Basement Waterproofing Problem Signs
Basement water problems are as old as the structures themselves. Water will leak into a basement through any opening it can, including your walls, floors, and the joints between them. Water can even pass through the concrete itself — which is one reason why basements are notoriously damp, humid spaces.
The most common way your basement floods is through your windows. Learn more about why your windows leak and how you can prevent this issue.
Small cracks can lead to large issues if they allow water to seep into your basement. Learn more about wall cracks and the solutions to protect your home.
Mold and dust mites in your basement can damage your home and your health. Learn more about preventing mold and solutions to controlling this problem.
Leaking cracks in your basement floor can cause serious issues. Learn how these cracks occur and the best solutions for repair.
Does your basement have a humid, musty odor every time you walk downstairs? Many homeowners may believe that it comes with the territory, but if your basement is experiencing leaks, excess moisture, musty odors, or wall cracks, it’s time to call in a waterproofing expert. Having a reliable waterproofing system in your basement can mean the difference between peace of mind, and costly repairs or even health problems.
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Basement Waterproofing Solutions
If you’re battling with structural or waterproofing issues, we have the regional expertise and permanent solutions for your basement. We’ve seen it all, and can do it all, so you can feel confident that you will receive a solution tailor-made for your unique home.
Our Interior French Drain systems effectively keep your basement dry without clogging.
Our cast-iron sump pump system with the power you need to keep your basement dry.
Prevent leaks and mold growth with our vapor barrier for your basement walls.
Our powerful and energy efficient dehumidifiers to keep your basement dry and healthy.
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Is Basement Waterproofing The Right Solution For Me?
Basement waterproofing is the process of installing multiple drainage and water-resistant protection solutions in your basement. That means that every waterproofed basement will look a little different based on that home’s needs. We’re proud to custom-tailor all of our solutions to best fit your situation.
Our suite of basement waterproofing solutions includes the highest quality vapor barriers, various interior and exterior drainage systems, and solutions to fight indoor humidity and poor air quality for homeowners in Grover, Lancaster County, Heath Springs, and the Greater Charlotte, NC, area.
- Wall Cracks
Check your basement walls for any cracks. Concrete is already a permeable material, but water passes through even easier if the material is cracked.
The soil of Charlotte, NC, is called Cecil soil, which contains a lot of clay eight inches below the surface. Clay soils are known for expanding when saturated with water and retaining it. This means that the soil that surrounds your foundation is almost always wet and filled with water. If the wall is cracked, then the groundwater will seep through.
- Foundation Cold Joints
If your wall doesn’t have any cracks, then the water will come from the most naturally vulnerable parts of the wall: the joints. When concrete begins to harden, any new concrete that is poured on it will not stick, leaving a gap between the new batch and the old batch.
When there is a delay between pouring the different sections of the foundation (the floor and the walls), the joints will naturally be the weakest parts because the different sections aren’t really “stuck together.” This is called a cold joint. Because of cold joints, any groundwater surrounding your foundation can seep in through the different wall joints or any wall-floor joint.
- Basement Window
Basement windows are usually right next to your yard’s soil; so, when it rains, if the soil is saturated with water, it will all leak through the window. You can usually tell the window is the culprit if the wall under the window is wet with moisture from the leaks.
Basement windows, especially those made of wood, tend to get warped over time with exposure to moisture. The wood gets bent out of shape, and gaps start to form along the frame, which only makes it easier for water to pass through.
- Pipes and Broken Machines
Your basement is home to the pipes that are part of the plumbing system. If any one of the pipes ever burst, then you’ll have a leaking problem on your hands. Too much water, and it turns into an all-out flood.
Humidity affects a basement in different ways, so there are multiple problem signs you can look for to determine if your basement has moisture issues. There are a lot of different variables that determine which problem signs will appear in your basement and how severe they are.
Sometimes, your basement will be humid, but the signs will be very subtle. This is why it’s important to contact a foundation expert for repairs. They’ll know exactly what to look for and where to find it, so a professional inspection is always recommended. Still, you’ll want to try and see the signs yourself, so make sure to make your rounds through the basement beforehand.
Condensation and Efflorescence
There are some obvious signs of moisture that you can spot in a humid basement. For example, you can sometimes find dew drops along certain surfaces. The warmer, humid air of the basement will meet with a colder surface, and the temperature difference will create the dew point, which is the exact temperature that is needed in order for the moisture to turn into water droplets. The droplets can usually be found on concrete walls or on pipes. During the winter, the droplets might be found on warmer surfaces, like the dryer or the water heater.
Another sign that points to there being too much moisture in your basement would be efflorescence. Efflorescence is a white stain that appears on concrete. It looks as if white paint was sprayed on the surface. Efflorescence occurs when the moisture in a structure solutes the salts in the concrete, rises to the surface, and takes the salts with it. The salts form on the surface of the concrete and that’s what stains it white. Efflorescence on concrete indicates that the concrete is exposed to a lot of moisture, be it due to leaks or because of seeping water vapor.
The easiest structural sign that you can detect if you have a humid basement would be wood rot. Wood rot has varying different stages depending on the kind it is. Some forms of rot release airborne spores, which are usually microscopic unless there is a collection of them on the surface of the wood. Some fungi will leave crack patterns along the surface that almost look like termite damage. Other times, the wood will look soft, warped, or shriveled.
Stains are also common in wood that has been affected by fungal growth. The stains can be colored green, gray, brown, black, white, and yellow. If you do see a decaying wooden joist or support post in your basement, then do not try to touch it, especially if there is a layer of spores along the surface. Contact a foundation specialist as soon as you can for a professional cleaning and structural repairs.
An interior drainage system is an essential part of foundation waterproofing, but it isn’t the only part. Other waterproofing solutions are needed if the basement is to be kept dry and healthy.
How an Interior Drainage System Helps
Interior drainage systems are able to prevent flooding, stop leaks, and decrease the humidity levels in the basement. Standing water creates humidity, so by draining it all out, is able to improve the air quality in the foundation. The condition of your basement affects the air quality in your living areas upstairs as well, which is great for your health and the health of your loved ones.
However, interior drainage systems are not able to fully get rid of the humidity in your home. They may drain out the water and prevent moisture from permeating through the walls, but drains can do nothing about the moisture that already exists in the air. Consistent moisture control is needed because of all the surrounding groundwater, and that’s not something a drainage system can do all on its own.
To control the humidity in your basement, you need a vapor barrier and a dehumidifier. A vapor barrier is a thick sheet made of polyethylene that is applied to the basement walls. The vapor barrier is impermeable, so any water vapor or moisture that attempts to get through the wall will not be able to do so. The vapor barrier guides the wall moisture so that it gets directed straight to the interior drainage pipe.
The dehumidifier, on the other hand, absorbs the moisture in the air. It gives you control over the humidity in your basement and allows you to adjust the humidity levels as needed. Ideally, you’ll want the humidity levels to be between 30 to 60 percent. The dehumidifier also can be connected to the sump pump for easy drainage.
A sump pump is a device that collects water that enters your foundation and then drains it out. It’s another form of foundation drainage that is commonly used in basements. If you have a sump pump or you’re planning on getting one, then you might be wondering if you even need a perimeter drain.
Why You Need Both
Both sump pumps and drainage pipes are needed to keep the basement dry. They may seem like they have similar functions, but they serve different purposes and do their own parts in waterproofing your basement. For example, a sump pump may not be able to do much against the moisture that leaks from the window down the wall, but it is able to handle the foundation flooding that comes after some heavy rain.
On the other hand, interior drains may not have the capacity to handle such heavy flooding, but they are able to drain groundwater from the surrounding foundation–something that is crucial if you want to prevent hydrostatic pressure. By having an interior drain that catches moisture from the walls, you also prevent minor leaks that the sump pump would otherwise not be able to catch.
How They Work Together
By having both drainage solutions in your basement, you actually have many advantages due to how these two systems work together. First, interior drains can be connected to the sump pump so that the collected water can be pumped out reliably. Hydraulically draining the water out is the best method when it comes to basements given how humid they are.
Because the interior drain can be connected to the sump pump, foundation experts don’t need to create a separate avenue to get rid of the water. By having a single exit point, things like maintenance and repairs are easier because everything is simplified. The installation also is less expensive because the interior drain can be connected to an existing discharge line.
BasementGutter™ is one of the most innovative basement drainage solutions on the market, so it’s no surprise if you are interested in installing it in your basement. However, you should know that it isn’t something you should try installing yourself.
Why You Shouldn’t Install It Yourself
DIY projects can be fun and satisfying, but when it comes to your foundation, leaving it to the professionals is best. When a foundation has been dealing with long-term moisture problems, it is already incredibly structurally weak. Trying to install a perimeter drain is risky when the foundation is in this state, and many things can go wrong when attempting it.
Knowing that your foundation needs extra care might make a DIY job a lot harder. Instead of worrying about whether or not you can do the job, you can entrust your foundation to your local experts. The professionals can do all the hard work.
Where to Get an Interior Drainage System
BasementGutter™ is only available through Dry Pro in Charlotte, NC. Our special, patented drain was specially designed to outperform many other interior drainage systems. We are specialized in foundation waterproofing, so you can count on us to get the job done quickly.
All of our solutions are permanent, so once the drain is in place, you won’t have to worry about it any longer. Because we care about your home, we’ll do all the hard work for you so you can sit back and relax knowing that your basement is in good hands
A sump pump is a necessary addition to any basement, especially in Charlotte, NC. Without one, your basement is at risk of flooding and foundation failure caused by water damage. Water in your basement causes problems long after the water is gone thanks to the leftover humidity from the flood.
High Energy Bills
Water in your basement can lead to high energy bills because of the stack effect. The stack effect refers to the way air circulates throughout your home. It all starts in the basement. Warm air is lighter than cool air, and the air in wet basements tends to be warm thanks to the humidity. The warm air rises to the rest of your house and changes the temperature. Your AC then has to work harder to keep things cool, especially during the summer, but doing that raises your energy bills.
A sump pump that is able to effectively drain water out of a foundation is one that can keep the air in the basement cooler. Having a sump pump can save you money in the long run, so it’s a great investment to make if you wish to live in a more energy-efficient home.
Mold and Structural Failure
Water in a basement promotes humidity, which in turn promotes mold growth. Mold is incredibly harmful, especially in your basement.
If there is mold, then there is most likely wood rot as well. When your wooden joists are infected with wood rot, the beam is broken down or softened up by the fungus. Unable to support your floorboards properly, the floor sags and bounces when you step on the affected spot. This and other structural failures can befall your home if you don’t have a proper drainage system.
Why Do I Need Basement Waterproofing?
Charlotte, NC, receives about 43.1 inches of rain annually, which is slightly above the national average of 38.1. All this rain can have a negative effect on your basement. Without the right protections, water can pool around your foundation and seep into the soil around your home, leaking into your basement and causing floods, puddling, excess humidity, and even mold.
Charlotte is overflowing with clay soil, which is excellent for gardening and farming, but not ideal for a basement. Clay is an expansive soil, meaning that when a heavy rain hits, it grows larger and bears hydrostatic pressure onto the foundation walls in your basement. This causes cracking, bowing, leaking, flooding, and in the worst-case scenario, structural failure.
When builders construct your foundation or basement, they excavate a large amount of soil to build the bare bones of your home. When it’s time to finish up, they refill the soil around your home and pack it in to the best of their ability. This still presents a problem, as no contractor crew will be able to fully compress the soil to the way it naturally was. This leaves air pockets in the soil, which provides a way for water to creep in easier and affect your foundation.
Tips & Mistakes for Basement Waterproofing
- Not Scheduling Annual Maintenance On Your Basement
Just like with every major function of your home, sump pumps and interior drainage systems need regular maintenance from a professional to ensure it’s still working. At Dry Pro, we aim to be a one-time solution for your home—part of that includes us checking in on our permanent solution to ensure it remains in the best shape throughout the years. Homeowners who neglect their drainage systems typically end up with problems down the road, that could be avoided with consistent checkups.
- Not Installing Backup Solutions For Your Basement
Having an interior drainage system in your basement is an extremely vital tool for home health, but as time passes and major weather events wreak havoc on your home, your sump pump could fail. In addition to setting up yearly inspections on your system, you’ll want to invest in backup systems for your sump pump, and exterior drainage system accessories. This can include a backup battery, a FreezeGuardTM, and more.
- DIYing Basement Waterproofing
While it may be tempting to DIY your own basement waterproofing solutions, we typically advise not to. Most at-home solutions targeted to the average homeowner are only bandages, and won’t address the route cause of your problems, and it won’t be long before you’re buying more cans of waterproofing paint or spackle to cover up the damage.
Since most basement issues stem from natural causes, the best solutions are typically comprehensive drainage systems and professional-grade waterproofing barriers. Structural experts are here to be your guide and stop your basement issues at the source, so you don’t have to stress about how to fix the problem on your own.
- Keep Your Gutters In Mind
Gutters and downspouts, although physically far from the basement, play a huge role in its fate. If your gutters and downspouts are malfunctioning, broken, leaking, or improperly placed, water will pool around your foundation and seep into your basement. Gutters and downspouts, when working correctly, actively prevent this by carrying rainwater safely away from your foundation. Keeping an eye on this vital part of your home can save your basement in the long run.
- Pay Attention to The Little Things
Big problem signs like wall cracks, puddles, and flooding can be an easy indicator that you’ve got basement issues. But your home warns you about your leaking basement in covert ways as well. Basement leaks or excess moisture in the basement can cause mold, undetectable musty smells, and even higher energy bills. If you’re noticing these symptoms but can’t attribute them to any other source in your home, it may be wise for you to set up a free inspection to rule out basement issues.
- Waterproof Your Basement Before Finishing it For Causal Use
Before finishing your basement with drywall, carpeting, furniture, and valuables, you’ll want to waterproof your basement. Doing this ensures that if you ever experience a flood or structural issue, you won’t experience damage to your interior design investments. Basement waterproofing is a safety blanket not only for your beautiful finished basement but for those inhabiting it as well.
Find your service area
Charlotte, located in the Southern Piedmont region, is known for its lovely terrain. As wonderful as it is, clay soils can cause major structural issues.
Hickory’s wet weather combined with its clay soils cause structural issues for many homes. Dry Pro can offer solutions to fix even the most severe problems.