When you go down to the basement or make a sporadic visit to the crawl space, does it feel humid? Are the walls damp or the floor very cool? There may be issues with a damp or wet basement or crawl space. It may seem unimportant, but issues like this can cause major damage to your home that could end up costing you big bucks.
There are a few sources of basement water, and these can be from the surface, from surface water saturating the ground, or from flooding. Flooding is the most obvious way that water gets into the basement or crawl space, and you would be aware immediately if this was happening in your home. However, surface and groundwater can be trickier to spot if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
A few sure-fire ways to spot surface water are to look to see if your gutters are overflowing, find out if your downspout it far enough away from your foundation, look to see if water is running down the side of the home into the foundation, and look to see if there is water pooling beside the home because of poor grading. In any of these cases, the issue can easily be resolved to redirect the water away from the home.
The water has nowhere to go but down, and seeps into the foundation, finding its way in through basement windows or crawl space vents and getting into your home. It can be all right a few times, but after awhile with no solving of the issue the water can begin to damage the foundation or crawl space. Additionally, all of that moisture, dampness, and humidity can cause mold in the basement. Mold is a health and safety risk to you and your family. Asthma symptoms increase and breathing can become difficult, plus certain types of black mold can even be fatal. Don’t run the risk, get your foundation checked out now!
When the ground becomes saturated with water and the soil is not properly compacted, the water can enter the soil and saturate it completely. Over hundreds of thousands of years, soil is heavily and solidly compacted which makes it hard to penetrate and makes it so it can easily hold the weight of a foundation without causing the foundation to settle over time. It also keeps out water. However, when a foundation is dug out, there is extra space left around it so that workers can put everything together. After work is complete, the soil around the foundation is back-filled. If that soil is not compacted properly, it will easily become saturated with water and become denser. The denser soil then pushes against the foundation in unexpected ways, which is called hydrostatic pressure. Pressure like this can cause cracks and eventually bowing or leaning walls. Additionally, cracks are a great entry point for water and your crawl space or basement with this problem will likely have water damage as well–which leads to mold.
The most obvious way that a basement or crawl space can be damp is after flooding. Flooding may cause inches to feet of damage, but after clean up, the basement or crawl space can feel damp and humid. You can try to remedy this with dehumidifiers changed a few times a day, but the water is likely deep in your foundation walls, ceiling, paneling, etc. In this case, there will need to be mold remediation because this will be the end result of flooding even with your best clean up efforts. Usually flooding also brings smells and wet or damp walls. This is indicative of foundation trouble, and could be the symptom that leads us to find cracks, bowing walls, or problems with unsealed windows and cracks in seams.
How do you keep a basement or crawl space from leaking or flooding? How to get the walls to stop being damp? Is it all in the humidifier and the gutter downspout? Probably not. While it can be a good idea to try these things first and to incorporate them in your overall waterproofing and clean up plan, it’s not wise to rely on them if you’re having continuous damp or wet basement or crawl space issues.
First, the foundation repair issue needs to be addressed. Whether this is bowing walls, cracks in the foundation, or some other issue, this will be resolved first to assure that any other minor fixes will last and not be reopened by a continuing foundation issue. The foundation repair solution will vary by the problem that is being experiencing. If the problem is bowing walls, this will be wall anchors, push piers, or helical piers. Each of these systems is slightly different and will be utilized depending on your specific issue, but generally they are a steel pier that is driven deep into the stable, untouched ground and then attached to a plate on the foundation. The weight of the foundation is then transferred to the pier(s) and the wall or settlement is gradually straightened.
After this is completed, work on crack repair and other small repairs can begin. If there is water damage, mold remediation will be completed first, then foundation repair, and then possibly a crawl space or basement encapsulation system that will keep water out and your basement clean and dry. We will work with you to create a waterproofing system and correct foundation damage so that the problem does not return. We want you to be able to utilize your basement or crawl space without feeling like you’re sitting in the tropics with a damp or wet basement or crawl space.
If you’re having issues with a damp or wet basement or crawl space, it’s time to call Custom Concrete & Foundation Specialists today. We can get your basement or crawl space back on track to a wonderful space to enjoy. Give us a call today and get started.