It is common for basements to be damp, dark and musty. But just because it is common, doesn’t mean it is right. Honestly, a dry Baltimore basement should be the standard. No one should have to live with the problems a wet basement brings. Mold, mildew, odors and bacteria buildup from a wet basement is not worth it, especially when you can keep your basement water free with attention to a few common problem zones.
Relieve hydrostatic pressure
Hydrostatic pressure of water pressure build up in the soil outside the foundation wall is one of the most common ways water enters a basement. Water pressure will build up outside a basement wall and it will push water through holes, gaps, and cracks in a foundation wall. Sometimes seepage will happen when there is not apparent path of least resistance. Concrete is porous and with hydrostatic pressure water can come through concrete.
Relieve that pressure with exterior waterproofing systems, drainage and French drains. Controlling how much water builds up in the soil outside a basement wall is also part of the solution. Which leads us to our next point: maintain exterior drainage.
Maintain exterior drainage
Proper exterior drainage is important to basement waterproofing. Gutters and downspouts are the first line of defense. Don’t neglect them. Clogged, broken and improper downspouts can actually cause hydrostatic pressure and cause your basement to leak and crack.
Fill cracks and gaps
A foundation crack is the first spot a basement will leak. The second is gaps and seams. The cove is a common spot for basements to leak. The cove is the seam where the basement wall meets the floor. Make sure that you professionally fill any foundation cracks and gaps. A concrete crack should be injected to completely fill the crack with material and bond the crack to the wall again. The type of material you use to fix the crack depends on the size and location of the crack and if the crack is moving or not. A moving crack may mean that it is a structural crack. A professional foundation contractor or basement waterproofing contractor can help diagnose a concrete crack.
Keep water out and allow for trapped water to escape
The ideal basement waterproofing system is two-fold. It does the best it can to keep water from ever coming into the basement. But also allows any water that may come in a way out. Basement waterproofing is more about drainage and water control than waterproofing. Interior systems are all about water control. Exterior waterproofing system are more about keeping the water out.
Controlling the water, properly filling cracks and gaps, maintaining outside drainage and relieving and controlling any hydrostatic pressure is what will help you keep your basement water free.