Moisture in basements

Moisture (humidity) in basements is a very common problem but it is not always treated in the right manner. Basements that are used as living or bedroom spaces, moisture problems can not only become annoying but pose a serious threat to one’s health.  That’s why it is of up-most importance to deal with any moisture problems before finishing a basement.

It is critical to understand where the water is coming from before trying to solve any humidity problems. There are basically three sources of moisture:

  • Water from rain or ground water
  • Humid air that enters the basement externally and condenses on cooler surfaces
  • Moisture from internal sources such as humidifiers, un-vented clothes dryer, bathrooms as well as moisture from concrete after construction


moistureSome symptoms of humidity

  • Water leaking out of walls
  • Standing water on floors
  • Damp, humid air
  • Odor, mold and mildew
  • Deterioration of carpet or wood
  • Dampness on concrete block walls


Typical causes of basement moisture (humidity) problems

Inadequate grading – If the ground around a foundation is level or slopes toward the house, this can cause water to be directed into the basement.

Defective or missing gutters and downspouts – Missing gutters and downspouts cause rainwater to be directed toward perimeter of the foundation.

Improperly designed window wellsWindow wells are like a drain right next to the basement wall. Often they are improperly built so that any water is directed toward, rather than away from the foundation.

Ineffective drain tile and sump pitThese systems sometimes do not work for a variety of reasons, such as broken drain tiles, clogging of the pipe with silt or debris, or a broken connection to the sump. The sump pit usually contains a pump designed to lift the water to the ground surface outside the foundation wall. This pump can fail.

Structural cracksConcrete and concrete block foundations usually develop some cracks. Also, soil settling may cause cracking.