How to Keep Your Basement Dry and Mold Free
A wet basement is not a problem to be ignored in hopes it will go away. It is important to be proactive! Excess water encourages the growth of mold, which can make basements smell mildewy and even cause health problems. Once water makes inroads into a basement, the problem will only get worse.
The upside is that in most cases wet basements can be prevented or remedied with fixes that are neither hugely expensive or time consuming,
The first step toward fixing a leaky basement is identifying where the water is coming from. The next time it rains, take a field trip to the outside of your house to observe how the rain water flows and where it collects, paying particular attention to gutters and downspouts, grading around the foundation, areas of runoff, and any other problem spots you may observe.
Experts identify the two most common sources of water in basements as problems with gutters or grading. Ideally, downspouts and gutters should collect rainwater and funnel it into a storm drain, rain barrel, or location at a lower elevation than the rest of the house. Since water flows downhill, soil and plant beds around the house should be strategically designed to slope away from the foundation.
In order to keep your basement dry and mold free, the simplest and most cost-effective solutions will be: 1: carefully inspecting your gutters, repairing any holes, and making sure gutters are directed away from the foundation; and 2: fixing the slope of grading around your house’s foundation.
If these basic strategies for stopping the flow of water into your basement do not put an end to your problem, more sophisticated tactics may be called for. Homeowners can install a system of interior drains near the foundation walls that leads to a sump pump. This system won’t prevent water from entering the basement, but it allows homeowners whose basement may be built below the grade or over a small stream to periodically pump excess collected water out of the basement.
Another solution, exterior waterproofing, prevents water from entering the foundation walls from the outside. This solution involves digging around the outside of the foundation in order to install a water barrier and footer drains. Similar to installing interior drains, this is a sizeable job, best untaken by a contractor, but if you have tried all other options, exterior waterproofing may be the best way to prevent water from entering your home in the first place.
As an additional preventative measure, homeowners should also run a dehumidifier, especially during humid summer months, to collect beads of water coming up through basement floors or forming on walls. Keeping your basement waterproof, mold-free, and controlling humidity can open up a whole new expanse of storage and recreation space for your family to enjoy.