Walking into a humid, musty, hot basement in Raleigh, NC, is probably the last thing you’d like to experience. But you’re likely to experience such an environment if you fail to deal with your wet basement. High moisture levels will make the indoors uncomfortable and encourage secondary problems including mold, warping floors, and peeling wall paint. All these will reduce the value of your home and make the basement a potential no-go zone.
Since the basement has the propensity to get wet or damp, you should always take proactive measures to keep it dry. We’ll show you effective basement waterproofing measures that’ll help you tame water in the basement.
Why Is My Basement Wet?
A number of things can raise the moisture levels in your basement, including:
- Water that gets into the foundation soil and stagnates
- Air leaks that carry moisture-laden air
- Saturated soils that allow water to diffuse through porous basement walls
- Leaky basement dryer or washing machine vents
Basement Moisture Signs
Keep an eye out for signs such as condensation on the drywall, pungent smells, wood rot, peeling wall paint, and dampness on your floor and walls. Mold spots and stains may also appear. Buy a hygrometer and use it to measure the moisture levels. Moisture can hover around the basement for days. Take action if the humidity level is higher than 60%.
Ways to Keep the Basement Dry in Summer
The next step is to resolve the issues that instigate basement moisture or water. Here are the most effective solutions.
1. Grade your yard
How your yard slopes has a bearing on water flow. You want to make sure the ground around your home slopes away from your home, not into it. Otherwise, water will flow back and get into your basement through foundation cracks or crevices.
2. Fix Gutters and Downspouts
Summer isn’t always wet in Raleigh, NC, but there are days when clouds will gather and release rain over your home. This happens due to evaporation, a phenomenon where the soil and water bodies give up their moisture. When this warmth rises, it starts getting cold and heavy, eventually giving up its moisture, which falls as rain. The rainwater will hit the roof, then flow to the gutters and downspouts. If these systems are damaged or loose, water will flow through the sides and collect around the perimeter of your home. You can avoid this by cleaning and tightening your gutters, as well as angling down the downspouts or even placing them in the ground.
3. Waterproof your basement
The next thing you should do is waterproof the basement. Heavy spring rains can cause surface runoff and soil saturation. Aside from creating an exterior drainage system, we encourage you to take care of the internal drainage as well. You can combine an interior drainage system like BasementGutter™ and a sump pump to collect water and remove it from your basement.
4. Dehumidify the basement
Summer months are typically hot and humid. Moisture can build up in your basement and make it humid. Excess moisture can also instigate wood rot, warping, and mold growth among other issues. This is where a dehumidifier will come to the rescue. It will remove all the moisture vapor from the air and bring down the humidity levels in your home. Ask your local contractor to help you with the sizing. A self-draining dehumidifier can remove the hassle of emptying buckets every day. If you can get one with an air filter, you will also be able to clean out the air at the same time.
5. Close all basement windows
You probably haven’t given this much thought, but the moment you open your basement windows or door, you’re letting in more moisture. This will raise the humidity levels and cause problems. And it’s a step backward in your efforts to keep the basement dry, so close your windows.
6. Insulate your basement
When the weather starts warming up, cover the basement walls with a water vapor barrier to prevent air exchange between the inside and outside of the basement. Install rigid board against the concrete or drywall. An impervious insulation like closed-cell polyurethane foam can also keep the inside air from coming into contact with the cold surfaces.
We strongly advise you to avoid water-based paints or oil paints. These will form films and eventually peel off. Remember to insulate your cold water pipes as they tend to sweat in summer, and this can worsen an already damp basement.
If you need an expert to assess your basement or offer you the best recommendations, get in touch with Tar Heel Basement Systems. We’ll provide you with a free basement waterproofing inspection and quote, and help keep the basement interior dry and mold-free all year round.