The symptoms of a wet and damp basement are usually painfully obvious: water where there isn’t supposed to be water. The severity of the symptom can range far and wide depending upon a few key factors such as the amount of water, the frequency of the basement being wet and damp, and if the basement is finished or unfinished. In any case, the presence of water in a basement where water is not intended to be may be the indication of larger issues.
At the root of all water leaks into basements is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is caused by the buildup of water in the soil surrounding your house’s basement. This pressure can cause water to seep through and joint or crack in your basement walls and foundation.
Another common cause of wet basements is cove joint deficiency. The cove joint is where your basement’s footer, walls, and floor connect. Most experts consider the cove joint to be the most common entry point for water into the basement. If there is a flaw in the construction of this critical joint, it may be weakened and vulnerable to water leakage.
Additionally, the fill dirt surrounding your home can cause leakage into your basement. If that fill dirt is less dense than the original remaining soil surrounding the home, then it is likely to settle, expand, and contract over the years. This, in turn, exerts pressure on the foundation and basement walls.
Do I Need to Fix This?
Generally speaking, the presence of water inside a basement where water isn’t intended to be is something that at least should be assessed by a trained, certified professional. Every situation is different and having someone from within the industry review with you the condition of the basement is a wise starting point. Water in the basement within itself is a problem; however, water within the basement may be an indicator of larger issues.
To address a wet and damp basement, there are typically six components of a water management solution: 1) Moisture Barrier, 2) Diverter, 3) Drainage, 4) Sump Pump, 5) Back-up Pump, 6) Structural Repair. Each of these six components are customized and fitted to your property, and will work as countermeasures against hydrostatic pressure, deficient cove joint, and settling, expanding, and contracting fill dirt. In some cases, some level of air quality control – such as a dehumidifier – is also necessary to address a damp basement.