Wet basement walls, or rather general moisture problems in active basements, are unfortunately very common, but mostly not clearly understood or/and properly treated. In basements that are somewhat passive (not often used), wall condensation isn’t actually an issue. The problem with existing basements is that in most cases, they are usually connected to the rest of the house including kitchen and washrooms through ductwork. In addition, basements nowadays serve as finished bedroom and living spaces. Consequently, they are bound to become wet from time to time as a result of free moisture circulation. Wet condensation is not only uncomfortable and annoying, but can also lead to, and usually does lead, to significant health problems. In addition, it can result to the growth of molds and mildew that are crudely known for their wall destructive capability. Fortunately, wet basement problems are not only noticeable, but are also solvable; but at a cost.
Understanding the problem
In order to solve the problem, it is critical that the source of water be identified together with the precise mechanism that permits it to drench the basement. Common sources of moisture in basements include:
1. Liquid water from ground water or rain
2. Interior humidity sources such as humidifiers, bathrooms, unvented clothes dryers and cooking.
3. Exterior moist air that flows in the basement.
In most cases, moisture is known to enter the basement from the outside atmosphere using four mechanisms, namely; liquid water flow, vapor diffusion, capillary suction and air movement. Though rare, sometimes the problem is usually traced to substandard construction with cracking. Although, there are houses that are well built but not properly designed to handle water drainage. Failure to sufficiently slope the surface away from the foundation or generally lack of functioning gutters are a few appropriate examples to mention but a few. As mentioned before in this article, these problems can be rectified, if a systematic approach is employed. Listed below, are a few common symptoms of wall condensation.
· Standing/stagnant water on the floor.
· Damp, humid air.
· Odor, mildew and mold.
· Deterioration of wood or carpet.
· Trickling water out of walls.
· Condensation on cold floor and walls in summer.
· Staining and blistering of floor and wall covering
· Spalling of concrete, efflorescence.
A summary of Solutions to wet basement problems
Professionally, it is recommended that before preceding to costly and complex approaches, first the easy and low cost ones be exhausted. Under this segment, we will briefly outline a few steps to follow before turning to professional and a bit costly approach.
Steps to Follow
1. Control Interior Humidity sources
2. During summertime, avoid ventilating with outside air
3. Be sure to correct gutter, grading and downspout system
4. Establish a functioning interior and exterior drainage system.
In summary, to control wet basement problems, you are advised to be on the lookout for any source of water/moisture that may infest the basement. Professional solution to wet basement problems are available and can be outsourced from plumbers. However, be sure to work with only professionals and experienced basement flooding company.