If you notice wet areas on your basement wall occasionally, you may want to call in a waterproofing contractor to get to the bottom of the problem and find a solution. Dampness leads to mold, bugs, musty odors, and damage to things stored in your basement. Here are some possible options for basement wall waterproofing.
When Condensation Is The Problem
It's possible for condensation to make your basement walls wet. If this is the problem rather than water leaking through the soil, then you'll need to take steps to reduce the humidity in your basement. You do have several options to try. Wrapping plumbing pipes in insulation, venting a dryer to the outside, running a dehumidifier, and putting insulation on the walls are all possible solutions for keeping the basement dry enough that condensation doesn't occur.
When Poor Drainage Is The Cause
If water collects near the foundation of your house, it is a threat every time it rains. Make sure your gutters drain water away properly and that the land near your house slopes away rather than toward your home. If poor drainage is the cause of your wet walls, it may be necessary for the contractor to install a French drain inside or outside to solve the problem.
When Cracks Let In Water
Cracks in the basement walls should be filled in. Your contractor might do this with hydraulic cement. The cracks can be filled on the inside of the wall and on the outside if the outer walls are uncovered to put in a French drain or wall membrane. Also, check for gaps around basement windows to make sure they are sealed tight and don't let rain leak inside.
When Water Seeps Through Walls
There are two ways to seal walls to keep water out. One way is to coat the inside of the walls with a waterproof coating that keeps water from seeping through the concrete. This usually has to be applied to bare concrete, so if the walls have paint, the paint will probably need to be removed first. A waterproof coating could be a temporary fix, so your contractor will help you decide if it's the right solution.
Another option is to dig the soil away from the outside of the walls and apply a membrane or coating to the exterior side of the house. A membrane blocks water and diverts it to a drain so it never has a chance to seep through the concrete and get inside your basement.
Since there are several causes of wet basement walls and different approaches to fixing the problem, consider getting professional advice before you attempt a DIY repair. You'll want a solution that fits your budget and that lasts as long as possible. A permanent and effective basement wall waterproofing solution is best, especially if your water heater, HVAC, and household belongings are in the basement and need to stay dry.