Water Damage Concerns
Basements are typically the area of a structure most at risk for water damage because they are located below grade and surrounded by soil. Soil releases water it has absorbed during rain or when snow melts, and the water can end up in the basement through leaks or cracks. Water can even migrate through solid concrete walls via capillary action, which is a phenomenon whereby liquid spontaneously rises in a narrow space, such as a thin tube, or via porous materials. Wet basements can cause problems that include peeling paint, toxic mold contamination ,building rot, foundation collapse, and termite damage. Even interior air quality can be affected if naturally occurring gasses released by the soil are being transmitted into the basement.
Properly waterproofing a basement will lessen the risk of damage caused by moisture or water. Homeowners will want to be aware of what they can do to keep their basements dry and safe from damage.
Prevent water entry by diverting it away from the foundation.
Preventing water from entering the basement by ensuring it is diverted away from the foundation is of primary concern. Poor roof drainage and surface runoff due to gutter defects and improper site grading may be the most common causes of wet basements. Addressing these issues will go along way toward ensuring that water does not penetrate the basement.
Here are some measures to divert water away from the foundation:
Install and maintain gutters and downspouts so that they direct rainwater and snow melt far enough away from the foundation of the building to ensure that pooling does not occur near the walls of the structure. At least 10 feet from the building is best, and at the point where water leaves the downspout, it should be able to flow freely away from the foundation instead of back toward it, and should not be collecting in pools.
The finish grade should be sloped away from the building for 10 to 15feet. Low spots that may lead to water pooling should be evened out to prevent the possibility of standing water near the foundation.
. Have a certified home inspector or contractor inspect for evidence of moisture areas. If there are cracks or holes in the foundation, some other steps will need to be taken to repair them and resolve moisture seepage issues.