Basement Humidity: Why It Happens and What to Do

There isn’t a person in the world that hasn’t had humidity in the basement. This situation is especially common in cold and rainy climates such as the Toronto and GTA area. That’s why you should be prepared at all times. Basement humidity isn’t something to be reckoned with since it usually leads to mold growth, structural issues, and health problems. Here is what you should know:


Lots of people think that humidity and moisture are synonymous. To clarify things from the start, humidity is actually water vapor. When temperatures drop, water vapor condenses and turns into tiny liquid droplets, also known as moisture. So these two are both water, but only found in different states.

In the case of basements, high humidity levels are a warning sign of poor ventilation and drainage. Since water easily turns from liquid to gas, your high humidity can be the result of excess water stuck in floors and walls. On the other hand, it can also be the result of vapor coming from kitchens and bathrooms.


The basement is placed in the least practical position. Surrounded by piping both inside and out, this room is the ideal spot for moisture trouble. Having leaky or damaged piping easily evolves into damp floors and floods. To make things worse, most basements are also surrounded by underground springs, being the main target of rising water tables.

The thing is, when there is heavy rainfall, underground water starts rising to the point where it reaches the basement. If the house is waterproofed and protected, this won’t be such  a threat, but if it has old piping and is outdated, humidity and moisture will appear in no time.


If the only problem you have in the basement is high humidity then you are extremely lucky. You have the opportunity to solve the problem early on, avoiding floods and complicated repairs. As we mentioned before, high humidity means that you either have poor ventilation or insufficient drainage.

The solution for the latter is definitely basement waterproofing or backyard drainage. These systems will prevent water from entering the basement in the first places, reducing chances for humidity and leaks to a minimum. Moisture along with cracks in walls and floors almost always signify that you need to upgrade your sump pumps and waterproofing.


If you already have quality waterproofing, then lack of ventilation is probably your nemesis. Improving it can be done in tons of ways, including window replacement, ceiling fans, window wells, and dehumidifiers. Also, you would want to schedule exhaust fan cleanups and piping inspections.

But before you start doing everything on that list, it’s crucial that you call in experts. As we saw, basement humidity can happen due to number of reasons. Sometimes it can be solved with dehumidifiers, but other times it requires piping replacements and waterproofing.


The key of preventing water damage is to recognize the signs early on. Remember that most of the time high humidity is a warning that something more complicated is about to happen. Whether because of leaky pipes, clogged exhaust fans, or floor cracks, basement humidity and moisture should be dealt with as soon as possible. To find out whether your house is in danger, here are some other signs of water trouble:

  • Cracks in floors and walls
  • Higher utility bills (either due to temperature loss or damaged piping)
  • Difficulty breathing (caused by toxic mold growth)
  • Overflowing or overactive sump pumps
  • Frequent leaks and floods
  • Extremely low or high water pressure

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