A basement can serve many purposes in a home. You might use it simply as an extra storage room or a laundry room. You may even decide to turn it into a home office or bedroom. Whatever you end up using your basement for, you definitely do not want this space to be ruined by excess water.
You cannot help if your basement becomes flooded. While this is a frustrating endeavor to deal with, you can take measures to potentially prevent future flooding in your home. There are plenty of problem signs you can keep an eye out for so no moisture problems will ever plague your basement again. One of the more common basement waterproofing issues is condensation.
Let’s take a closer look into how dangerous and pervasive basement condensation can be, what can cause condensation to creep into your basement, and how AFS basement waterproofing solutions can help.
Common Basement Waterproofing Problem Signs
Floods or other problems can often take many homeowners by surprise. Fortunately, there are several basement waterproofing problem signs that you can watch out for before this can happen to your home.
Condensation usually occurs when there is too much humidity in the basement. If you see liquid drops settling over the various belongings in your basement, it is likely that you have a humidity problem that needs to be addressed. Additionally, you might see leaks seeping through your basement walls or welling up from the floor. All these can eventually contribute to large floods in your basement, which is why you need to take steps to protect your basement from these issues as soon as you spot them.
It is far easier for your basement to become quite dense with moisture as opposed to the other rooms in your home. This is because the basement is often poorly insulated, which means that the outside temperature is far more likely to affect the temperature within your basement. You may find it stuffy and surprisingly humid during the summers and freezing in the winter. This is especially true if your basement has any cracks or other openings that allow humidity inside in the first place.
Condensation can be dangerous for another reason. If you have not cleared it all away during the winter, they will likely start to freeze over and create even more cracks along your basement walls or floor. Your belongings might also be ruined by the mold and mildew this condensation will bring as well.
Cracks are perhaps the most obvious sign of basement damage in Nashville, Tennessee. These often speak in damage to your foundation, which can adversely affect the infrastructure of your entire home. Even smaller cracks can eventually expand down to your foundation if you continue to ignore them for too long.
Not every homeowner has the time to deal with every problem in their home. Knowing how to identify which cracks can be left alone for a short period of time and which must be treated immediately is vital to spacing out home repairs.
If you’re looking into repairs for your home on a budget, cracks that measure less than 1/8 inches wide may be able to wait for a short period of time. These are commonly referred to as hairline cracks and do not pose much of a threat to your home. The same can be said for any cracks that measure anywhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inches wide. This does not mean you should leave these cracks alone forever. Scheduling an appointment with an expert can help you decide how long you can put these repairs on hold.
Any cracks that measure larger than 1/4 inches wide are serious threats to your home’s foundation. If you see cracks that span this length, it’s important to speak to an expert right away. Along with creating a wider entrance for moisture, outdoor temperatures, and critters, cracks of 1/4 inches or larger can severely compromise the safety of your home’s structure.
Detecting a musty stench around your basement is an often-overlooked problem sign of water damage. This is because many homeowners will attribute it to dank basements always smelling like this. Your basement should not have any smells that you cannot control.
Often, musty smells can occur due to all the floods your basement has faced. All that standing water or sewage that has leaked through combined with the overall humidity can create a very rank stench. This smell can also be a sign that you have a mold, mildew, or pest problem as well. Pests, in particular, may release a musty smell to attract others of their kind to your home. All in all, it is not wise to ignore any weird smells you might find in or around your basement.
Mold and Mildew
Where moisture issues crop up, mold and mildew problems are sure to follow. Not many homeowners will be able to identify when they have a mold or mildew problem, so let’s take a closer look into the differences between the two first.
Mold can be black, green, or even red in color while mildew can be either a light gray or white. Their textures will also be very different. Mold tends to be slimy or fuzzy while mildew is fluffier and powdery. Neither of these fungi is technically toxic, but they can induce plenty of negative health symptoms in you and your family if you allow them to spread around your home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold alone can cause burning or watery eyes, a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing and wheezing, and skin rashes. Those with asthma or chronic lung diseases may even find their own symptoms triggered or that their lungs have been infected by these spores.
Efflorescence is best described as a white, crystalline streak along your basement walls. It differs from mildew in that it is much harder and is more of a threat to your home’s infrastructure than your health. It forms when condensation or leaks stir up the salts in the building materials that make up your basement wall. This can easily turn into efflorescence dripping down your walls or forming on your basement floor.
Like mold and mildew spores, pests tend to thrive in humid or moist environments. Your humid basement might then be the perfect place for them to infest. Specific pests like termites, ants, or rodents can be particularly destructive, so it is a good idea to take care of any moisture issues you have as soon as possible to prevent this possible infestation from taking place.
If constant floods affect your basement, it is likely that they will also negatively impact your foundation as well. Your foundation might even start to shift out of its original position, settle deeper into the earth, or crack. This can affect the supporting beams of your floor, which may also overspan or splinter apart.
An over-spanned floor support beam (also known as a joist) is likely to make your floor bounce or even sag in places without its support. This can create a dangerous tripping hazard for you and your family. Similarly, your floor joists may also rot from all the condensation building up in your basement or around your foundation. The water itself could wear the wood down or even invite mold and mildew spores or destructive pests to cause it to rot or break down.
Causes of Basement Waterproofing Issues
Detecting when your basement has problems can be incredibly helpful for the average homeowner. However, some homeowners might also want to know why their basement constantly faces moisture damage in the first place.
In Birmingham, Alabama, and homes in the surrounding areas, the supporting soil around and under your foundation is bound to absorb a lot of water during severe storms. The added weight of all that water can create an immense amount of pressure against the foundation itself. It can become so heavy that your foundation might shift or crack as a result. Water can then flow more easily into your basement and create annoying floods or at the very least invite excessive and unwanted humidity.
This is what is commonly referred to as hydrostatic pressure. It can also occur when water becomes trapped in the pores of your concrete foundation or basement walls. When winter comes and the water freezes over, the ice can expand and crack the concrete from within.
The Clay Bowl Effect
Basement damage can also occur through a common construction mistake known as the clay bowl effect. Basically, contractors will dig up a large hole where they plan to lay down your foundation and basement. After each component is secured, there is typically a little space left around both structures that the contractor will then backfill in with the soil.
This creates a sort of bowl around your foundation and basement. This soil will be much looser than it once was, which makes it far more susceptible to washing out in the event of a large storm or when melted snow drains away. Without this crucial support, your foundation may shift out of its original position, settle further into the remaining soil, or even crack apart altogether.
Basement Waterproofing Repair Solutions
We understand your frustration in dealing with constant flooding or moisture issues in your basement. Fortunately, AFS can provide plenty of powerful waterproofing solutions for your basement.
If your basement faces frequent floods, you need a reliable sump pump to pump all that water out of your home. Our sump pumps are capable of collecting and draining away as much as 11,500 gallons of water on a single charge of one of its batteries.
In fact, its self-activating, backup battery system is what makes this system so great. You do not have to worry about rushing to turn it on in the event that a storm hits your house. It will also continue to run and protect your home from moisture or flooding when your power goes out.
Interior Drainage System
The sump pump will be connected to the interior drainage system, which is basically a complex series of durable pipes that will direct any and all moisture away from your home. Much of this system is installed within the interior of your basement walls, though you will be able to spot the wall flanges of this system installed in the joints between your wall and floor. These flanges are designed to catch any condensation or moisture that will leak through your walls so that they will not plague your basement.
The drainage system will then redirect any water it collects to a nearby storm drain or trench far from your home. This ensures your basement will stay permanently dry no matter the weather outside.
If your main problem is condensation, then you will need a strong dehumidifier that can prevent all that humidity from building up in the first place. Our dehumidifiers can keep your basement at your desired humidity levels. It can also filter out any other harmful particles such as mold and mildew spores from the air, leaving the air in your basement much healthier than before.
Humidity, natural to our environment, can overstay its welcome when it comes to your home. While all homes need some level of humidity in order to be healthy, there can easily be a build-up of far too much in your basement for a variety of reasons.
Relative Humidity and Absolute Humidity
Any cracks or leaks in your basement can easily lead to a huge buildup of humidity in your basement, which can lead to all that humidity condensing and flooding your basement, too. There are two types of humidity: relative humidity and absolute humidity. Absolute humidity is the mass of water vapor divided by the mass of dry air at a given temperature. It’s the muggy, humid feeling you can sense in the air around you.
Relative humidity is the percentage taken of the current absolute humidity level out of the highest absolute humidity value that the air can realistically hold. It is fairly easy for this percentage to go over 100 percent, especially if it is already very hot. Once the threshold goes over this 100 percent mark, the water vapor starts to condense into liquid drops.
Why You Need a Dehumidifier
This is why installing a dehumidifier in your basement is vital to maintaining its value. Blocking out moisture from entering your basement is key to keeping it at a healthy humidity level, and the rest of your home can reap the benefits, too. Typically, basements need to have far lower humidity levels than the rest of your home to prevent any moisture issues that do crop up in this space from growing worse.
Where the rest of your home can sit comfortably at 50 percent humidity without facing too many issues, it is best to leave your basement at far less—around 30 percent humidity. By placing a powerful dehumidifier in your basement, you can ensure that it will permanently remain at this safe level.
When most homeowners notice issues within their homes, they will often try to fix them themselves. Basement waterproofing issues are not something just anyone should undertake, however. It is always best to leave any repairs you might need to the basement experts at AFS.
Why DIY Repairs Are Not Recommended
Your local home improvement store will likely sell a lot of different basement waterproofing solutions that they claim will get the job done. However, you might also find yourself applying the same solutions over and over to treat the same problem, which can cost you a lot more time and money in the long run. This is why you need to invest in a permanent solution that can protect your basement for years to come.
Additionally, any dehumidifiers you might find at a department store will also not be powerful enough to deal with the dense amount of humidity in your basement. Our dehumidifiers are not only capable of handling lots of humidity, but you can also adjust their settings to reach a humidity level you like. Our dehumidifiers can also filter out any mold or mildew spores that happen to infiltrate your basement as well.
If you like to DIY your home, ensure any repairs you do try to implement to not interfere with your foundation or other concrete structures much, if at all. If you accidentally damage your foundation while you work, this will only cost you even more in the future. You should always try to leave any necessary repairs to the experts at AFS if at all possible.
Calling the Basement Experts at AFS
The basement experts at AFS have plenty of experience installing and repairing any basement waterproofing repair solution that your home might need. We do it right the first time, so you can enjoy your home without any worries.
If your basement condensation constantly settles over your basement, it can start to affect other things around your home, too. Because condensation issues are often the result of high humidity levels, you can bet that all that excess humidity can create other issues around the rest of your home too.
The Stack Effect
The hotter the temperature, the more humidity there will be floating in the air. This is why you might notice your basement feeling a lot muggier in the summertime. Additionally, hot air tends to rise, which means if you have a humidity problem in your basement, that humidity is likely to rise up to the upper levels of your home, too. You might find that your home is suddenly a lot hotter than it used to be and crank up your air conditioner as a result.
Conversely, any cold air that manages to slip through any cracks can also cause issues. Cold air is far denser than hot air, which means it can push any warm air from your heater up and out of your home. You might then turn your heater up higher to compensate for this chill. Both of these can result in your energy bills skyrocketing.
These flooding issues can easily slip through to your foundation as well. It is possible that the soil supporting your foundation has washed out due to all this excess moisture and caused your foundation to settle into the remaining soil. It is also possible that the constant floods have also created immense pressure on your foundation from all sides and made it crack as a result.
Conversely, a foundation or basement floor that has already cracked may also flood your basement from below. Thus, this damage can work both ways, which is why you need to call a basement expert at AFS to inspect your basement every year to prevent this damage from growing worse. Our experts can also implement quick repairs to both the basement and foundation to prevent any condensation issues from attacking your basement.
Contact the Basement Experts at AFS Today
The basement should remain perfectly dry no matter what. Unfortunately, it can be very easy for any moisture to slip through. Should your basement become too humid, this can cause liquid drops to condense and even flood your basement. This is a common occurrence that can fortunately be mitigated by installing a powerful sump pump and dehumidifier system in your basement.
Contact the basement waterproofing experts at AFS for a free basement inspection today. We can also offer you free quotes on all our powerful waterproofing systems, and work with you to find something that fits your home and budget.