If you notice leaks and damp spots on your walls, you could be looking at a real home repair nightmare. Here’s what you need to do.
Wet Walls are a Sign That Your Home Needs Professional Assessment
The basement is a common problem area for most homes. After all, as it sits below ground level, your basement is the most susceptible to flooding, dampness, and mold formation. As such, wet walls, or seeing wet patches on your basement walls, are a strong sign that you have underlying issues that need addressed. Unfortunately, there are many potential causes of wet walls within your basement and many potential issues that can arise as a result.
If you have tried installing a sump pump or dehumidifier into your basement to control the moisture levels, but your walls, floor, or ceiling remain wet, it is time to call in the cavalry.
Why Are My Basement Walls Leaking?
There are many potential causes of leaking or wet basement walls, which is why this problem is so worrying. However, there are some causes that arise more commonly than others. If your basement walls are leaky or wet, these are the most likely reason why.
- Cracks or Weaknesses in Your Walls
Cracks, weaknesses, or defects in your basement walls can let in all kinds of issues, from dampness to insects, and poured concrete walls are far more susceptible to issues than any other kind of wall. If your basement walls, foundations, and ceilings are made from poured concrete, they are more likely to crack as a result of shifting, tremors, and hydrostatic pressure. This will allow dampness into your basement more easily.
- Abnormal Flooding or Rainfall
Abnormally heavy rainfall or flooding in your area can cause more water than usual to seep through cracks and faults in your basement walls. However, it can also cause new cracks to form as a result of excessive hydrostatic pressure. In serious cases, these cracks could become large enough to let a stream of water into your basement.
- Proximity to an Underground Water Source
Unfortunately, most people do not know whether their home is close to an underground water source until a problem like this arises. If you live close to an underground water deposit, your home could be subject to higher levels of hydrostatic pressure than the average home in your area, and as such, it could be more susceptible to damage.
- Foundation Settlement After a Drought
A drought may seem like the last thing that could cause wet walls in your basement, but some kinds of soil will crack and shrink when they dry out. When this occurs, huge cracks can form in the soil, causing foundation settlement and the need for foundation repairs. When this happens, huge cracks can appear in your floors and walls, letting water in when the soil saturates with the next rain.
What Damage Can Wet Walls Really Cause?
You of course need to be concerned with wet wall damage and their causes, but they are the least of your worries. Having consistently wet basement walls can cause serious issues in your home and have an impact on your health. If you don’t address the leaks quickly, you could end up with more than one of these common problems.
- Mold and Mildew
Dampness is a key ingredient for the formation of mold and mildew. When you have consistently wet walls as a result of damage, many kinds of mold and mildew can form. This can cause structural damage to your home and even impact your respiratory health.
Increased humidity can cause mold, but it can also cause other issues. Humidity can spread into other parts of your home. It can take mold with it, cause wallpaper to peel, and make your living environment uncomfortable.
- Structural Failings
Poured concrete walls that are cracked will degrade further as dampness seeps in. This can cause walls to bow or crumble and undermine the structural integrity of your home.
- Insect Infestation
A warm, humid environment that has mold and mildew in it is perfect grounds for an insect infestation. Insects like cockroaches, termites, and mold mites can take root in a basement that has a damp and humid climate, especially if mold is forming.
- Raised Energy Bills
Humid air is much harder to condition than dry air, and as such, dampness in your basement can cause your energy bills to rise by up to 15%.
How to Fix Wet Walls in Your Basement
Because of the many potential causes of wet walls in your basement, and the many ways in which the problem could escalate, it is imperative that you address the issue as quickly as possible. More than this, it is important that you seek a professional opinion as quickly as possible. A Groundworks basement waterproofing professional is not only able to identify the causes of the problem but assess the extent of the damage and suggest viable options for repairing that damage.
If you are unable to get an appointment quickly, there are some things you can do to manage the situation until someone is able to properly assess your basement. Dehumidification and the removal of standing water should be your first priority. If you can reduce the levels of water and humidity in your basement you can at least stop the issues from escalating. Beyond that, it’s not a good idea to try any DIY solutions, as these could make the problem even worse.
FAQs About Wet Basement Walls
If your basement walls are wet, it can be a sign that there are deeper problems at play in your home. Cracks in your basement walls and foundation are the most likely source of wetness in your walls and floor, but these can be caused by a variety of issues. Hydrostatic pressure, faults in poured concrete walls, settlement, and abnormally heavy rainfall can all cause this kind of damage.
If leaks cause your basement walls to be wet, they can cause a huge number of problems. Unattended dampness in your basement can cause increased humidity, mold formation, insect infestations, increased energy bills, and structural damage.
Installing a sump pump, or using your sump pump, to drain standing water from your basement will help control the situation, but there is much more you will need to do. Wet walls in your basement do not generally start with standing water, so removing standing water will not solve the problem. Likewise, removing standing water will not address the additional damage that may have been done.
There are some things you can do to stop the problem from snowballing, including removing standing water from the basement and trying to control the humidity. Doing this will help control the situation and the damages dampness can cause. Nonetheless, it is of the utmost importance that you contact a basement waterproofing professional to assess the situation because of the way it can undermine the structural integrity of your home.
Let the Professionals Fix Your Wet Basement Walls
Above and beyond all else, it is important that you contact a Groundworks basement waterproofing expert to assess your basement and needs. During their evaluation, they will investigate why your basement walls are leaking, how the damage was caused, what other issues it may have created, and the best possible way to deal with the issue.
This could be as simple as dehumidifying the basement and filling the cracks properly to prevent further leaking. However, if the dampness has spread into the rest of the home and if the foundation of your home has shifted or settled into cracks in the ground under your home, the fix can be more complicated. Whatever the case may be, working with a professional is the best option if you want to nip these issues in the bud and ensure your home is on stable ground once more.