Category Archives: Basement water damage

Fall Maintenance

Commercial and residential buildings will benefit from early maintenance before cold weather arrives.

  1. Clean gutters and downspouts.
  2. Reseal exterior woodwork- fences, pergolas, sheds, and trellises should be inspected and included in the process.
  3. Check for pest infestation and associated damage- small animals, e.g. mice and squirrels, as well as insects ants, termites, and wasps can present problems and cause damage.
  4. Roof inspection/repair will protect the building from heavy snow loads and ice dams.
  5. Chimney inspection, as well as window and skylight inspection will help prevent leaks and water damage.
  6. Attics and basements shouldn’t be overlooked, particular attention should be paid to attic insulation.
  7. Wood stoves and heaters should be inspected for necessary repairs/replacement.
  8. HVAC and heating systems will benefit from service and filter changes.
  9. Windows and doors should be inspected for replacement and repairs.
  10. Landscaping, particularly trees and shrubs, will survive winter better protected before harsh weather arrives.

Basement Moisture

Efflorescence may be an indication of of continuing moisture penetration through foundation walls and slabs or it could be residue remaining from construction and curing. Efflorescence is caused by sulfate crystallization. masonryinstitute.org publishes the following-
“…before sulfates can cause efflorescence the salts must be dissolved into solution by water. If no moisture reached the sulfates then they cannot be rendered into solution and migrate to the surface where the water will evaporate, leaving the sulfate salts on the surface to crystallize and become efflorescence. Attention must be given to preventing any soluble alkaline from being rendered into solution by water.”

Keeping downspouts and gutters clear of leaves and debris, to allow water to flow freely away from the foundation, and keeping landscaping at least 2-3 feet from the foundation will aid in preventing foundation moisture penetration.

Basement Mold and Water

Exposed dirt floors in basements and crawl spaces are problematic due to the moisture rising on convection driven air flow. Moisture can reach the upper levels of building through utility chases, voids, and stairways via stack effect http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/pdf_files/sec_2.pdf  transporting indoor air contaminants with it.
Including the crawlspace or basement in the building’s overall thermal boundary optimizes energy efficiency and creates more effective moisture control. Encapsulating dirt floor crawl spaces and basements without insulating the exposed subfloor www.myhomescience.com/insulating-crawl-space/ better regulates building temperature.

Fall Yard Work

The most important thing to remember to include as part of fall yard work is to prepare outdoor faucets for winter. Remove hoses and be certain exterior water spigots are shut off. It may be a good idea to have a plumber look at exterior spigots to be certain there is no threat of a pipe break.
Fall is a good time to trim landscaping to keep plants away from buildings and foundations. Gutters, downspouts and extensions should be cleared and cleaned so water will flow freely through them.

Basement Waterproofing

Wet basements and wet crawl spaces present problems for the entire building. The key to improving basement moisture is controlling relative humidity.
Moisture vapor rises from dirt floors, on convection driven air-flow, to upper levels. Water that has penetrated foundations will also increase relative humidity and affect the entire building. Basement waterproofing with quality materials will prevent moisture from penetrating encapsulation and increasing humidity.
Elevated humidity increases moisture content in wood building materials. Wet organic building materials (wood, plywood, joists, beams, sills, sill plates, etc.) provide an environment necessary for mold growth. Dry basements and solutions to control wet basements and crawl spaces are fundamental in improving indoor air quality. Healthy indoor air quality begins in the basement or crawl space and moves upward.