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.
The three most common causes to a wet and damp basement are: 1) Hydrostatic Pressure, 2) Cove Joint deficiency, and 3) Fill Dirt. Hydrostatic pressure is essentially the ground and ground water applying pressure to the foundation walls and floor from the outside, in. Water will seek the path of least resistance and as the pressure builds, and potentially the saturation level within the ground raises towards the surface, the basement may be susceptible to water entering through any crack or joint. The cove joint is where the footer, wall, and floor meet in the construction of the basement. The cove joint is the most common area for water to enter a basement because it is the weakest portion of the entire foundation. The fill dirt around the foundation is less dense than the original, remaining ground and therefore is more likely to settle, expand, and contract over the next number of years applying pressure onto the foundation 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.