Although large floods indicate that your basement needs waterproofing, more minor issues can also be indicators. For example, a musty odor indicates excess moisture that can lead to mildew and mold.
Water stains indicate water seeping into your basement through the walls. This is a big problem that will likely need professional help to fix.
The most obvious sign of a basement with a problem is water staining on your basement walls. This is caused when water leaks through the concrete and leaves behind minerals that create a white, chalky appearance known as efflorescence. Seeing this is a good indication that you need to invest in waterproofing.
Other signs of a water problem include a musty smell, mold growth, and gaps around doors or windows. This is because water will weaken the soil and can cause the foundation to shift, leading to gaps in the walls and windows.
If you see any of these symptoms, inspecting it immediately is essential. This will protect your home from damage, and it will also prevent costly repairs.
While water stains are obvious, sometimes there are less noticeable signs that your home’s basement needs waterproofing. For example, if you notice white, chalky marks on your walls, it may indicate efflorescence, which occurs when moisture evaporates off a wet concrete wall, leaving behind salt and minerals. This can lead to cracking, a serious concern that an expert basement waterproofing in New Jersey should address as soon as possible.
Another warning sign is a musty or damp smell in the basement. This can be caused by outside moisture or high humidity levels caused by condensation and the use of home appliances (like washing machines). Visible mold growth or mildew is also a serious concern, as well as bouncy floors that indicate rotted floor joists.
Knowing the signs that your basement needs waterproofing is essential so you can take action before it becomes a bigger problem. Whether it’s a few hairline floor cracks or a musty smell, noticing these signs early can save you a lot of time and money.
If you smell musty odors or see discoloration on or around walls, moisture damage likely lurks inside. Some types of water damage will evaporate, but others stay put, promoting mold and mildew growth and causing wood rot in joists. It can also ruin stored items and make the basement a health hazard.
Moist walls often occur when rainwater or melting snow fails to drain away from the house properly. It percolates through porous soil, reaches the foundation through cracks or gaps, and is pulled into the house by hydrostatic pressure.
Other culprits include leaky basement plumbing, poorly designed basement floor, and clogged french drains. A leaky washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet can add moisture, especially if the basement is finished. You can test the presence of condensation by taping foil over a damp area. If moisture forms on the underside of the foil, it’s condensation, while if moisture stays on the surface, it’s a sign of water seepage. Waterproofing the basement is the best way to resolve condensation and water problems.
Mold is a natural organism that thrives in damp places. It’s usually found after flooding, but even a small leak can create a perfect habitat for growing in. Mold spores are spread through the air and can cause allergic reactions in people who breathe them in, especially those with respiratory problems or asthma.
Look for a musty smell and dark or colored spots on the walls and floors of your basement. You can also check for slimy stains or patches with a grey fuzz.
Insects and vermin attracted to water, such as cockroaches, pillbugs, and earwigs, may also be in your basement if there’s excess moisture. If you notice a swarm of these pests, contact a foundation contractor to check for cracks and excessive moisture. Adding a waterproof sealant can stop the water from seeping into your home through these cracks and prevent insects and vermin from moving in. Then, the underlying issue of excessive moisture will be addressed, and the space can be dried out.
Because basements are underground and lack air circulation, they can become humid. When the humidity in a basement is too high, it can encourage mold and mildew to grow on walls, carpets, and other surfaces. It can also cause rot in joists and headers. It may even lead to bouncy floors or a sagging ceiling.
You can use a humidity meter to measure air moisture in your basement. Several models are available, including digital hygrometers and psychrometers. These devices can give you a reading and show you how the humidity in your basement has changed over time.
A basement humidity level of 30 to 50 percent is optimal. Anything above will lead to various problems, such as mold and fungus, rotting floors, walls and carpets, and ruined wood structures. The excess moisture can also trigger respiratory issues like a dry cough and sinus infections. It can also make skin and hair more parched and itchy. You can reduce humidity in your home with a dehumidifier or by increasing the air circulation. With a smartphone, you can also install smart home sensors that let you monitor your basement humidity and temperature from anywhere.