A basement provides a wonderful place to store your excess belongings--right up until it starts to get wet, that is. Water penetration in the basement is a serious problem, and not just for your stuff, but for your foundation as well. If you would like to learn more about how to combat a damp basement, read on. This article will provide two valuable tips.
1. Perform a tin foil test.
One of the problems with a damp basement is that it can be hard to tell where the water is coming from. There are two options:
- the water is penetrating into the basement from outside
- the water is part of a condensation issue within the basement
Luckily, there's a clever test that can help you determine which of these is the case. Use duct tape to mount a large square of tin foil on one of the walls. Be sure the duct tape is forming a tight seal all the way around the foil. Leave it in place overnight, then come back and check it for moisture the next day.
What you're looking for is which side of the foil has accumulated water. If it is the outside, then you know your problem is one of condensation. This can be addressed with a dehumidifier. If, on the other hand, the water is on the inside of the foil, then water is entering your basement from the outside. This problem will require a more involved waterproofing strategy to solve, like perhaps hiring professionals, such as Safe-Guard Waterproofing.
2. Rethink your exterior strategy.
Before you start looking into expensive basement waterproofing solutions, it's always useful to take a look at what's going on just outside the walls of your basement. When moisture starts penetrating through these walls, it means that the ground outside is saturated with water. Take a walk around your house with this in mind.
Pay close attention to your gutter downspouts. Have any of them come disconnected, thus letting water spill down along the outside of your house? How far away from the house are they discharging their water? Investing in some gutter extensions to help keep that water as far from your foundation as possible.
Also keep an eye on the grading of the soil around your foundation. Is the dirt level, or is it sloping toward your house? Ideally, there should be a slight soil grade pointing away from your house. This will help keep water from pooling up outside of your basement walls. Consider building up a better grade using clean fill dirt.