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The Dangers of a Prolonged Wet Basement

Friday, April 16th by Jennifer Bucci


Water stains on unfinished basement floor

Basement water damage, such as standing water, can lead to many other issues in your home and basement. Identifying these issues and fixing them in a timely manner can help save you time and money on repairs or replacement.

Ongoing water damage, such as standing water, water leaks, condensation, and more, can easily go unnoticed; especially if you don’t make many trips down to your basement or if there is a section that isn’t looked at often. Prolonged water issues in your basement are better addressed sooner rather than later since they can lead to negative long-term effects. In fact, the health of your family and your home depends on it. 

What causes a wet basement?

Cracked, damaged concrete basement walls

There are many factors that come into play when figuring out how water got into your basement. One way could be through cracks in your basement walls.

Your basement doesn’t have to flood in order for it to experience water issues. Water can enter your basement in small amounts too, such as through window frame gaps, and cracks around your walls, floor, and ceiling. 

How do these gaps and cracks form? There can be multiple reasons why.

The first thing to consider is that your basement is below-grade space, which already makes it more susceptible to moisture and humidity. Expansive soil, which shrinks and expands due to the changing water content in soil, surrounds your home. This soil makes it easier for water to enter through your foundation and basement. As water pressure builds up around your foundation and basement, dents, cracks, and gaps begin to form, allowing water to enter in.

Water isn’t the only substance that can enter through these small cracks; hot, humid air from outside can too. High basement humidity can cause just as many moisture issues as standing water can.

A basement without proper sealing and drainage systems can negatively affect the health of your home. 

Signs of a chronic wet basement problem

Rotting wood and peeling, damaged drywall in basement.

Make sure to check all areas of your basement for water damage. Some signs include rotting wood and damaged, moldy drywall.

Water damage in the basement can start with a single leak and become worse the longer it is neglected. Here’s a list of problems that can result from postponing action.

  • Mold & mildew stains - One of the first visual signs of water damage is mold and mildew stains. Mold usually starts off as a gray or even white color with a musty smell. When the problem becomes worse, this mold can become green or even black. The longer you wait to mitigate the issue, the worse the mold growth will be and the harder it will be to get out.

  • Rotting wood - Another visual sign of water damage is rotting wood. Wood around windows and door frames, floor joists, and ceilings can rot and deteriorate when exposed to moisture. If not taken care of immediately, this wood may need to be replaced altogether.

  • Peeling paint - Excess moisture in your basement can cause the paint on your walls to peel and flake off. Make sure to look over each basement wall for this common sign of water damage.

  • Damaged drywall - Drywall isn’t meant to get wet and when it does, it causes the material to soften, grow mold, and can eventually lead to other structural issues such as bowing walls. It's important to get these issues checked by a professional before they threaten the integrity of your home.

  • Damaged belongings and personal items - Storage bins, furniture, appliances, and other personal belongings can suffer from water damage if not taken care of properly. For sentimental items, the damage is irreversible, which is why it’s so important to make sure water isn’t an issue in your basement.

  • Efflorescence - This white, sometimes gray, chalk-like powder on your walls is caused by salt deposits left behind from water. Although easy to clean off your walls, efflorescence is a clear sign of water damage that should be looked at immediately.

  • Musty air - Water damage isn’t always visible. Musty, sticky air is another sign of moisture problems. This humid-filled air that lives in your basement can travel up to other areas of your home too if not taken care of properly.

For more insight on these tell-tale signs, check out our Signs of Basement Water Damage page.

Why should you seek immediate help?

A few minor leaks can be just as damaging as one big flood. In fact, it only takes one instance for water to create permanent damage in your home. These problems include:

  • Foundation and structural damage

  • Unhealthy indoor air

  • Foundation replacement

Calling a basement waterproofing expert for help

When it comes to keeping your home healthy, the well-being of your basement plays a big role. Prolonged water damage in your basement can lead to serious, costly repairs. The best way to ensure your basement stays dry is by installing a basement drainage system. Having a properly installed drainage system will keep away any water that tries to destroy your basement space. Contact your local Basement Systems installer today to learn more about our drainage systems and solutions to basement water damage.

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