Do You Know How Moisture Is Getting Into Your Basement?

Do puddles frequently form in your basement? Does your basement flood every time there's a light trickle of rain? There's a number of avenues for water to get into your basement. Sometimes the source of the water is an obvious one, but that's not always the case.

Know that Water Wants to Get Into Your Basement

The first thing you need to understand is water wants to travel downward. Gravity pulls it using hydrostatic pressure. Water being water will always follow the path of least resistance into the lowest part of your home, which is the basement. Because of this process, the water can originate from just about anywhere before it reaches your basement.

Know the Signs of Water in Your Basement

Water doesn't always manifest itself as a puddle or a flood. However, you can usually tell if you have a moisture problem in your basement from a few common signs.

  • Humid air
  • Mold or mildew
  • A musty odor
  • Damp or slick walls
  • Rotting wood
  • Water spots

If you sense or feel any sign of dampness, then you likely have water seeping in somewhere. Even if it's not much, it will grow over time. Even a tiny basement leak can turn into large structural damage if left alone for too long.

Know the Most Likely Sources for Your Basement Leak

Water can come into your basement from many different sources. Sometimes it's even seeping in from multiple places and not just one.

Over, under, or through your foundation – Your foundation doesn't need heavy damage before it starts allowing water into your basement. A single crack can start the process.

Sloping – If the grade of the yard around your home is off, then runoff will push into your foundation rather than away from it. It will eventually find a way into your basement.

Cracks on the basement floor – small cracks on your basement floor will allow water to come up into your basement from below.

Damaged or badly installed gutters and downspoutsYour gutters should allow water to drain down and away from the home. Damaged gutter systems can contribute to water building up close to your foundation.

There's many other possible sources for a basement leak as well. Anything from a sewer problem to a faulty sump pump can add to your water woes.

What You Can Do About It

Because there's so many possible points of entry for moisture, you should let a contractor have a look. He or she can do some basement waterproofing. Even if you think you know the source of your basement leak, it's important you know if it's the only source. This is especially true of your foundation. You may think a single crack causes your basement dampness. However, by the time you see that crack, it's possible that water could have done a lot more damage to your foundation than you would think.