Wet floors in your home can be caused by a number of things, but wet basement floors should never be ignored.
Wet Floors in Your Home are a Warning Sign for the Health of Your Home
Finding water or damp spots in your home is always concerning because of the many possible sources. Finding the cause of standing water or wet spots is often the hardest part, but it is important that all potential causes are identified. After all, leaks and sources of dampness that are left unchecked are sure to cause problems for your home in the long run.
What Can Cause Wet Floors in Your Basement?
Finding dampness, puddles, or worse still, standing water in your basement, is incredibly worrying. This is partly because of the great damage dampness can do to your home, but also because of the huge variety of sources for dampness in a basement. Potential sources of water in your basement range from something as seemingly small as a leaking window well to something major like issues in your property’s foundation.
The first thing you need to figure out is whether the water is pooling on the floor or seeping up from underneath it. If the water seems to be coming from above the floor, the most likely causes are:
- External Flooding
If your home is flooded, either via an outdoor basement access or through the main levels of your home, this is a very simple and obvious reason for dampness in your basement. In this case, it is most important that you focus on ensuring your home is dried out properly and that no additional damage has been done.
- Interior Leaks
If there is no obvious cause for water pooling on your basement floor, you should check the walls for signs of dampness and mold. If they are interior walls, it is likely caused by leaks somewhere within the house.
- Cracks in Your Walls
If water seems to be pooling beside external walls without reason, you could have hairline cracks that are letting in water. This is pretty serious and warrants immediate attention.
- Leaking Windows or Vents
If water is pooling on your floor below basement windows, vents, or outdoor access points, then the most likely culprit is leaking window wells, doors frames, or improperly covered vents.
If the dampness is evenly spread across your basement floor, it could be condensation; you should check the humidity levels in your home. If, however, the dampness seems to be seeping up from under your basement floor, the most likely culprits are cracks in your basement floor.
This can be caused by a number of issues such as:
- Hydrostatic Pressure
Every home is subject to some kind of hydrostatic pressure, but heavy rain or underground water sources can dramatically increase the amount of pressure your home is under. Excess hydrostatic pressure can cause cracks in your basement walls and floor, allowing water into your home.
Settlement occurs when your home’s foundation receives uneven support, usually because of soil shrinkage or expansion. For example, soil may shrink and crack during droughts; your home’s foundation may crack and settle into deep depressions, thereby allowing water into your basement when the soil saturates once more.
- Poor Foundational Support
Finally, it could be that your home was improperly designed or built and that this has left it structurally unsound. While this is uncommon, it is not unheard of. In these cases, you will no doubt face recurring issues. As such, it is best to seek professional help and guidance from a Groundworks basement expert as early as possible.
What Problems Can A Leaking Basement Floor Cause?
It will no doubt be unsurprising to hear that a leaking basement floor is far from a desirable trait in any property. Nonetheless, there is a range of problems that can be caused by this kind of dampness. Some are minor, of course, but others are undeniably severe. These problems include but are not limited to the following.
- Mold and Mildew
The most obvious and common problem that homeowners with leaking basement floors and walls face is the formation of mold and mildew. This is not only unpleasant, but it can be damaging to your home and health. Mold has a habit of spreading throughout a home, and it can be incredibly damaging to your respiratory system, or even irritate and inflame the skin on contact.
- Pest Problems
Mold, mildew, and dampness all attract pests. Termites, cockroaches, mold mites, and even mice are all attracted to dark, damp environments like basements. Many of these pests can eat certain species of mold or other organic matter. These pests, in turn, can do damage to your home.
- Raised Humidity
Water seeping or leaking into your basement raises the humidity in your home, and this has a number of knock-on effects. First and foremost, it can make the environment in your home uncomfortable, but more than this, it can raise your electricity bills, too. You see, humid air is harder to condition than arid air, so your HVAC system will have to work harder.
- Severe Structural Problems
The most worrying problem that can arise when you have wet basement floors is damage to the structural integrity of your home. This is particularly unfortunate because dampness is often both a cause and a symptom of structural instability; the longer you leave it, the worse the damage is likely to get.
- Lowered Property Prices
Homes that have severe structural damage or mold and mildew problems, never mind pest infestations, have a lower value. So, as well as facing costly repairs for all this damage, you could also find that your overall property value is lower than it was before these issues arose.
How to Fix a Leaking Basement Floor
As with any major issue in a home, the most important question about a wet basement floor is how to fix it. This is, broadly speaking, a three-step process. All causes of dampness must be identified and eliminated before full repairs can be made. If this sounds simple, it really isn’t. There are a number of DIY fixes to be found on online forums, but they can’t all be trusted. The only plausible option for those seeking to do repairs entirely by themselves is concrete patching.
Patching up cracks with concrete is plausible, but not always effective as it relies on you having identified and fixed the source of the water. If you have not found the source of the water and cut it off, this equates to putting a bandage over a wound in need of surgical attention; whether it happens quickly or slowly, the problem will escalate.
Call A Local Expert Today
If you see water seeping up through or pooling on your basement floor, it is important that you contact professionals. It may be a simple pipe leak, but it could be so much worse. Not only will the Groundworks basement waterproofing experts identify and address the cause of the dampness, but they will also address any problems that have fed into or been caused by the dampness in your basement.