How do you prevent having a musty and damp basement

You can have efficient grading and sound gutter control, but you can’t stop high amounts of moisture from being in the soil. And that soil moisture can seep into your basement.

Having a dry basement provides a place where you can store goods and live comfortably free of dampness, mustiness and worse, mold. So you’ll want to get it right and you’ll have to use a number of strategies to get there including:

  • Draining rain water away from the foundation
  • Proper backfill and drainage around the foundation
  • Footing drains
  • Breaks between your foundation and soil
  • Membranes that block liquid water and water vapor
  • Insulation for warmth and controlling condensation control

Each of these items is vital as part of having a dry basement and applies to a crawlspace as well. You have to keep water away from the foundation. Damp soil around the foundation increases your home’s humidity, the chance of insect issues and degradation of building materials.

Even though concrete is solid, it absorbs water and water vapor so it can bring moisture into your house. In the worst-case scenario, water left untreated under your foundation leads to soil erosion and undermines footings.

A capillary break is what is needed to eliminate a capillary movement of water from the ground to concrete. You need a space between the wall of the foundation and water or soggy soil. There are a variety of methods.

1. Install a waterproof membrane
2. Use granular fill like gravel or crushed stone
3. Place drainage membrane against the basement wall

Water in the Soil is a constant issue

You can get water in your basement in two ways and both are problems if ignored, as a liquid or as a water vapor. Water vapor is always in the soil and it is usually close to 100 per cent when measured in relative humidity. You must protect your foundation with a coating or membrane to stop it from travelling through concrete, block, and any other materials you might have used for your foundation.

Flooding by liquid water results when drainage isn’t adequate or you have a water table that is very high, especially when seasonal issues occur, like winter snow melt. The water slowly rises around your foundation and begins to exert hydrostatic pressure. Like water pushing through a dike in a dam, it will go through any opening and into the concrete. That’s how water can flow into your basement.

Water coming in through concrete will soak into it. The concrete acts like a sponge bringing the water into the building’s interior. When moisture gets into floors or walls it often leaves behind what is known as white efflorescence. Salts are dissolved in concrete as moisture moves through and the salt comes to the top. The salt is left behind as the water evaporates.

Basements must be built like boats to prevent water coming into them through hydrostatic pressure. What helps are waterproofing membranes, but the best defense is proper drainage to stop hydrostatic pressure from ever starting.

Applying a thin layer of asphalt that merely reduces the ability of water vapor to get through the concrete or block that makes up your foundation. However, this doesn’t stop liquid water nor does it fill small cracks that happen in every concrete wall. You need a complete waterproofing system to do those jobs. But you might think they do the same thing.

You must stop water accumulation around the foundation base which is building up hydrostatic pressure.

Grading Solutions

There could be various factors at play such as soil and climate conditions as well as your site’s topography that mean you need more protection to prevent water from getting to your foundation.

To stop excessive settling that leads to negative grades around the foundation, prevent the sinking of outside stairs as well as driveways and patios, we put backfill in layers of 16 inches at a time then compact. We need to slope the backfill away from your foundation for 10 feet to keep water away from it.

Moisture Control

In the soil around your house, spaces include water vapor. Water vapor usually is 100 per cent relative humidity so it will pass right into your home unless you’ve got a vapor barrier built in. Water also comes through concrete by capillary action if it is built directly on ground.

To prevent these issues at least four inches of coarse gravel or compacted crushed gravel must be set under the basement floor. It’s normal practice in construction these days and required under the building code.

If you want a finished basement or even want to store goods without mold or odor worries, we add a layer of foam insulation under the slab. You can also count on some energy being saved; however, your floor will receive enough warmth to beat back condensation and moisture when you have warm, moist inside air contact a cold concrete surface.

Contact the professional at Stay Dry and we will ensure that the processes utilized do the job right the first time.