5 Tips To Prevent A Wet Basement

Is there moss growing on your basement walls? Do you have to wear galoshes when you go into your basement? Do you have your own fish pond downstairs? If you do, then you probably have a wet basement. Wet basements aren't fun. Growing up, we had a basement that would accumulate a couple of inches of water on the floor when it rained, rendering half of the basement unusable in wet weather. If you have a problem with damp walls or water on the floor, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce or eliminate water problems.


Determine Where The Water Is Coming From.


The first thing you need to do before you can fix the problem is to determine whether the water is coming from inside your basement, or from outside. Take a piece of aluminum foil, about 12 inches square, and tape it to one of the walls that is prone to dampness. Make sure all 4 sides are sealed airtight. In a couple of days, check the foil. If the side of the foil that was against the wall is wet, then the problem is water entering the basement from outside. If there is water on the side facing in, then the problem in condensation.


Install Rain Gutters.


If you don't have rain gutters on your house, then install some. A rain gutter will direct the rainwater to where you want it to go, instead of letting it pool up against the foundation, where it can seep in through cracks. Keep the gutters clean, and free of debris, so the water can flow freely. If you have a problem with leaves and twigs falling into the gutter, place a wire strainier over the downspout outlet, to keep the debris from clogging the downspout. Speaking of downspouts, be sure that the water flowing from the downspout doesn't simply pool against the foundation. Direct the downspout away from the house, or at least use a splash block to carry the water away from the house.


Slope the Lawn Away.


Make sure that your lawn slopes away from your house. If the lawn slopes towards the house, the water draining from the lawn will pool against the foundation, again letting water seep through cracks into the basement. The slope should be at least 1 inch per foot. If you can't change the slope of your lawn, then dig a shallow drainage ditch to intercept the surface drainage, and direct it away from the house.


Prevent Condensation.


Moisture in the air in a cool spot like the basement will increase the problem of condensation. Make sure that the basement is adequately ventilated. During wet or humid weather, you should keep the windows closed, since the inside air will probably be drier than the outside air. If the weather is warm, you'll want to run the AC in the basement to cool and dry the air. In the winter, keep the basement heated.


Fix Other Sources Of Moisture.


Are there any pipes leaking in your basement? If there are, these should be fixed as soon as possible. Clothes hung to dry in the basement will also contribute to the moisture problem. Either open the windows while you're drying the clothes, or take them down, and hang them outside to dry, or dry them in the clothes dryer. Unless you have your heart set on your own mold and mildew collection, then you'll want your basement to be dry. Taking some simple steps will help keep your basement dry and comfortable.