5 Signs of a Wet Basement
  • Posted on March 19, 2019
  • By Dave Mauldin

Whether you’re looking to buy a home or thinking about your own basement, a wet basement is never a good thing. Without great basement waterproofing, moisture can ruin floors and walls, spread mold throughout your house, and create recurring problems every time it rains or snows. The last thing you want is to start buying stock in sump pumps because you use them so often.

Sometimes, though, it can be more difficult to tell if you have a wet basement problem. If you’re not sure if you have a wet basement or not, look for these five symptoms.


Water Stains

This one is a little obvious. The next time you wander down into your basement, take a close look at the walls. If you see water stains, it’s a sure sign you need basement waterproofing.

Iron seeps into your walls along with moisture, creating water stains that can look rusty. As the water evaporates, an orange color may be the only thing that remains. If you live in an area with a high amount of iron in your soil, you’re much more likely to have orange basement stains. Unfortunately, these types of stains are very hard to clean. Even after you invest in basement waterproofing, you could still be stuck with rust stains on your basement walls. Talk to your Mission Home Services contractor to discuss what can be done about iron stains.

Dark splashes on your walls or floor could feel damp or moist and are often left behind after water leaks in through your foundation. Keep an eye out for any signs of moisture—and not just on the floor. Check any cracks on the walls of your basement (and think about getting those repaired).


Stale Smelling Air

The next time you walk down into your basement, take a deep breath. How does it smell? If your basement smells musty, stale, or like a rotting log, it could be a sign you need basement waterproofing. Of course, very few basements are going to smell like sunshine and roses. The smell of your basement also depends on how finished it is. A finished basement is more likely to have appropriate basement waterproofing, carpets, and windows, resulting in better smells versus an unfinished basement with a dirt floor and bare walls.

Pay attention to what your basement smells like when you’re sure you don’t have a water leakage issue. If you notice any changes in the smell or quality of the air, inspect the walls and floors for water stains or mold.


Is that Mold?

Mold can cause numerous health issues. The presence of mold can lead to respiratory issues, worsening asthma, and decreased air quality. Mold and mildew can appear in a variety of colors, include black, grey, white and green. If you think you see mold in your basement, you should have it tested to determine what type of mold you’re dealing with. Depending on the type of mold, safety procedures during the removal process could vary.

If one corner of your basement tends to be more moist than others, check that area first. Mold likes to grow in dark moist areas, making a wet basement perfect for mold growth. It grows best in warm temperatures, so if you’re in the middle of a hot season with rain, then you have great conditions for mold growth. When removing mold, it’s best to work with an expert. Even if you don’t see mold actively growing, it can lie dormant and regrow when conditions are right. A mold expert can help you remove it completely.


A Sparkling Basement

In this case, we don’t mean sparkling clean. Efflorescence is a white-gray stain on your basement walls that can have a slight sparkle to it. Typically, it’s made up of salt deposits left behind after water has evaporated. The stains can even look like grayish ash left behind on your floor or walls.

The appearance of efflorescence can vary greatly depending on the humidity levels, rainfall, and winter temperatures in your area. In dry climates, efflorescence could accumulate beneath the surface as the water evaporates very quickly. In other areas where water evaporates slowly, the efflorescence will be more obvious and could project from the surface.

Don’t confuse efflorescence with white mold. If pinched between the fingers, efflorescence will turn into a powder, whereas mold will not. Efflorescence will grow on inorganic surfaces whereas mold will not. Don’t be surprised if you spot efflorescence within the first few years of a building’s construction. Called a new “building bloom,” this is due to moisture locked within the masonry.


Flaking Concrete

Is your concrete flaking? Spalling happens when moisture gets into the concrete and causes the surface of the bricks to flake or crumble away. Spalling can ruin the integrity of the block and cause extensive damages. Don’t confuse spalling with flaking paint. While both can be signs of moisture, chipping paint is usually because paint was applied to basement walls instead of appropriate basement waterproofing products or protection.

Along with water or moisture, salt can get into your concrete walls where it is left behind after the water evaporates. As the salt expands, it ruins the integrity of your basement walls and can leave openings for more water leakage and more damage. If you’re dealing with spalling, you may need extensive repairs depending on how much damage has already been done to the walls. Appropriate basement waterproofing can protect your basement and prevent more damage from happening.



See Any Sign of a Wet Basement?

If you think moisture is creeping into your basement, take action now before any damage occurs. Our expert basement waterproofing specialists can identify the cause of the moisture and provide waterproofing solutions and mold removal to eliminate your problems. We have a wide variety of solutions from drainage systems to wall and floor crack repairs.

Ready to get your free quote? Give us a call today.

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