Wet Basements and the Roots of the Problem

October 8th, 2019

There are many causes of a wet basement. Regular checking for dampness or signs of wetness or musty smells can help you to identify and fix a problem before it worsens.

There are multiple ways that water can make its way into your home to create a wet basement in places to the north like Barrie, Coldwater or places to the west like Bolton and Shelburne or to the south in places like Holland Landing. Groundwater can seep through floors and foundations due to heavy rain or the problem could be constant water seepage. Gutters can overflow because of excessive rainfall, from clogging with leaves or debris, or due to improper installation. For example, the second-floor gutters might drain into the first-floor gutters. Gutters can also overflow if they’re frozen then suddenly thaw. There might not be a sufficient number of gutters. Sometimes homeowners install them in one or two locations, but not all the way around the house. Problems can be caused by disconnected downspouts, or by downspouts that aren’t long enough to direct water away from the house.

Improper landscaping or grading can cause water to flow toward the house instead of away from it. And if sprinklers are aimed toward the house, too much water can accumulate at the foot of the foundation and leak through. Pipes will often form condensation and drip in high humidity areas, especially from air conditioner units without a release valve. It can provide a direct channel for water from the roof to seep into the house if the interior walls of the home lead directly from the attic to the basement. All these actions can lead to possible wet basements.

Common signs of water damage can be a moist or musty odour in the basement which may be a sign of hidden water and potentially the growth of unhealthy mould. Mildew and mould grow when wet places do not dry out properly.

To prevent wet basement problems, it’s important to keep an eye out for water stains along the walls or floor. This could be caused by something simple, such as an overflowing laundry tub, or it could be a result of wetness seeping in through basement windows, the walls, or the floor.

As unusual as it may sound, give the basement the sniff test. Excess moisture can cause an unmistakable musty or damp smell. Look for mould. It might be black, brown, yellow, or green. You won’t know for certain if it’s mould until you have it tested. Also know that there should be other signs in addition to the mould, such as dampness or water stains. The bottom line: check your basements regularly.


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