I have water in my basement
A wet basement is NOT funny.
Water destroys your belongings, encourages mold, damages your house, and reduces your ability to sell your home.
Water is one of the most powerful destructive forces of nature. We all know what floods and wave action can do to property. But even high humidity levels can wreak havoc with mold, mildew, and a myriad of other maladies. Wood rots. Personal belongings are damaged or destroyed. Mold spores create health hazards. And your foundation can actually dissolve over time through the action of high moisture levels.
Water in your basement is a sign that your foundation walls and/or floor are no longer able to keep water out. This is a problem that will not get better. And the result of ignoring the problem will be a much more expensive problem later, when your foundation fails even more.
How water damages your foundation
Here in Pennsylvania, we are plagued with clay soil which has a very high acid content. When water travels through this clay, it picks up this acid and carries it into your foundation. That acid reacts with the alkaline lime in your concrete and weakens your entire foundation.
The chemical makeup of concrete is sand, gravel, and lime. The “glue” that holds your foundation together is the lime. When acidic water comes in contact with lime, a chemical reaction takes place that turns the acidic water and the alkaline lime into salt crystals. When you see efflorescence (white powdery residue or mold-like white “hair” on your foundation walls), you are seeing that the “glue” in your foundation is dissolving. That means your foundation walls are becoming weaker. They will eventually weaken to the point of collapse.
Before it collapses, your concrete can become so soft that it begins to pit and fall apart. When it becomes bad enough, you can actually put your finger through your concrete wall. That is a sure sign that your foundation is in desperate trouble.
Long before that happens, however, you can see and smell the effects of high moisture that will eventually lead to this desperate situation.
What to look for
Some things to look for (besides obvious standing water on your floor) are dark stains on the walls, white chalky or fuzzy looking growth on the walls (efflorescence), or dampness anywhere just to name a few. Many times you can see a trail of silt across the floor, where water traveled.
Often you can easily smell the moisture in a basement as soon as you walk in. There will be a musty or occasionally a moldy smell.
Any of those signs say it’s time to get some help.
It’s important to understand how the water gets there to begin with.
Most people believe that a moist basement is caused by poorly directed downspouts or other surface water. That’s not really the problem. Although badly designed downspouts can add to the problem, you could have a plastic bubble over your house that keeps it completely dry on the surface and still have a wet basement problem.
Why? Because the water that affects your basement is coming from underground water, not surface water.
Rain and ground water move horizontally through the soil… not straight down. The water that is attacking your foundation hit the ground a half mile or more from your home. Sometimes it could have come from many miles away.
That water builds up around your house, like an underground swimming pool. Once the exterior waterproofing the builder applied wears off (usually within a few years of construction), all that water works through the porous concrete of your foundation. Suddenly, your concrete block or stone walls are saturated with water, and that is the acidic water mentioned above.
Now you have acid attacking your foundation… not just in one spot, but throughout your entire wall.
The one or two places you discover water coming through are just the weakest points in a long wall of potential leaks.
So what’s the answer?
You must make it impossible for ground water to stay in your wall. You must create a method of removing the water as soon as it gets there.
Want to know how to do that?
Click on the link at the right side of this page, and get your FREE copy of our book, “How to fix your basement to never leak… guaranteed.” There’s no obligation for getting it. We want you to know as much as you can about how to fix your basement correctly, because we believe the more you know, the less likely you will be to make a very costly mistake.
When you are ready, give us a call. We will happily come out and go through your basement with you. We will show you what we are looking at, share the readings from our moisture measurement tools, and help you understand exactly what is going on that causes the moisture in your basement. And we can offer several solutions, including exterior waterproofing.
Then you can make a much wiser decision.
Give us a call. We look forward to helping you “never worry about a wet basement again.”