Water damage in your basement can quickly become an extremely serious issue depending on the quantity of water and nature of the damage. As such, it’s a smart choice to look out for the warning signs before things get worse. Spotting a water problem early can prevent serious damage to your home. If you ignore the signs, you could end up with a flooded basement.
Waterproofing your basement helps to maintain the integrity of your home’s structure, so it’s a top priority for any homeowners who want to save on costly repair bills in the future. Addressing the problem early can make the difference between fixing it on your own or bringing in the professionals. Below are six sure-fire signs that your basement is in need of waterproofing.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether you have a water problem in your basement is to note the smell in the air when you enter the room. Musty odor is a common sign that is used to identify damp in the house, whether it’s in the walls, ceiling, or roof. It’s no different for the basement, so the minute you notice a hint of mustiness, it’s time to look for waterproofing solutions.
Water markings can occur in any area where there is excess water getting through: it’s not strictly limited to basements. Markings will usually appear on the walls; or occasionally on the ceiling. They are pale brown or yellowish in color, and are more likely to occur on the lower parts of the wall. If you’re checking out your basement for signs of water damage, a good place to start to look for water markings is to examine the wall areas that appear immediately above the baseboards.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew are signs that show damp occurring anywhere in the house. The reason mold and mildew are strong indicators of dampness is because they require moisture to grow. They cannot thrive in dry areas, so as soon as you spot either of these you know there is a water issue.
If the walls of your basement look like they’re flaking, this could be cause for concern. Flaking is sometimes also known as spalling: this is when the concrete starts to look scaly or has large chips in it. If you touch it, it can almost seem to crumble away from the surrounding concrete. Flaking or spalling is caused by a chemical reaction occurring in the concrete, and can be detrimental to the structural integrity of the foundations if not addressed early.
Salt Deposits or Efflorescence
More often than not, water isn’t entirely pure in the sense that it usually contains other substances (fluoride in drinking water, anyone?). Elements and compounds in nature have different properties, so it’s safe to assume they evaporate at different temperatures. The other substances that often go hand in hand with water don’t evaporate as readily, so the water technically leaves them behind.
The result of this is salt deposits or a fancy scientific term known as ‘efflorescence.’ It basically means substances which have crystallized after being separated from the water. If you detect any salt deposits or white powdery substances occurring in your basement, whether it’s on the walls, ceiling, or floor, this is a sure sign that there is water leaking into your basement.
Even if there is no sign of water, anything that resembles a salt-like substance is nature’s way of telling you it’s time to waterproof your basement.
Humidity is when the air feels hot, heavy, and damp. You know how when you go on holiday and the air is so heavy that your clothes stick to you? That’s humidity. If, upon entering your basement, you get even a hint of the overpowering heaving of humid air, you should be aware that there is excess moisture which needs to be addressed by waterproofing.
Better Safe Than Sorry
If you can identify any of the signs above in your own basement, it’s recommended to address the problem early. Some of the signs may appear to be quite mild: for example, we don’t panic when we spot a small patch of mold or mildew on a wall in our home, we simply do a patch-job of fixing it. Moreover, humid air can be caused by poor ventilation, particularly if your basement acts as your laundry room, so it may appear not to be cause for alarm.
However, any of the above signs highlight the need to at least conduct a thorough check. If there are two or more of the above signs apparent in your own basement, you should consider hiring a professional immediately to thoroughly waterproof your home before the problem becomes more serious.