The sure sign of basement dampness is water stains on the basement ceiling. According to Energy Star, standing dampness and water lead to mold and mildew growth, and this is a definite health hazard. At the very least, you will have to replace the ceiling. At the very worst, you will have to call a black mold remediation team. By understanding why the ceiling in a basement is getting wet, you will be able to correct the problem.
Leaking Pipes and Fixtures
A pinhole leak in an overhead pipe can cause water staining in a ceiling. Since the pipes run above the ceiling, you will have to pull the ceiling down to find and fix the leak. If the leak occurs only when the upstairs shower is running, the wall plates around the shower faucets and head may not be sealed correctly, allowing water to seep through.
If the staining is around the walls, the walls themselves may be getting damp. A wicking effect takes place, with the ceiling panels sucking up moisture. Keep a close eye on the walls during a heavy rain. If the walls become damp, you may have to waterproof them, either on the exterior or the interior.
Condensation On Pipes
Condensation on pipes looks very similar to leaking pipes. Pipes are usually cold, due to the groundwater being cold. When hot moist air meets cold pipes, condensation forms on the cold pipes overhead. This is especially true during the summer months. When a saturation point is reached, the condensation drips off the pipes and onto the ceiling.
During a heavy rainstorm, rain may seep in through hairline cracks between the basement wall and the sole plate (the lower part of a house wall). This leakage then behaves like a little river, flowing downhill to the lowest point. The ceiling absorbs the water leaking on it, and retains the moisture like a sponge.
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