Your basement is either completely or partially below ground, so it’s more prone to dampness than the rest of your house. That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to have a damp basement! Here, we offer some helpful tips for keeping your basement dry.
First, be observant about moisture. Just because there’s not standing water in your basement, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a moisture problem. If you notice a musty or damp odor, that’s one indication that your basement is damp. You might also see cracks, holes, or peeling paint. If there’s mold or mildew, that’s an obvious sign of moisture, but insects are a sign that you might not immediately recognize. Insects like cool, damp places, so if you’re noticing them hanging out in your basement, find and eliminate the source of the moisture. If you notice moisture on a wall, tape aluminum foil to the wall. Look at it after a day and see if the moisture is on the inside or the exposed side. If it’s on the side next to the wall, you probably have a foundation problem. If it’s on the outside, you need to get your humidity under control.
Once you’ve identified a moisture problem, here are some steps to fix it.
- Prevent water from flowing toward your foundation. First, check and clean your gutters and downspouts, ensuring that they’re not clogged and they’re directing water far away from the house. Then, make sure your landscaping is graded so slope slightly away from your home. Water that pools around your foundation can end up in your basement, so by staying on top of these things you’ll be helping to keep your basement dry.
- Stay on top of foundation cracks and holes. Even the smallest foundation crack can allow awter to seep into the basement, and most homes have some cracks in their foundations. This can happen because of the ground sinking and swelling, the house settling, or things like frost heave, but whatever the cause, fixing small holes and cracks is vital for keeping the basement dry. Thin cracks can be filled with waterproofing compound, but larger cracks require the help of a professional basement waterproofing service.
- Keep the water out by sealing your basement. Fix any cracks or existing leaks inside your basement, then waterproof the walls and floor with sealant. As with foundation cracks, you may need the help of a professional to thoroughly waterproof the basement.
- Insulate your pipes. Most people think about insulating their pipes to keep them from freezing in the winter or to reduce heat loss, but there’s another very good reason to do it. When it’s hot and humid outside, cold water pipes can develop condensation and sweat into your basement, but installing cheap foam insulation can help protect your basement from this source of moisture.
- Control your basement’s humidity. Using a dehumidifier, you can keep the humidity in your basement between 30 and 50 percent. This will help prevent mold and improve the indoor air quality of your entire house, since basement air circulates through the higher levels as well.
No matter what your basement requires to stay dry, trust Reliable Basement Services to make the process hassle-free. A family-owned and operated company, we’ve served the greater Chicago area for over a decade. We offer a full spectrum of basement services including crack repairs, sump pump systems, basement waterproofing, basement windows, and floor repair. Our consistently high standards have made us an award-winning Chicago basement waterproofing contractor, so call us at (630) 777-0539 or visit our website.