Damp Basement Walls: Causes and Solutions – Part 2

In part 1 of this 2-part series, we discussed what might be causing your damp basement walls. We encourage you to check out the beginning of this series to familiarize yourself with what the root problem might be. Because there are multiple reasons you may have damp basement walls, part 1 may help you deduce what your own basement’s ailment is. However, if you’re ready to hear solutions, here they are.

Differing Solutions

Because damp basement walls can be caused by different things, there are different solutions for each cause. However, there is some overlap. Let’s take a look at the most effective solutions.

For Moisture Leakage

When your problem is caused by your basement walls failing to hold out ground moisture, the solution is not an easy one. You might think some kind of putty or cement in the cracks of the wall will cut it. Unfortunately, most of the cracks causing your moisture problem are smaller than you can repair. Plus, filling cracks from the inside can actually cause a lot more problems than solutions. 

Filling in cracks from the inside is a problem because you will only be doing a surface repair. The water leaking in through your walls will remain within the wall itself. If you’ve blocked the water’s route in, it will stay there, freezing and expanding with the change in seasons. This is a one way ticket to major structural damage.

The only foolproof solution to water leakage is basement waterproofing. This is an extensive repair, but a necessary one. In short, it involves excavating around the basement walls and coating them, from the outside, in waterproofing materials. This includes a wet membrane that seals the cracks and evens the exterior wall’s surface. That is followed by a solid membrane that locks out water and protects the more delicate first membrane.

For Condensation

Because condensation is caused by water in the interior air, it can be completely mitigated with some insulation. The important thing is having your basement checked for leakage as well. That’s because, if you insulate the interior side of a basement wall when it’s leaking in moisture from outside, the moisture will then be invisible from the inside but will, instead, collect in the insulation behind the finished wall. That’s a huge mold hazard that you do not want to deal with.

If your waterproofing professionals have confirmed that you are not dealing with water leakage, you can proceed with finishing the interior wall.

The reason finishing the interior wall and insulating helps is because insulation, covering the cold, stone walls, will help regulate the temperature of the finished, internal wall. If your interior wall of choice is drywall, your insulation will keep the drywall from being affected by the cold, stone wall. Then, because your drywall will remain at a warmer temperature, it won’t draw moisture from the air.

Contact Waterproofing Professionals

The most vital step in solving your damp basement wall problems is contacting your local professionals at POM Waterproofing. We can check out the source of your moisture problems and give you the best solution and the best price. Give us a call today if you need a consult.

Damp Basement Walls: Causes and Solutions – Part 1

If you have an unfinished basement, or one with stone walls, you may have noticed moisture on your basement walls. If you’ve noticed you have damp basement walls, you’re probably wondering why they’re damp. The answer can be guessed by most: it has something to do with condensation. The question is, how does that work, and how do you prevent it? Let’s take a deeper look.

Why Do I Have Damp Basement Walls?

There are two primary reasons why you have damp basement walls. We’ll take a moment to look at both, as they both have slightly different solutions.

Condensation

The first reason is that your walls are collecting condensation. Condensation is caused by a cold surface being exposed to warm, moist air. You surely know that steam is caused by heat, which speeds up the particles in the water to the point that it rises above – or into – air that is slightly colder than it. 

This is generally the same principle that makes humidity, and other air moisture, more prevalent in warm environments. However, cold water has slower-moving particles and cannot stay afloat in the air. Therefore, when moisture in warm air comes into contact with a cold surface, it loses its heat and settles on the cold surface, leaving it damp.

Moisture Leakage

The second reason why you might have damp basement walls is that you’re getting moisture leakage from outdoors. This is fairly common and is caused by moisture in the ground seeping through cracks in the basement wall.

Basement walls are typically made with stone bricks, clay bricks, and some kind of brick adhesive, like cement. Stone and brick walls are pretty good at keeping out unwanted elements from the outdoors. However, one place they fall short is in insulation and longevity in moisture-blocking. After years, or even decades, of supporting the weight of a home, stone and brick walls begin getting small cracks. These cracks are usually tiny – most of them unnoticeable. However, this doesn’t mean that they have no effect. Moisture from the earth surrounding your basement walls can – and will – find their way through these cracks and onto your basement walls.

Is This a Problem?

Damp basement walls may not seem like a big deal. However, moisture can lead to numerous problems in your home environment’s safety and integrity. Why is that?

  • Moisture can lead to mold. Mold causes problems in many ways, including, but not limited to, damaging a home’s wooden structure, damaging belongings, causing undesirable smells, causing long-term lung problems, and potentially risking the safety of your food. Even mold that isn’t in direct contact with food can put off spores into the air, affecting food from a distance.
  • Moisture can warm your home’s floors and wooden framework. Even if it doesn’t cause mold (somehow), moisture in your basement can rise up into the wooden structure of your home, making it unstable and weak. We don’t have to explain how a weak structure is unsafe.
  • Moreover, moisture can invite and encourage pests and parasites. Where there is moisture, there is a water source for pests, including all kinds of bugs and mice. Furthermore, mice bring parasites, which also love water.

Solutions to Basement Moisture

If you’re suddenly eager to hear solutions to damp basement walls, you’re not alone. Check out part 2, where we’ll cover solutions to your problem. Or, call us right away.