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Waterproofing Basements (page 1 of 2)

Learn how to spot a water problem in your basement, and get tips on how to resolve the issue before it causes serious damage to your home.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Condensation

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"Wet basement" is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most homeowners. More than half of U.S. homes have this problem, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The most typical causes are condensation, runoff and groundwater swelling. Solutions depend on the cause of the problem and can range from using a dehumidifier to installing a perimeter drain system. If you notice dampness and a musty odor when you enter your basement, you may be experiencing the first signs and should make it a priority to combat the water before more serious damage occurs to your home.

Considerations

  • Never ignore a persistent musty smell.
  • Find out the cause of a wet basement before beginning any modifications to your home.
  • Seek professional advice before attempting to combat a groundwater swelling problem.
  • Check with your local municipality for information about changes in the water table. Advice and a list of contractors are available through the National Association of Waterproofing Contractors at www.nawsrc.org.

Condensation
Condensation occurs when moist, warm air hits cool foundation walls. If you see wet spots on basement floors and walls, you might have a condensation problem. Check it by performing a simple test. Tape plastic wrap onto a damp spot, sealing the edges with tape for a few days. If moisture appears on the wall side of the plastic, it's a leak; if moisture is on the outside, it's a condensation problem.

Allowing condensation to persist in your home can lead to structural problems. Simply opening windows regularly to aerate your home can eliminate the problem. Install a dehumidifier for a longer-term solution.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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