Your basement is more than an empty extension of your home. When dry and clean, your basement can become an extra storage place for your family's heirlooms, a fun playroom for your children, or even a safe place to do your laundry or store your gas furnace. But if your basement is always musty and damp, it can quickly become one of the most hazardous places in your home. Learn why and how you can turn your musty, damp basement into the most useful part of your house below.
What Can a Damp Basement Do to Your Home?
Many sources or things can make your basement damp and unusable and cause problems such as capillary suction and air leakage. Capillary suction occurs when large amounts of groundwater seep through the concrete structures of your basement, including the slab and footings. Concrete contains tiny capillaries, or holes, that allow water to pass through it instead of over or around it. If concrete stays wet over a significant amount of time, it weakens or becomes brittle and prone to damage.
Air leakage can also occur throughout the year. Moist air, in particular, can infiltrate your basement and make it feel hot, humid, and stale. Small or subtle leaks can develop in the slab or flooring just above the soil. Unless you dry out the soil or seal up the leaks in your basement's slab, the room will remain damp and unsafe to use.
Your basement could become a breeding ground for mold to grow. The prolific fungi can grow inside your basement's air ducts, storage boxes, and water pipes. The fungi can also travel upstairs and damage the organic items in your home, including the insulation lining the inside of your attic and walls. Mold of any type can be harmful to children and family pets of all ages and breeds.
There's only one way to make your musty, damp basement a safe and worthy place to reside. You can waterproof it.
How Do You Turn Your Basement Into Something Better?
When you waterproof your basement, you remove every source of moisture from it. Waterproofing also allows you to fix, repair, or seal anything in and around your basement that could potentially make it wet in the first place. But in order to waterproof your basement the correct and most effective way, you need to enlist a waterproofing contractor's help.
A waterproofing contractor may do some or all of the things listed below:
- Inspect the basement's foundation for signs of air and water leaks
- Examine or measure the groundwater level around your basement
- Troubleshoot your waterlines and pipes
- Look over the sump pump or equipment inside the basement's floor
A contractor may also run an inspection on the overall condition of your basement. Concrete can lose its protective water-repellent or sealant over time, which makes it more prone to soaking up water. If you didn't seal the concrete in your basement in the past, it may be even more susceptible to cracking, crumbling, and other types of physical damage.
After a specialist completes the steps above, they may go ahead and recommend different ways to waterproof your basement. The methods used to secure damp basements may include replacing the damaged concrete in your slab, walls, or footings. You may also need to place channels or pipes around the base of your house to keep groundwater from invading the basement.
A contractor may also dry the basement with equipment, then seal it with thick plastic barriers. The barriers cut off or block moist air and water from entering the room. A contractor can discuss their waterproofing methods with you after they inspect your basement.
You can turn your damp and smelly basement into something better by contacting a waterproofing company like Safe-Way Waterproofing for more details today.