The Best Way to Fix a Wet Basement

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If your home has a basement, you know the seriousness of excess moisture or a leak. A wet basement indicates a cracked retaining wall or cracked floor that allows moisture to drain into your home. Left unrepaired, the moisture can lead to mold problems that can ruin furniture or cause health problems. Maintain your property and health by learning how to dry a wet basement.

Things You'll Need

  • Mop
  • Wet-vac
  • Fans
  • Crowbar

Immediate but Temporary Solutions

  • Identify the source of the seepage by cutting and lifting up your carpet or by examining the wall. If you own a finished basement and the walls have drywall, you will need to examine the drywall for discoloration or perhaps pry the drywall off the studs using a crowbar to access the concrete retaining wall. As you examine the actual retaining wall, look for seeping water or dark gray areas that indicate moisture.

  • Mop standing water until all that remains is dampness on the floor.

  • Purchase a portable dehumidifier with adjustable humidity levels. Place it as close to the water source as possible, and set the humidity level to 10 to 20 percet. Although standard humidity levels should remain at 40 percent, you need to set the levels lower to dry standing water.

  • Purchase or rent a "dry-vac" from a local appliance-rental store that can suck water off carpet or concrete. A dry vac consists of a vacuum-cleaner with enough suction to pull moisture out of the carpet or even off a concrete floor.

  • Position several fans around any wet carpeting or walls. For carpets, you need to increase surface area by cutting the carpets free of the floor, lifting them up and propping them on step stools or buckets, so the dry air can get beneath them. With the carpets pulled up, the air can then dry the bottom of the carpet as well as the basement floor.

Permanent Fixes

  • Walk the perimeter of the foundation, looking for broken gutters that drain rain water directly around your home's foundation. You will have to reattach the gutters or fix them with new gutter sections. Additionally, you might need to install a downspout to channel water down and away from your home.

  • Deep seal cracks with concrete sealant, or hydraulic cement. Fill the crack with hard-drying sealant that can withstand the external pressure of the surrounding soil. Pressure from tons of surrounding earth can crack your floor or wall, and deep seals help create a thick barrier against incoming water. If you imagine the crack within the wall penetrating like a system of caves through the concrete wall, you can better picture the problem and understand that you need to fill the "cave" as deeply as possible.

  • Paint the interior of the wall with waterproof "Xypex" paint. On top of hydraulic cement, Xypex paint will serve as a second line of defense against incoming moisture.

  • Install a sump pump that can pump water up and away from your home's foundation. A sump pump detects water beneath your basement, and then pumps it via a drainage pipe to the surface. Once at the surface, the water gets deposited up to 10 to 20 feet away from your home's foundation.

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