Welcome To Our Blog

What Causes Basement Moisture?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Moisture is most likely seeping up from the earth if you have mould or mildew growing in your basement. Dampness in a basement can be caused by a variety of factors, including defective construction and high humidity outside. This blog will go over both methods for preventing water from seeping into your basement and the most common methods for repairing leaks once they have occurred.

    Understanding The Top Basement Waterproofing Methods

    There are very few things that may be more frustrating for a homeowner than having a damp basement. However, sadly, what seems to be nothing more than a slight drip or a small puddle could actually be early warning indications of a far more significant issue. The presence of moisture in your basement can cause a wide variety of problems that are not only expensive but also time-consuming. The presence of water in your basement presents a number of challenges, some of which are more serious than others. What steps can we take to ensure that the air in our basements remains dry and that no moisture penetrates its walls?

    Why Should I Have My Moist Basement Fixed?

    Musty odours can be caused by a buildup of dampness or moisture in your basement, which will make your home less inviting and comfortable for guests. In addition to causing damage to the things you own, moist basements can encourage the growth of mould and mildew. Both of these pathogens have the potential to trigger allergic reactions and exacerbate preexisting respiratory conditions such as asthma. If you plan on selling your property and it has a damp basement, you will have a tough time finding buyers that are interested in purchasing it. When they discover that your basement has a wet atmosphere, a good number of them will retreat. Maintaining a dry environment in your wet basement should therefore be your number one concern.

    What Are The Signs Of Moist Basements?

    what causes basement moisture

    If your home has a constant dampness to it, this indicates that there is a substantial amount of moisture or water present in the walls or the floor. The following are some of the telltale symptoms that your Ohio home has damp or moist basements:

    • Mold or mildew growth visible on the floor and wall surfaces
    • Strangely cold or damp conditions are present on the walls.
    • Efflorescence found on the walls and floors
    • There are wet spots on the lower part of the wall that move upward.
    • The paint and wallpaper on the floor peeled off.
    • An abnormally high amount of condensation on your windows.
    • Wetness causes tiles, vinyl, or carpet to become unfastened and lifting.

    What Causes Basement Moisture?

    In order to have the most effective grasp of how to maintain the dryness of your basements, we need to have a comprehensive awareness of the factors that lead to the formation of moisture in basements in the first place. Water has an uncanny ability to find its way into homes, which is a source of frustration for homeowners. Basements, by virtue of their specific characteristics and the way they are built, are particularly susceptible to the accumulation of moisture. The following are some of the most common factors that contribute to condensation in basements:

    Improper Soil And Drainage Systems

    In the event that rainwater and groundwater are unable to drain away as they should, it is possible for them to enter your basement. One of the most prevalent reasons for dampness in basements is the presence of improper soil and inadequate drainage systems. If water is not diverted away from the house, it will pool around the foundation, and then it will attempt to enter the house through whatever opening it can find.

    Poorly Installed And Maintained Gutters

    Rainwater should be directed away from the foundation of your home by using gutters. However, water will drain around your foundation rather than away from it if they are not installed correctly or if there is too much debris in them for them to operate effectively.

    Improper Slope

    It is important that the land around your home's foundation slope away from your house rather than towards it. If the slope is not correct, water will pool around your foundation rather than draining away from it, which puts it at risk of damage.

    Hydrostatic Pressure

    When water gathers around your foundation, a phenomenon known as hydrostatic pressure can develop. As the force of gravity continues to press down on the water, the water will attempt to escape in order to relieve the pressure. As a direct consequence of this, the water will make its way through any fractures that may exist in the flooring and walls of your basement. It's possible for the pressure to become so intense that it will develop fissures.

    Cracks In Your Basement

    Cracks in the walls, floors, and around windows or doors in your basement create the ideal pathway for water to go through and seep into the space below. Because of these cracks, it is simple for water to enter the structure because water will always go the route that offers the least amount of resistance.


    Basements are generally known for their high levels of humidity. When condensation takes place, it sometimes brings with it mildew and mould, in addition to the possibility of damage.

    Typical Causes Of Basement Moisture Problems

    Inadequate Grading

    The problem occurs when the land surrounding a foundation is either level or slopes towards the house. This causes water to leak into the basement. The soil immediately adjacent to the house is frequently backfilled without sufficient compaction, which results in subsequent settlement. This is especially true under stoops, which provide an opportunity for water to pool close to the wall of the basement.

    Installing soil around the home in such a way that it slopes away from the foundation wall at a rate of at least one inch per foot over a distance of at least six feet is the solution.

    Defective Or Missing Gutters And Downspouts

    Rainwater is being channelled towards the perimeter of the foundation because missing gutters and downspouts are causing this problem. It is preferable not to have a downspout at all rather than to have one that does not include an extender or splash block. It concentrates a significant amount of the rainfall that falls on the roof into a single point quite close to the basement.

    The solution is to instal at least one downspout for every 50 linear feet of an eave on the roof. At a minimum of four feet beyond the wall, extensions are required to release water. Additionally, concrete sidewalks that are slanted around basements are highly good at directing rain runoff in the appropriate direction.

    Improperly Designed Window Wells

    The problem is that window wells function similarly to drains and are located directly next to the walls of the basement. Frequently, they are constructed in an incorrect manner, such that any water that may be present is channelled towards, rather than away from, the foundation.

    As a SOLUTION, coarse aggregate measuring between 3/8 and 3/4 of an inch should be used to fill window wells all the way up to the window sills. From the footing all the way up to the bottom of the window well, there ought to be an extension of the supplementary drain tile.

    Ineffective Drain Tile And Sump Pit

    The issue is that many of the current homes lack any kind of underground drainage system. This is a holdover from the days when basements were not designed to be utilised as living places. In other instances, the systems are unable to function for a variety of reasons, including the collapse of the pipe, the blockage of the pipe with silt and tree roots, or a damaged connection to the sump. In all of these scenarios, the pipe is the most common cause of the malfunction. In most homes, the water is pumped out of the sump pit and onto the ground surface beyond the foundation wall using a pump that is housed in the sump pit. This pump has a chance of failing.

    See approaches 2 through 5 that are detailed below as a solution.

    Improper Drainage With Under Slab Ducts

    The issue is that when heating ducts are built beneath a basement floor slab, the drainage system could be left at an unreasonably higher elevation than the duct. In practical terms, the duct takes on the role of the drainage system. In the event that water is allowed to remain within the heating duct, there is a possibility that mould infestation will lead to major health implications.

    The SOLUTION is to insulate the heating ducts that are put beneath the basement floor, ensure that they are watertight, and slope them to collection locations so that they can be cleaned and drained. Under the ductwork, you have the option of installing a drain tile and coarse aggregate.

    Structural Cracks

    The typical problem with foundations made of concrete or concrete blocks is the development of fractures. In the event that floor joists are not correctly linked to the foundation wall, hence allowing the wall to shift, they have the potential to cause significant damage. Additionally, cracking is caused by the sinking of the earth. Cracks frequently appear in the walls at the points where they meet solid constructions like the fireplace. The water that collects in cracks is often removed through drainage, although in some cases, a repair may be required.

    It is essential to have a well-designed footing and a strong link between the foundation wall and the structure that will be built on top of it (e.g. anchor bolts or straps at the sill plate and floor joists nailed to the sill plate).

    The Top Basement Waterproofing Methods

    Now that we have a better grasp of what causes moisture in the basement, let's talk about what we can do to avoid it from happening in the future. There are three different approaches of waterproofing a basement:


    These are some of the measures that can be performed to prevent water from entering your basement through the inside of the structure. These techniques are typically employed after an existing issue has been recognised as needing attention. This may include the use of sealants and coatings, in addition to techniques that stop condensation from forming.


    These are activities that take place away from your house, just as you might have guessed they would. The purpose of these techniques is to prevent water from entering the structure in the first place by preventing it from getting in. This may involve installing drainage systems on the exterior of the building as well as a waterproof membrane on the exterior walls.


    Problems with the drainage are one of the most typical factors that contribute to dampness in basements. This procedure may involve repairing a drainage system that is not functioning properly or installing a drainage system in an area that does not currently have one.

    Because every circumstance is unique, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the waterproofing concerns that are present in your house. All three of these approaches need to be utilised in order to create a waterproofing system that is actually effective.

    Interior Waterproofing

    Methods of inside waterproofing are often the simplest and least expensive of the available options. Typically, they begin with ensuring that any cracks or holes in your basement walls, floors, and around windows and doors are correctly sealed and impermeable. This is the first step in preventing water damage. Because water enters our basements through cracks like these the majority of the time, the first step in ensuring that your basement remains dry is to properly seal any cracks that you find there.

    Sealants designed specifically for this purpose can be used to effectively plug any cracks, so preventing any additional moisture from entering the structure. The effectiveness of these sealants is normally extremely high, and they frequently come with extended warranties that ensure their efficiency.

    Methods for waterproofing the interior, such as the use of waterproof sealants, are also effective at reducing the amount of humidity in the air, so eliminating the risk of condensation. The basement's walls and floors can be coated with these materials to create a barrier that is impervious to water. Even though these interior sealants are a crucial stage in the process of waterproofing as a whole, the underlying issues that are producing the moisture are not addressed by them in any way. Most of the time, the larger problems are located on the outside.

    Exterior Waterproofing

    In most cases, the source of the problem, which manifests itself as a damp basement, may be found outside the house. When it comes time to waterproof your basement, therefore, it is imperative that you look beyond the walls of your basement. The method of waterproofing the exterior of a building is often far more involved than the straightforward sealing procedure that we employ on the inside. When contemplating several strategies for waterproofing the exterior, it is essential to get the advice of an experienced professional.

    The excavation of the soil that surrounds the foundation of the home is often required in order to waterproof the outside of the building. You can probably guess that this is going to be a process that requires a lot of manual labour and bulky equipment and tools. After removing all of the soil from around the base, the outer walls of the structure can have a water-resistant sealant sprayed to them. This sealant, which has a polymer foundation in most cases, is intended to last for the duration of the building's existence. This process of waterproofing the exterior should, ideally, take place while the building is being constructed.

    When discussing external solutions, it is vital to bring up guttering systems as well. Rainwater is diverted away from the foundation of your home by gutters, provided they have been installed correctly. On the other hand, if they are not installed or maintained correctly, these systems might have the reverse of their intended effect. Water will collect along the base of your house if the gutters are clogged or if they drain too close to the foundation. This is the exact location where you do not want water to be. To ensure that your gutters continue to function effectively, it is imperative that you keep them clear and clean at all times. Make sure that your home is equipped with appropriate downspouts that channel water as far away from the structure as possible.

    Drainage Systems

    The presence of dampness in your basement is frequently a symptom of a more serious issue with the drainage in the area. It is absolutely necessary to ensure that your property has enough drainage all around it if you want to maintain a dry basement. These drainage systems have been designed with the purpose of diverting water (whether it be groundwater or rainwater) away from the foundation of your property.

    There is a wide variety of drainage systems on the market that can assist you in keeping the water surrounding your house under control. Examine the soil around your home as a first step because there are several distinct types of soil, each of which drains water in a unique manner. Make sure that your house is surrounded by soil that can quickly drain water and does not hold onto excess moisture.

    Because every house is unique, it is essential to perform an in-depth evaluation of the drainage system that surrounds your property. Examine the angle at which the soil falls away from your home's foundation. Instead of sloping towards your foundation, it should slope away from it. It is possible, but not certain, that you will require the installation of a sump pump in order to remove any standing water from the interior of your home. These underground drainage systems gather water from the area surrounding your foundation and then pump it away from your basement.

    These systems need to be built in such a way that they can operate even if the power goes off. The installation of a sump pump or other type of interior drainage system can be quite the labor-intensive endeavour, as one might think. If you are considering using this approach of waterproofing, it is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced professional.

    An Overview Of Solutions To Basement Moisture Problems

    The most effective strategy for solving any building issue is to begin by looking for simple and inexpensive solutions. The next step is to proceed in a logical order by completing the procedure that will incur the fewest costs and has the greatest potential for success. If there is an issue with moisture, for instance, the most effective solution is almost never to try to stop it at the very last line of defence; rather, it is nearly always advisable to eliminate or regulate the source of the moisture.

    First, the strategies that are the easiest and least expensive to implement are to eliminate sources of excessive internal moisture in the basement (such as humidifiers and cooking) and to ventilate other sources (clothes dryer, bathroom).

    Second, if the issue is condensation in the basement during the summer, you should avoid directly ventilating the space with warm and humid air. Instead, ventilation by means of an air conditioning system or a heat exchanger of the desiccant type is recommended to be utilised.

    Dehumidification Is Not A Permanent Solution

    Dehumidification is one method that can be utilised to alleviate the uncomfortable effects of humidity and odour in a basement; however, it is not a long-term or comprehensive solution. Using a dehumidifier in a basement that already has moisture issues can potentially cause even more damage to the space. By drying out the air in the basement, more moisture will be drawn into the basement at a faster rate, which will cause efflorescence and spalling of the concrete in addition to significant damage to the interior finishes.

    Interior Membrane Or Coating Is A Temporary Solution

    what causes basement moisture 3

    It is tempting to try to fix a damp problem in a basement by applying a membrane or coating to the inside of the space. It is less expensive than installing a drainage system, and in some instances, it appears to function for a period of time. Despite this, the water is still present, and over time, these systems will either fail or redirect the water to another route into the basement.

    Recommended Approach

    Evaluating the gutters, downspouts, and surface grading surrounding the home is the next step that should be taken after removing the internal moisture sources. It is advised that this step be taken after removing the interior moisture sources. These are the things that need to be fixed first, as they could address the problem.

    Drainage system, either internal or exterior: If the moisture problem does not go away, you need instal either an interior or an exterior drainage system. The following list provides detailed explanations of each of these methods. It is recommended that you first take care of the water problem if your objective is to finish a basement that has existing issues with flooding.

    Sub-slab depressurisation system: It is advised to have an operational sub-slab depressurisation system that includes a washed-rock layer located below the slab. This brings moist air from beneath the slab into the residence, which may help to limit the amount of moisture vapour that enters the home through gaps in the slab. Additionally, it helps in the control of radon and other gases found in the soil. It is important to block and seal any sump wells and other open connections to the soil that are located outside of the foundation and below the slab.

    Step By Step Process

    • Control interior moisture sources.
    • Avoid using outside air for ventilation during the warm summer months.
    • a system consisting of correct grading, gutters, and downspouts
    • Make sure there is a drainage system either inside or outside.


    • A dehumidifier can help minimise the symptoms of humidity and odour, but it won't fix the underlying issue.
    • A membrane or coating applied to the interior, without also enabling drainage, will not, in most cases, provide a long-term solution to the problem.
    • Before walls can be insulated, they need to be completely dry. Before carpeting the slabs, they need to be warm and dry.

    Which Method Is Right For You?

    As was noted previously, every house is unique in its own way. Therefore, the best way of waterproofing for your house could not be the same as the best method for your neighbor's house. When it comes to maintaining your basement, there are a lot of different considerations that come into play. Even though every circumstance is unique, the most effective course of action is almost usually preventive rather than repair. Taking precautions to waterproof your basement before there is water in the area will almost certainly result in the best possible outcomes. Damage caused by water can lead to significant complications, including the need for expensive repairs and a great deal of stress.

    Waiting to address the issue of waterproofing your basement can lead to considerably larger expenditures in the future, despite the fact that it is frequently tempting to put off dealing with the problem in order to save money in the here and now. There is a wide range of basement waterproofing techniques available, so it is important to undertake adequate study in order to identify the technique that is best suited to your specific requirements.

    Your most important financial asset is likely to be your own home. It is essential to protect it by taking the required precautions, which are a priority. Don't put it off until you're already facing an issue. By being proactive, you may minimise water damage to your basement and retain more money in your pocket. Contact the knowledgeable staff at Triad Basement Waterproofing for additional information on how to keep the moisture out of your basement during the winter months.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Basement Moisture

    You can air out the basement by opening windows and running fans to circulate the air. You can also try turning up the heat in the basement, as warmer air will prevent moisture from condensing on cool surfaces. Another solution is to use a dehumidifier in your basement.

    The damp "feeling" is caused by cool, humid conditions that naturally occur in basements. Typically, there is not as much airflow in the basement. ... This water will cause a higher humidity in the basement. In some cases, simply adding clean fill dirt against the foundation can create the desired positive slope.

    Moisture problems in existing basements are very common but often are not understood or properly treated. However, this may not present a great problem in a seldom-used basement and separate from the living spaces above.

    Concrete's porous nature means that water from under your home can seep up through your concrete floor, making it damp. ... Basements and garages - the standard rooms with concrete floors - also suffer from poor air circulation, giving the moisture nowhere to go once it seeps through the floor.

    DO apply a masonry waterproofing product to bare interior basement walls. If your foil test showed that water is soaking through your basement walls and leaving them wet, seal the interior of the walls with high-quality waterproof paint, such as DRYLOK White Extreme Waterproofer.

    Related Posts

    Scroll to Top