Basement moisture is one of those bedeviling problems that often seems impossible to mitigate. Once you have fixed one source of moisture, another source appears. The key to remodeling your basement is attacking and eradicating moisture; nothing can happen before that.
Questions and Answers About Basement Moisture
- Q: Can basement moisture be completely eliminated?
A: Often, you need to take the pragmatic view, and realize that no matter how many measures you take against basement moisture, you may still have some. So, in many cases, it’s more a matter of greatly reducing your moisture problems than completely eliminating them. However, yes, in some instances, your basement wetness can be 100% eradicated.
- Q: How does basement moisture form?
A: Two ways – water seepage and condensation. Water seeps into your basement from the ground surrounding the basement walls and even under the basement floor. Condensation forms on basement walls: invisible, air-borne water droplets condense on cold surfaces. And as you well know, basements tend to be cold. Thus, you get condensation.
- Q: What evidence of basement moisture should I look for?
A: Of course, the most obvious sign is standing water. But beyond that, learn to look at your basement like a detective and search for indirect things, such as: peeling paint on the walls (condensation will cause the paint to peel); white, powdery material on brick walls called efflorescence; rotting wood; rusting water heater, dryer, washer, or other appliance platforms or feet.
5 Steps to Mitigating Moisture Problems in Basement
- 1. Reduce Seepage Around Basement
Regrade soil around foundation walls to prevent water from moving toward foundation. Direct down spouts far away from basement walls with downspout extensions. Clean gutters.
- 2. Fill Large Cracks
Use a product like Quikrete Hydraulic Water-Stop to fill large foundation holes and cracks.
- 3. Seal Outside Foundation Wall
Trowel ¼” surface bonding cement using a straight-edged trowel. Wait 3 hours. Scribe lines in bonding cement with a scribing tool or paintbrush cleaner to help second coat better adhere to surface. Apply second coat. Wait 4 days for coats to fully dry.
- 4. Install Sump Pump
For major water intrusion, install a sump pump. Installing a sump pump is a major undertaking, requiring the services of a contractor. Your basement floor must be broken up and later re-patched, and plumbing and electrical wiring are also involved.
- 5. Apply Masonry Waterproofer
Roll and brush on a waterproofing masonry sealer like Quikrete Masonry Coating.