12 Ways to Keep Your Basement Dry
The last thing you want to find in your basement is moisture of any kind. Keep mold and mildew at bay, and protect your basement from unwanted moisture by following these important pointers.
1. Check outdoor water flow.
Water should always flow away from your home (down a slope) rather than towards. Water flowing toward the foundation can form pools of standing water and cause damage. Sprinklers should not be installed close to the home’s foundation, and the landscaping should not alter an established slope or grade.
2. Install gutters.
Most homes have a gutter and downspout system in place, which is the most efficient way to keep snow run-off and rain from damaging the home. Gutters provide excess water an “out,” but must be cleaned regularly to remain in effective working order.
3. Invest in a dehumidifier.
Using a dehumidifier rids the air of excess moisture and keeps condensation from forming in and on your basement walls. Options range from inexpensive portable units to whole-house systems that are part of the home’s HVAC setup.
4. Use water-resistant paint.
If your basement’s walls are prone to condensation from damp air, water-resistant paint can help keep the problem under control.
5. Add insulation.
Properly insulating basement walls is key to keeping damp, outside air from penetrating into your home. Homes are built to code-required specifications of insulation, which may be sufficient. As building codes evolve and change over the years, however, the amount of insulation currently in your basement may or may not be sufficient to keep cold and moisture in check. You may find it worthwhile to consider adding insulation to the exterior basement walls.
6. Insulate exposed pipes.
Cold pipes lead to condensation, which can form water that drips down the walls. Solve this problem with foam insulation for your pipes–an easy and inexpensive fix.
7. Protect the home’s foundation.
Protecting the foundation of your home keeps water from seeping in and causing water damage to your basement.
8. Fill holes and cracks.
If it is too late and your foundation has not yet been protected, you can still make improvements by filling in cracks. Use hydraulic cement to block holes and keep the damage from spreading.
9. Position gravel around the basement.
Surrounding the exterior foundation walls of your home with gravel is another effective way of protecting its foundation. Gravel soaks up moisture, adding one more shield between your basement and water damage.
10. Ensure appliances are ventilating.
If your laundry room is located in your basement, keep excess moisture out of the air by making sure that your dryer is venting outside and that all equipment is in working order.
11. Invest in exhaust fans.
Basement bathrooms are one of the greatest culprits causing moisture buildup in walls. Installing an exhaust fan helps rid the air of excess moisture and guards against water damage.
12. Install a sump pump.
Sump pumps prevent standing water from forming in your basement. They do require additional plumbing but are one of the best ways to redirect water from your foundation.
Following these simple steps can not only protect your basement against water damage, saving you costly repairs later, but may also prevent the formation of mold and mildew.