a sealant has been used in the past but is no longer effective. In that case, you may need to remove the old material from your flooring before applying a fresh coat. This can be time-consuming, but a little bit of extra work at the beginning of the process will yield a dry, moisture-free basement in the long run.
Suppose your basement is mostly used for doing laundry and completing small projects. In that case, a fresh, bright coat of paint is often enough to improve the appearance and help keep moisture at bay. However, a finished basement may have carpeting, tiles, and even hardwood flooring in some cases. Moisture and flooding can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to these types of materials.
Water-resistant carpet tiles are a simple, attractive, and cost-effective alternative to these typical flooring materials. Not only do carpet tiles not require a carpet pad, which can become soaked with water, causing a nightmare for homeowners dealing with flooding, but the tiles themselves are often water resistant. They can be individually removed, cleaned, dried, and replaced in their original position at no cost to the homeowner.
With a little knowledge and preparation, you can have a dry basement and an attractive and inviting space that will likely add to the ultimate resale value of your home.