A finished basement is a desirable addition to any home because it adds space for both storage and living, but when a basement is damp, it can become a major problem. Not only does a damp basement create a musty smell throughout a home, but it can also create problems with mold. Professionals can waterproof a basement, but this type of service can be quite expensive. In many cases, the homeowner can reduce dampness and correct the problem in a number of easy ways.
1. Repair Settlement Cracks
Homes will settle, and cracks can develop, even in newly poured concrete. If a settlement crack has developed, moisture can seep when it rains or when snow begins to melt.
If the cracks are caused by settlement, they are easy to repair without the professional help. All that is required is a cold chisel, a mallet, patching cement, and a putty knife. Begin by beveling the crack and slightly widening it with a cold chisel, and a mallet.
Once the crack has been prepared, apply ready-mixed patching cement or expanding sealant according to product label instructions. As it dries, push it into the crack using the blade of the putty knife. Apply more to the surface. Use the putty knife to smooth the surface and create a clean repair. Once this easy repair dries, moisture should no longer be a problem.
2. Waterproof the Walls
One of the ways professionals solve water problems in basements is by first digging trenches around the basement walls, then covering the walls with waterproofing material to alleviate interior moisture.
If the moisture problem is minor, digging a trench around the foundation and waterproofing exterior walls might not be necessary. Visit your local home improvement store for waterproofing paint. Not only will the waterproof paint reduce moisture in the basement, but it will also seal away existing odors from basement walls.
3. Extend Downspouts to Reduce Seepage
One of the main sources of moisture in a basement is the roof of the home. When it rains, or when snow and ice melt, water runs off the roof and into eaves troughs and downspouts. If the eaves troughs leak, or if downspouts are not far enough away from the foundation of the home, moisture can find its way through the tiniest cracks and around basement window frames. Extend downspouts at least 6-feet from the home to divert the water and reduce the amount that reaches the foundation.
4. Naturally Reduce Moisture With a Rain Barrel
If one area of the home is causing the majority of moisture problems in the basement, consider installing a rain barrel instead of extending the downspout. A rain barrel is a great way to catch water from the roof that might otherwise end up in the basement. No special equipment is required.
Purchase a plastic trashcan with a tight-fitting lid, and cut the downspout at the proper level. Cut an area of the trashcan lid to accommodate the downspout. Cover the trashcan rain barrel to keep away insects and debris. The water collected can be siphoned and used for watering plants.
5. Reduce Condensation
Cracks in basement walls and insufficient water diversion are not the only sources of unwanted moisture below ground. Pipes can generate a considerable amount of condensation. This condensation can drip on floors and run down piping into walls where mold and mildew form. Wrap pipes with insulation foam. It is inexpensive and easy to install, and it will greatly reduce basement moisture.
6. Dryer Ventilation
A dryer must be sufficiently ventilated to avoid moisture problems. A dryer that is not properly vented will add moisture to the air; the moisture will settle on walls, ceilings, and floors. It will create serious moisture problems. Running a dryer that is not vented will immediately cause moisture problems and musty odors in a basement. It is crucial to be certain that your dryer properly vented to the outside.
7. Run a Dehumidifier to Reduce Moisture in the Air
Once the sources of moisture are controlled, the easiest way to reduce moisture in the air is with a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier can pull gallons of moisture from the air each day. It is the best way to reduce basement moisture. Purchase a high-quality dehumidifier and drain it into a basement drain. Automatic draining will save your back and keep the dehumidifier running as often as needed.