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  • Writer's pictureJessica Foster

Preventing and Repairing Basement Water Damage

It is always crucial that the foundation/basement of any home is in top shape to be sure that the rest of the building is properly supported. However, basement walls and floors are susceptible to various issues. Due to the basement’s location, water damage is a common problem in construction that can become severe as it weakens the foundation. Knowing what to expect when it comes to water penetration and what must be fixed is key in minimizing damage as well as the cost of repairs. Using the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) guidelines, we will go through sights one may observe in their basement and what corrective measures, if any, are necessary.

Water damage can be caused by a multitude of things. If dampness is observed on the basement walls or floor and caused by moisture intrusion, it is not acceptable according to performance guidelines and is a contractor’s responsibility to fix. Dampness can also be caused by consumer action, as the presence of condensation of water vapor can be attributed to nearby irrigation systems or changing the grade, or leveling, around the home’s foundation. This is not required by performance guidelines to be fixed, but maintaining proper grade around the foundation can help prevent water from entering the structure. Keeping the basement warm during cold months can also keep condensation from forming.

Aside from minor condensation, something that can be observed is an accumulation of water in the basement. Per performance guidelines, any accumulation of water is not acceptable, since it can seep into the cracks of the foundation and cause damage. As such, steps should be taken to prevent water build up in the basement. Again, this can be accomplished through maintaining proper grading, or the implementation of downspouts to carry water away from the foundation. Water build up can also occur in vented crawl space when guidelines are not met. Performance guidelines call for crawl spaces to be graded and have proper foundation drains as indicated by building codes, so the corrective measure to combat water build up is to ensure these performance guidelines are met.

Similar to basement walls and floors, one can observe condensation on vented crawl space surfaces. Performance guidelines and building codes call for proper ventilation and a vapor barrier. If the crawl space is appropriately vented as specified by building codes, no corrective action is needed. Condensation can be caused by multiple factors, such as cool outside air at night cooling the foundation allowing moisture to form. If the home is left unheated during winter, the floors/walls can provide a cool surface where moisture can condense. This is usually temporary condensation and not of concern unless the moisture becomes excessive or the building is without proper ventilation or a vapor barrier. Still, these situations can be avoided by keeping the basement warm.

Being aware and knowledgeable about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to moisture can help you make the right decisions when it comes to your project. Here at Fine Remodeling, we are your Delaware contractor and are devoted to making sure we meet any and all performance guidelines to prevent future problems. Not only this, we will go beyond to make sure your next renovation project is more than satisfactory.Get in touch with us about your next project so you can be sure it's done right the first time.

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