How to Spot Basement Water Damage
You may have noticed a damp, stale odor in your basement—but you figured it was just “normal.” After all, basements are moist and musty, right?
No. It’s not normal for your basement to feel and smell like a rainforest.
Left unchecked, a wet basement can cause a lot of problems. Some of the risks include:
- Structural & interior damage. Prolonged moisture exposure damages wood beams, drywall, flooring and furnishings. Saturated soil puts pressure on basement foundations and concrete walls, too—leading to cracks and bowing.
- Mold growth. Many of the homes we visit have major mold problems. As mold spores spread throughout your basement or crawlspace, they may also end up in your ductwork and air vents. Mold can make you sick, so it’s important to leave mold removal to the professionals.
- Poor indoor air quality. Leaky basements pollute your home’s indoor air. Many of our NJ customers live with contaminated air that starts in the basement. If you have allergies, asthma or respiratory conditions, a dry basement is your friend.
Signs of a Wet Basement
Aside from the musty smell, damp basements have many other symptoms. Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, the following indicators can help you diagnose basement leaks or water infiltration.
Water Stains, Texture Changes & Efflorescence
In a finished basement, you may notice yellowed water stains or discoloration on ceilings or drywall. Peeling paint, damaged wallpaper and surface texture changes also point to water problems. If your basement is unfinished, you might see white, chalky stains along floors and foundation walls. Called “efflorescence,” this white material is crystallized salt left behind after water evaporates.
Water that pools on the floor or drips down walls may indicate an advanced basement water problem. Some customers report accelerated mold growth, pungent smells and increased insect activity when this occurs. Water seepage often accompanies buckled or bowed foundation floors and walls. Don’t delay contacting a basement waterproofing contractor if there’s water seepage in your basement or crawl space.
Cracks & Crevices
Basement walls and floors are under constant pressure from your home, the water table and the expansion/contraction of soil around your foundation. Over time, hairline or larger cracks develop, which leaves basements vulnerable to water infiltration. Quickly repair cracks larger than 1/16” wide to prevent more water seepage. Every time you inspect your basement, look for cracks of any size, as well as bumps or buckles in the floor. Floor bowing and buckling may indicate a slab leak.
Slab leaks and joint leaks can saturate concrete floors over time, which leads to damaged subfloors and finished flooring. Signs of floor moisture include damp carpets, warped laminate or wood floors, and a “spongy” feeling when you walk.
Wood Decay & Dry Rot
When moisture comes through basement walls or floors, dry rot develops along baseboards, floor joists, walls and stairs. The dry rot fungus, Serpula lacrymans, thrives in damp, dark environments. Also known as “building cancer,” dry rot may exacerbate asthma and other health conditions for some individuals.
The rust that’s starting to eat through your structural beams, HVAC equipment or bathroom fixtures could be caused by damp basement conditions. Red, brown or orange rust also impacts the value of your home since it’s an eyesore and potential water seepage symptom.
Waterproofing & Foundation Crack Repair From Blue Umbrella
Once you’ve identified basement water damage, start with a call to Blue Umbrella! From slab leaks and foundation cracks to a rising water table, water problems can do significant damage in a short time. To keep your basement safe from the elements, choose basement waterproofing services from our experienced team. Specializing in foundation crack repair, interior French drain installation and full basement waterproofing systems, we back every system with a comprehensive lifetime warranty.
Let our Union County waterproofers inspect your home for signs of a wet basement and provide you with upfront estimates… minus the fine print. Before you pay a dime, we’ll discuss your options and come up with a waterproofing strategy that suits your budget, improves indoor air quality and safeguards home value. At Blue Umbrella, we’ve got you covered! Dial 908.432.8858 to speak with owner Steve Karlik—or connect online today!
Latest posts by Steve Karlik (see all)
- Take the Extra Step: Install a Whole-House Dehumidifier - August 8, 2019
- Making Sense of Efflorescence - July 29, 2019
- Is Your Wet Basement Harboring Mold? - July 24, 2019