Why Do Basements Become Damp or Flood?
The reason why basements become damp or flood is because of a few factors. The way that water finds its way into your basement is because of the material used for building foundations is concrete. Concrete as most products does have its strengths and weaknesses. It is a sturdy material for sure but it is also porous. So while the concrete can hold up your home with relative ease it does not prevent water or moisture from penetrating it relatively easy as well. This propensity of porosity is what creates all of the issues that can be associated with concrete foundations. The contact from the soil over time will increase the porosity of the concrete due to the moisture and water that exists in the soil itself.
And since we know that concrete foundations expand during rain and snow seasons which in turn makes the concrete more porous. Now the concrete in and of itself does not maintain that much water during the wet seasonal times of the year…but the soil most certainly does. Just because you don’t see it yourself way down below the surface that soil is storing the water for its own use. So as time goes on the water that has been building up will start to affect your concrete basement walls and you may notice that they are a bit damper. This is what causes that unmistakable musty smell. And depending on how well your house has been prepared properly to repel the water.
Now since it takes time for concrete to start to deteriorate if your home is less than 5-7 years old it is probably still holding up well. But older homes will find that walls may have started showing signs of stress. Bowing basement walls, cracks, the aforementioned dampness, or worse yet the walls have started to fall apart. Water has the ability to break down some pretty sturdy materials such as cement, concrete, and even metals. And unfortunately, the water also has chemicals that make it even more powerful at wreaking havoc on your concrete foundation.
So now you may have a better understanding why older home’s foundations show the signs of their age with cracks appearing. And the reason that they occur may be a surprise to you as well. They are not due to the pressure from the soil but due to the chemicals that are in the rainwater and the soil that surrounds your home. Now some of you may have had a foundation membrane installed around your home’s concrete foundation. But “dirty water” will degrade that material over time as well.
So there are many considerations to think about when you are plotting out a strategy to prevent water from getting the chance to enter your house. If you are having a new home built or are contemplating having a professional waterproofing contractor do exterior waterproofing by digging around the perimeter. You should have your foundation sprayed or layered with a waterproofing membrane. And install an interior drainage system such as a French Drain to divert the water into channels that contain a mechanical pump (sump pumps) to remove the water in case you have a water intrusion.
These worthy precautions can save you a lot of stress and money down the road. Just think that if you happen to be lucky enough to have a finished basement and just one freak rain storm could cost you thousands to have it remodeled. The due diligence of making sure your basement is properly waterproofed can save you from having electrical hazard issues, your precious possessions, memories that you may be storing, rotting wood floors, and then having to worry about black toxic mold from forming behind the walls. When it comes to waterproofing your basement or crawl space…don’t be as Robert Burton said “Penny Wise and Pound Foolish”. If you would like to find out if home may need the services of a waterproofing contractor. Call Morgan Basement Waterproofing at 610.696.0100 for a FREE Inspection. Or feel free to use the form on this page to request an appointment for your free inspection.