The simple logistics of time, erosion and structural wear and tear mean that, sooner or later, wet basement repair will be necessary. Water always follows the path of least resistance. As it seeps through the soil packed around a home’s foundation, it is constantly creating pressure against the basement’s concrete barriers, as well as wearing away at the concrete and surrounding soil. The need for repair or preventative measures can be detected in many signs and symptoms that occur long before a basement actually becomes flooded. Some of these clues a homeowner may not immediately connect with water intrusion in the basement. Here are 8 things to look for:
1. Stains: If you notice the outline of stains, even faintly, on basement floors, walls, or floors and carpets on the immediate upper level, don’t just disregard them. Sure, your washing machine may have overflowed or someone may have spilled a jug of something or other. Take a closer look. It might actually be signs of seepage from outside water intrusion.
2. Smells: Although entering the basement should have a distinctly different feel than a home’s rooms above-ground, it shouldn’t have a strange aroma. Humidity created by appliances has a difficult time dissipating in a basement but it shouldn’t be enough to raise a stink. If you notice a persistent musty odor, you may have excessive moisture lurking undetected and it is creating mold and mildew. And don’t just limit suspicion of a wet basement to stinks down below. If you wrinkle your nose to odors that smell of sewage when puttering about the yard, this outside smell can also be a sign of trouble in the basement.
3. Sparkles: At just the right angle has your eye caught a sparkly effect as lighting plays upon the walls and floors of your basement? That efflorescence is not a stunning special effect natural to concrete. It is actually light reflecting on mineral deposits that have adhered to the concrete after moisture has evaporated.
4. Sickness: Chronic symptoms and illness can be directly related to certain types of toxic molds. If a household can’t seem to shake the “flu”, it may actually be a wet basement that is making you sick. If mold-related sickness is suspected, not only should medical issues be immediately addressed, but the culprit, a wet basement with mold, also needs to be resolved. Toxic molds are called toxic because these illnesses have the potential to be fatal if left untreated and exposure to toxic mold is ongoing. Symptoms associated with mold-related illness:
- Morning joint pain
- Tingling and numbness of the skin
- Sinus congestion
- Chronic cough
- Abdominal distress such as bloating or diarrhea
- Increased thirst
- Vision problems
5. Outside Water: Often, puddles or pooling of water on the grounds of a home are overlooked. A homeowner may not make the connection between soggy areas in the yard and a wet basement. Water intrusion in an underground room is coming from a water source that usually begins above ground. Sources of water that create a wet basement are most likely linked to surface water, ground water or a man-made source like leaky pipes. Any water that is not draining off your property becomes a potential source for intrusion into your basement. When standing water is visible in the yard, take it seriously. Find out why it isn’t draining.
Is soil the problem? Perhaps you need soil remediation to resolve the problem. Is your home located in a geographic area known for underground springs or a high water table? You may need to implement specialized waterproofing measures. Are the pipes in your home old? Do you, or a neighbor, have an outdoor water feature that might have leaky pipes underground? Speaking of neighbors, maybe your grounds are draining properly but your neighbor’s run-off is intruding onto your property. Your property’s drainage design may not be able to handle this excess.
6. Rust: What happens if you leave a nail in a puddle of water? In no time that shiny, new nail looks like something out of a dilapidated old house because it becomes rusty. High humidity from a wet basement can affect an entire house. Check out the nails supporting the pictures hung on your walls. Examine metal features of furniture, such as the feet, for the development of rust. Take a peek in your electrical box and see if there are any patches of rust that have appeared.
7. Swelling: Leave a timber in a bucket of water and it will increase in size exponentially as it soaks up the moisture like a hungry sponge. A wet basement can create excess moisture in the air that can also be captured by wooden supports around doorways and in floor joists. If you feel ripples underfoot or are having to shove doors firmly to get them to close, it may be because of moisture swollen wood.
8. Bugs: If you find yourself complaining that the exterminator service is falling down on the job, you may be pointing your finger in the wrong direction. Lots of insects love a cool, moist, dark environment. If your basement has water intrusion, you basically have a bug breeding ground down below. Instead of upping your extermination game, get your wet basement water-proofed.
Once you realize your wet basement problem, the next step is to call in professionals. What kind of “fix” can a homeowner expect? That all depends on how water is finding its way in. The perimeter grade around the home may not be directing water run-off away from the home. Perhaps gutters are creating puddles instead of directing water-flow outward. Maybe root systems of shrubs and trees have penetrated foundation walls or stressed pipes. A qualified technician will perform a professional inspection. Expert engineers will design a solution to resolve problems. Once water sources have been identified and the problems resolved, then its time for sealing basement walls with the latest methods and most innovative products. Please contact us if you need basement waterproofing services in Northern VA and our award-winning team will assess and resolve your wet basement problem.