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Why is My Basement Wet?

A wet basement is a common problem that homeowners must face. As common as it is, it should not be ignored. Basement being wet can lead to any damages, like structural damage and mold, and can also be hazardous to your health.

How to tell if your basement is damp

Before you proceed to point out the causes of a wet basement, you need to ensure if your basement is actually damp or not. Here are the signs you should look out for.

  • Sniff the general smell of your basement. Moisture can cause a musty smell.
  • Check if there are any stains of water on floors or walls.
  • Check for mold. Mold can be brown, black, green, or yellow.
  • Check for efflorescenceThis will create grayish or white ash on the walls. The major cause of the efflorescence is the salt deposits that the water leaves behind after it evaporates.

Causes of wet basement

So, what exactly are the factors that cause dampness in your basement?

Leak from kitchen

Sometimes, internal leakage can be a cause of the moisture inside your basement. A water leak can arise from many places, like a shower, bathroom, even leaks from the kitchen. If the moisture is located directly under the bathroom or the kitchen, then you can place the blame directly on the internal leak.

Leak from windows 

The outside water, typically rainwater, can enter your basement and then settle in there to cause leakage. The water will seep in from the windows usually. Even if they are closed, sometimes the water will find its way in through the joints and cracks.

Improper landscaping

Improper grading is going to make the water flow inside the house, not away from it. If your sprinklers are facing your house, a lot of water will get accumulated at the foot of foundation and then leak.

Crack in the foundation

If your foundation is cracked, then water can and will accumulate inside it and then leak into the basement. If the foundation walls are not connected properly with the floor joints, the walls will tend to move, and then cracks will be formed as a result. The water needs to be directed away from the foundation so that the water does not enter your basement.

Ventilation with humid air

Sometimes we open the basement doors and windows in the warm weather to let the air inside. However, this air may be humid and then condenses on the floors and walls of the basement. As the walls of your basement are cool, the water will condense on them and will cause dampness. This issue is easier to solve than all the others.

Defective or missing downspouts or gutters

The gutters and the downspouts are supposed to lead the rainwater away from your home. If they aren’t functioning, or are missing entirely, then the rainwater comes in contact with the foundation of your home. If the water accumulates near your foundation, it will enter your basement and be a part of it.

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