Basement waterproofing is important for several reasons. First, it helps to prevent structural damage.
Basement waterproofing can be done for the outermost ring of your home, including everything from improperly graded soil to gutters and drain pipes that fail to direct water away from foundation walls.
It can also help to preserve your belongings, preventing musty odors and wood rot. It can even reduce energy costs by keeping your basement dry.
Mold and Mildew
There are different types of mold and mildew. Both are fungi that can affect your family’s health if allowed to grow in your home. Mold spores can cause breathing problems and other symptoms, particularly in immunocompromised patients.
Both mold and mildew can grow on many surfaces, including drywall and fabrics. They also like damp, warm areas. Both can cause similar allergic reactions in people, but mildew is more easily cleaned and not as invasive as mold.
Mildew is usually flat and powdery, while mold may be fuzzy or have a deeper green or black coloration. It can be harder to find because it typically grows in hidden places. Mold growth can lead to various symptoms, including respiratory issues, eye irritation, and headaches. It can also damage furniture and other household items. Mold and mildew can be removed with store-bought cleaners and a sponge.
The basement walls of modern homes are typically made from masonry, such as concrete or stone, which resists water damage. However, the basement is still protected. Leaks that seep into the wall can cause rotting and structural damage.
Leaks that enter through the foundation or the space between the foundation and wood floor plates or rim joists can be especially damaging. Even though building codes require floor plates and joists to be constructed of pressure-treated wood, standing water can still warp the plates and joists, leading to rot and structural damage.
Interior waterproofing methods can help reduce moisture in a basement by sealing basement walls and floors. These methods may include sandblasting to remove paint (a messy but do-it-yourself project) and using a product that creates a permanent seal in three or five minutes.
However, the problem with these interior solutions is that they need to address the root of the leaks. Moisture from condensation, leaking pipes, or faulty appliances can be addressed by equalizing water and air temperature to prevent condensation, running dehumidifiers, and regular basement repair and replacement of leaky pipes.
A wet basement can cause serious structural damage to your home. Structural damage is more than just a nuisance—it can also affect the value of your home.
A basement flooded with water can cause wood joists to buckle and break. The joists can return to their original position when the basement is dry.
In addition to reducing basement moisture, waterproofing prevents the growth of mold and mildew. These problems produce odors that can be unpleasant, and mold spores can circulate through air vents to the other rooms of your home.
A basement professional can install a drainage system or French drain around your foundation to reduce water seepage hitting the concrete walls. A drainage system is a trench lined with gravel, perforated pipe, and weed-block fabric that diverts pooled water from the foundation and basement walls.
A major storm or flooding can cause water damage to wood, drywall, and other materials in the basement. But basement waterproofing can also prevent these events and save you money on related insurance claims.
Persistent moisture in a basement causes mold and mildew to grow, which can cause health issues like allergies and respiratory problems. Waterproofing helps to ensure your home stays dry, preventing these problems and keeping your family healthy.
Many homeowners choose to have an exterior drainage system installed around their foundation by a professional waterproofing contractor, redirecting groundwater and rainwater away from the foundation’s concrete. This preventative solution works well when combined with a vapor barrier, which provides additional protection against moisture and water seepage.
Interior sealants don’t provide permanent protection from water infiltration where hydrostatic pressure is present. Still, they are effective against high atmospheric humidity that can absorb into the porous masonry and cause spalling (cracking and crumbling). A professional waterproofing company can install a wall drain to stop this problem before it starts.