When is Basement Waterproofing Necessary?

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Are you struggling with a faulty basement waterproofing system? Do you have to deal with a wet basement every now & then? Chances are the drainage system in your basement is poorly installed, or water accumulates around the foundation of your house. This leads to the presence of moisture inside your basement.

While the problem might be as insignificant as droplets leaking through hairline cracks or a slight musty smell, it is still essential to note the situation and act on it. If you ignore these problems over time, they might eventually lead to something more undesirable that threatens your home’s structural integrity.

Water Can Be a Danger to a Home’s Structural Integrity

The basement area is a vital component of your entire home, so proper care and regular visual inspections can help you flag any problems that arise. Basements usually serve as an additional storage space, or a lavish home theater, a lounging area to chill with friends and family. There are many purposes a finished basement can serve in your home. Every basement is also responsible for the structural integrity of your home. It holds everything above it steady and level.

Watch video about lateral and hydrostatic water pressure pushing against your basement walls and floor.

The number one enemy that threatens this structural integrity is water. Groundwater produces hydrostatic pressure that builds up outside and around basement walls and under the floor. If you are experiencing wetness or dampness in your basement, it is vital to take action as soon as possible. In this post, we will help you learn about some of the common instances in which you might require basement waterproofing.

When is it Time to Consider Basement Waterproofing?

Ideally, it is best to waterproof the exterior walls of a basement during the construction of a building. Newer construction mandates this procedure because of many state and local building code requirements, but many older homes may not have any exterior waterproofing in place. In other cases, some older homes do have exterior waterproofing installed. Over the course of 3 to 5 years; exterior waterproofing materials wear off caused by the ebb and flow of groundwater. Depending on the type of soil, location, and landscape slope (grade); a basement can have longer-lasting exterior waterproofing. Regardless, all homes become vulnerable at some point. Here are some signs of water breaching your basement:

Water Stains: If you tend to notice occasionally, stains that look like outlines caused by water, either on the basement walls or floor, it is recommended to take action right away. Before taking any significant step, it is essential to make sure that someone in your house has not spilled something or the stain is not due to a washing machine overflow. When these possible causes are overruled, you can assume these stains are formed by groundwater outside. The stains could be due to seepage through wall cracks. This is a serious concern and needs to be addressed immediately.

Unwanted Smells: Another obvious sign noted the moment you enter the basement and experience a distinct musty, damp odor in the air unlike the rest of the house. The likely cause could be the presence of humidity created by home appliances (washing machines, water heater or sink). Basements without proper ventilation have a difficult time evaporating moisture or moisture across the basement area. However, higher levels of humidity is a signal that something else is raising a stink in the air.

Efflorescence (White Sparkles): Have you ever witnesses a sparkling light effect viewed at the right angle when looking at bare floors or walls in your basement area? Along with the sparkling effect, you will also see powdery white staining on walls. The phenomenon of efflorescence is not a fantastic, dazzling effect that is natural when it comes to concrete walls or floors. The light that reflects on the mineral deposits that have formed on the concrete is due to the evaporation of moisture. That powdery stain is the breakdown of lime found in the cement mix used to make your walls and floor. This sign indicates the presence of moisture in your basement that requires immediate action.

waterproofing block foundation
Damp basements without a basement waterproofing system will produce mold and mildew.

Wet Basements Are Notorious for Mold

Unexplained Sickness: Is your family experiencing different kinds of sicknesses all of a sudden? Unexplained illness or chronic symptoms in your family members could be directly linked to specific types of toxic molds in the house environment. If the members of your household are unable to shake off the typical “flu” quite quickly, the chances are that a wet basement in the house could be making your family sick repeatedly. If a mold-related sickness or ailment is detected, we can subside the symptoms with proper care & medications. However, when it comes to a wet basement being the primary culprit of producing toxic mold, the issue needs professional waterproofing assistance as soon as possible.

Toxic molds are referred to as “toxic” because the illnesses could potentially be fatal if left untreated or unattended for an extended period.

Here are some of the common symptoms due to toxic molds:

  • Morning joint pains
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Photo-sensitivity
  • Chronic cough
  • Numbness or tingling of the skin
  • Abdominal distress like diarrhea or vomiting
  • Vision problems
  • Increased thirst

More Signs That Your Basement May Need Waterproofing

Outside Water: Most of the time we tend to ignore water accumulation or puddles of water outside our homes. While you might not be able to establish the connection between a pool of water and a wet basement in your house, the association is quite strong & evident. Water intrusion happens through different types of soils, at different rates, and might reach the basement area through hairline cracks and holes. In most cases, water accumulation leads to a wet basement due to groundwater, surface water, or human-made water sources like leaking pipes.

Any source of water that might not be draining correctly off the property could end up as leakage or intrusion in your home’s basement. Most of the time, the soil surrounding the basement of your home might be at fault. In such cases, your exterior waterproofing has been compromised.

Rust Formation: Iron nails tend to rust under a pool of water. The presence of high levels of humidity in the basement area could lead to the rusting or corrosion of metallic materials stored there. You can check the nails holding pictures on the walls or other metal-based materials. If you observe rusting, you can call upon a professional team of waterproofing service providers to help you out.

Inspect the entire basement in your house for any signs of water leakage or intrusion. If you find any leaks, crack epoxy injection or a reliable waterproofing system is a must to ensure the best care for your entire home. Reach out to a trustworthy, professional basement waterproofing service provider in your area. They will be able to assess the situation and give you a solution to your problem.

What are Basement Engineering Tabs?

Basements should have engineering tabs made during basement waterproofing for a strong foundation. Leaving sections of your floor on the footer is vital.

backhoe making foundation clay bowl

Wet Basement Problem: False Water Table

A false water table is the primary cause of wet basements, deteriorating foundation walls, and cracking floors. It is “false” because it is temporary.


6 Ways to Prevent Basement Flooding

Basement flooding usually occurs when groundwater finds the path of least resistance. There are six things you can do to prevent flooding inside your basement.

monolithic slab foundation with poured concrete walls

What is a Monolithic Slab Foundation?

A monolithic slab foundation is created by pouring a single layer of concrete to form a slab and footing. The construction process is faster and low cost.

Useful guide: General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater