Not all signs are obvious when it comes to water seepage and damage to your basement. While puddles of standing water are a dead giveaway that there is a problem, look for the more subtle ways your basement may be telling you there are leaks. • Musty, damp smells that are lingering long after a rain or seasonal change
• Walls that seem to be “sweating” in damp or humid weather
• Bubbling or peeling paint on basement walls
• Support beams along the top of the basement showing signs of dampness or even dry rot
• Mold growth along the edges of walls and where floors and walls meet
• Condensation on basement windows and casements
While not all of these signs will be present, and not all indicate there is a serious problem, they are warnings that you can’t afford to ignore for any length of time. Your health and that of your family could be at risk when mold begins to make an appearance, not to mention the decline in property value if the problem is allowed to continue unchecked. Damp basements are breeding grounds for mold, and internal treatments can end up doing more harm than good. Stopping the water from entering the basement walls in the first place is a much better solution than simply keeping it from the interior of the walls. All these treatments do is allow the basement walls to absorb moisture from the outside, weakening the foundation and creating a hazard to the entire home. Getting a professional to evaluate the problem based on your individual situation is the ideal first step to take. The cause could be as simple as the grading of your property not allowing for proper drainage away from the house, or there could be a more complex underlying cause. Once the basement walls start accumulating moisture, it becomes a race against the damage that can be done when it is left untreated. Outer wall treatment is required to stop the water from entering the actual structure of the walls themselves and to keep it from damaging the foundation.
Even if there is no visible evidence of water seepage, cracks in walls and basement floors can indicate water entering the basement. Warped wall paneling, brown discolorations and chalky residue on concrete all tell a story. Even the smallest amount of water will damage the structural integrity of the concrete, especially in climates that experience severe cold weather. Once water gets into cracks and freezes, the cracks expand. Over time the entire foundation may have to be replaced. Checking for the signs of water seepage and damage, and correcting the problems early will save massive amounts of repairs and money for the home owner. The costs per waterproofing treatment versus the costs of replacing a foundation are well in favor of treatment. If you are unsure if the signs you are seeing are from water damage or seepage, a professional should be able to determine it for you. They will then be able to go over the options with you to determine the best course for repair and prevention of future issues.