Seepage in the Walls of Buildings

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Unexpected water inside a structure is not a good thing and seepage through a wall is no exception. Frequently found inside basements, water can squeeze through the smallest cracks in the cement walls, creating puddles, mold and humidity. With enough moisture over time, the room where the seepage occurs can suffer damage from the constant exposure to moisture.

The Problem

  • Water tends to follow gravity and will seep to the lowest point it can. With structures that have soil against their walls, particularly those with rooms below ground level, water seepage can occur as the soil gets wet and the water begins to travel downward from the surface. Despite the material used, walls tend to be porous, and water can squeeze through cracks and cavities over time, even cement walls. This moisture then comes through into the inside room, causing stains, damage, pooling and humidity inside.

Health Risks

  • Unplanned moisture from seepage can create health risks over time. The regular humidity and stagnant pooled water in the bottom of a room can lead to the creation of mold and fungus. In some cases, such growth can be toxic, creating a hazardous environment to people who inhale the spores. The growth can also produce mildew and odors as the moisture causes decomposition of anything organic nearby. Finally, the moisture can also lead to corrosion of any metal fixtures, creating hazards from rusty furniture or metal.

Basement Window Wells

  • Basements with window wells tend to be particularly susceptible to moisture seepage around the window frame. As water builds up around the window on the outside, due to exposure or condensation, the moisture can begin to squeeze through the areas where the window frame meets the wall material. This situation can be exacerbated if the well around the window on the outside doesn't allow drainage. Eventually the water finds a way inside the basement wall.

Remedies

  • The easiest and least costly remedy to stop wall seepage in a structure involves installing good drainage around the building to cut down on the water buildup in the first place. For ground-level or below ground level seepage, drainage should be placed to draw water runoff away from the structure and outward to a municipal drain. Footer drains with French drain designs help sufficiently draw water to lower points to get it into a drainage pipe and, again, away from the building. For internal basement pooling, a sump pump will actively remove water deposits back to the outside of the house.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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