Raleigh, NC, may not be famous for its precipitation levels – but it should be. If you live in the area, you know you’re as likely to see a rainstorm as you are a sunny day, especially in the wintertime.
While some residents enjoy the rain, no one enjoys finding standing water in their basement. Unfortunately, older homes tend to see water leaking into their basements with regularity. Even newer homes that haven’t been waterproofed may fall victim to frequent leaks.
Are your basement walls and floors damp? Don’t think you have to resign yourself to those conditions forever. In fact, choosing to leave your basement to its soggy fate can have negative effects on the value of your home, not to mention the health of your family.
What can you do, then, to drive the dampness out of your home? There are several different steps you can take, all of which will help you reclaim your space for yourself.
What to Look for In a Damp Basement
Most homeowners believe standing puddles or damp walls are the only real signs of a wet basement.
This, however, isn’t the case. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms to determine whether or not your home has fallen victim to unusually high levels of dampness:
- Cooler temperatures – Increased moisture in the air will reduce the temperature in your basement.
- Increased humidity – Likewise, as water evaporates in your home, the humidity will rise, making the air feel thicker and wetter.
- Curling paper or damaged materials – Are your stored belongings coming out of their boxes wet? Are the boxes themselves curling up at the edges? If so, you may have a leak on your hands.
- Fogged windows – If you have the heat on and notice the windows in your basement (usually gutter windows) are fogging up, you may have an unusual amount of moisture in the air. While this isn’t an immediate sign of a leak, you’ll still want to check and see if water is getting into your basement.
- Warping door frames – Wooden door frames respond poorly to the presence of excess water. If you go downstairs and notice your doors are sticking in their frames, or that your door frame looks bent out of shape, you likely have a large leak on your hands.
- Mold – Wet walls and floors are an ideal environment for basement mold. Even if your basement seems dry, keep an eye out for unusual growths. If mold has clustered in one particular part of your basement, you’ll know that area sees the most frequent leaks.
Fixing Wet Walls and Floors
There are two different paths you can take when looking to waterproof your home. You can either waterproof your home from the inside or waterproof it from the outside.
Interior waterproofing will let you use a variety of tools, including:
- French Drains: These drains, while a temporary solution, will pump the water out of your home, reducing the risk of long-term damage in your basement. You can pair these drains with a sump pump for long-term success. Whether you pair them or not, installation will typically take one to two days.
- Drainage Mats: Another temporary solution, drainage mats are tarps you can use to collect the water that would normally gather on your walls and floors.
- Sealants: Sealants are also temporary waterproofing solutions, lasting up to a year at a time, depending on the brand you’ve brought into your home. Seal the interior foundation of your home if you’re dealing with minor leaks or if you need a quick fix to a larger problem.
- Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers will help reduce the amount of humidity you see in your basement. Another temporary solution, dehumidifiers will primarily help basements that see wet walls by reducing the opportunity for water clusters to form.
You can also talk to a contractor about a dig-and-seal process, which involves the excavation of your home’s foundation. This is not a permanent fix to leaks, but it is an option worth considering if your basement floods frequently.
Note that waterproofing the exterior of your home is not a process you should take on alone. An experienced contractor will be able to get to the heart of your problem. With their help, you’ll be able to waterproof your home for up to ten years without worry.
The Benefit of an Immediate Fix
Don’t wait to have your basement leak fixed. By leaving standing water in your home, you put the value of your estate and your family’s health at risk. Standing water can:
- Compromise the security of your electrical circuits
- Damage your foundation by introducing cracks
- Damage your stored belongings
- Grow mold that negatively impacts the health of everyone in the home, but especially children
In short, don’t give up the fight against the Raleigh, NC, weather. Reach out to a professional contractor if your basement walls and floors are damp. They’ll be able to give you back your home ASAP.