When summer arrives in Cleveland, OH, the last thing you want is to walk into a damp, musty, mold-infested basement. How is that possible with all the sweltering heat outside? All these are possibilities if you don’t waterproof this low-lying part of your home. Your once-comfortable and dry basement will feel like a dungeon — oppressively hot and humid.
Before you embark on basement waterproofing, it’s good to know some of the things that can encourage moisture buildup. The first is humid air that gets in through open basement windows. Next is water that seeps through cracks and collects under the foundation. Other causes are oversaturated soils that are in direct contact with porous walls and leaks in your dryer vents.
Is My Basement Damp?
It won’t take you long to realize water is brewing trouble in the basement. Some signs like musty smells, water droplets, and basement condensation are easy to spot. If you’re unsure, get a hygrometer and test the moisture levels. What people don’t know is moisture can stay in the atmosphere for days. If humidity is above 60%, take the necessary steps in consultation with your waterproofing contractor.
Keeping the Basement Dry in Summer
Let’s look at practical ways to stop moisture from entering your basement and hurting it.
1) Grade Your Home
Check how your yard slopes all around your home. If it slopes toward the perimeter of your home and not away, you will have problems whenever it rains. Water will flow back to the home, and some of it may end up in the basement through foundation cracks. By grading your yard, water will flow out and away.
2) Fix Exterior Drainage
Summer does have its share of rainfall. Due to high precipitation, you will find that rain will fall hard on some days. If the gutters are shaky or downspouts short, water will accumulate in your yard, eventually seeping into the basement. Angle your downspouts down and away from your home’s perimeter. If you can get underground downspouts, that’s even better.
3) Waterproof Your Basement
When rains start falling, you want to make sure none of it ends up in your home or the basement. Your gutters and downspouts are your first line of defense. If any water manages to seep through, make sure you intercept it before it harms the basement. A clog-free interior drainage system like BasementGutter™ that goes beneath the floor will come to the rescue. It will collect and direct water to the sump pump, which ejects it to the outside.
4) Install an Energy-Efficient Dehumidifier
Summer humidity can take a toll on your basement. Aside from encouraging mold growth, moisture can cause wood to warp and rust to form on metal surfaces. You can avoid this scenario by buying an enegy-efficient dehumidifier to dry out the basement air. Get a self-draining unit so you won’t have to empty buckets of water every day.
5) Insulate Your Basement
Cover your concrete walls with an impervious water vapor membrane to prevent warm outside air from flowing into the basement. Closed-cell polyurethane foam is a fantastic option. This non-water-sensitive insulation stops outside air from mixing with interior air. Your basement contractor can adhere it directly to the wall or spray it.
Remember to insulate the cold-water pipes and ventilation ducts that run through the basement to prevent condensation in summer.
Avoid painting your walls with water-based paints. Oil paints aren’t any better as they tend to peel off in the presence of moisture.
6) Shut Basement Windows
Not only does opening your basement windows allow warm moist air to rush in, but it also increases humidity levels. When this air gets into the basement, it will condense on the cooler basement floors and walls. This will reverse the gains you’ve made and jeopardize your waterproofing efforts.
Don’t let basement humidity go beyond normal levels. It will cause you problems and deny you the full potential of your basement. Get in touch with the waterproofing experts at Ohio Basement Systems for a FREE basement repair inspection and quote. We’ll tell you what’s ailing this area and recommend proven solutions to lock out moisture and water.