Moist Basements – Troubles and Prone Environments

Friday, February 28th, 2020


As long as you have a damp basement, you can expect problems to arise. Some of the issues may seem small and less troublesome, but over time, they can get out of hand. So it’s important to inspect your basement for moisture signs and fix them accordingly.

In this post, we’ll highlight normal basement problems and serious problems emanating from moisture build-up, then finish off by looking at what environments in Winston-Salem, NC, can lead to a damp basement.

water in the basement

Normal basement troubles

We’d like to refer to these as “fix me now” issues, as you’re likely to feel their impact the moment they occur. These include:

  • External air: Hot, moist air from the outside that gets into the basement via cracks, openings, and porous material. When this air gets into the basement, it will diffuse into the living space causing condensation. Floors and walls may feel cold and damp. Sealing cracks and installing a dehumidifier can help control air from the outside.
  • Sitting water: Clogged gutters and downspout pipes may channel rainwater to the basement. The same goes for floodwaters.
  • Plumbing leaks: Sometimes, water pipes get faulty and start leaking water into the basement. This water can cause dampness and wood rot.
  • Radon gases: This gas originates from the basement soil and seeps through cracks in your foundation walls. Since it mixes with water, it’s likely to sit for months with any stagnant water in the basement.

Serious moist basement Issues

Ignoring the above issues means they could mutate into serious problems over time. And these could be costly to fix. Notable issues include:

  • Poor indoor air quality: Over time, mold spores will enter your home, pests will leave droppings and urinate. Add to this the stench from dead pests and you will have a smelly home. All these will reduce the quality of the air you breathe indoors.
  • High energy bills: Variation between the temperature in the basement and the living space means you will have to run your heater or air conditioner for many hours to attain the desired internal temperature.
  • Pests and insects: Damp and dark basements also attract pests and insects such as mice, termites, and roaches. Termites will chew your moist support beams while mice invade your locked wood cabinets as they scrounge for food. Rats will also continue the destructive work and worse, introduce fleas to your home.
  • Mold growth: Moisture build-up in the basement may encourage black mold, a toxic fungus that can pollute the air in your home, causing asthma, itchy eyes, headaches, runny nose, and sinus infections.
  • Wood rot: Typical of a moist basement, mold will attach itself to your wooden joists and beams and start eating them, causing them to decay. Within four weeks, they will have lost their strength.

Other than these issues, you’re also likely to experience electricity leaks and preventable house fires because of disintegrating insulation materials and radon gas exposure, which can cause lung cancer.

What Homes are Susceptible to Basement Moisture?

Basement dampness in your home can be tied to a number of things. A timely inspection can reveal what you’re up against. Homes that are likely to experience dampness include:

Home with structural cracks

Cracks in the foundation make it easy for rainwater to seep through into your basement, causing moisture build-up and internal flooding. Soil movements and hydrostatic pressure are the main culprits.

Homes with poor drain tiles or clogged drains

If your home lacks proper surface drainage, it’s going to be susceptible to basement flooding. The same holds true of homes with clogged drains, as they reduce the rate at which water goes out of your basement.

Homes in floodplains

As long as your home is located in an area that’s prone to flooding, you can expect surface water to enter the basement of your home. Flooding is likely to be a problem if you don’t have external drainage or if there are cracks in the foundation.

Homes with poor grading

In such homes, water will almost always seep through to the basement after collecting near the foundation walls after a downpour. The problem may become pronounced where there is no backfilling.

Homes with faulty gutters and pipes

Water is going to pour on the walls and seep through to the basement via cracks in the foundation walls, causing the basement to get damp.

Are you concerned about what damage a damp or moist basement could do to your Winston-Salem, NC, home? Schedule a free basement inspection today and get practical solutions to deal with your moisture issues once and for all!