Damp corner in the basement (posted by Shayne Duquette)

[ASKNACHI]This question was posted on AskNACHI.org by Shayne Duquette (from Timmins). [/ASKNACHI]I’ve noticed one corner in my basement is damp. I believe water has found it’s way in. How do I determine the main cause of this problem? (weepers, improper drainage, cracks, etc. )

Should or can this problem be looked after from the inside of the home vs. the out?

First look outside, see if that particular corner has a downspout by it, check to see if it is draining at least 5 feet away from the homes foundation. Verify if the ground in that area is slanting towards the house or away from the house. Try that first and we can go from there.

Outside troubleshooting and remedies are often easier and more effective. Inside remedies sometimes include breaking up the floor in the basement and adding a perimeter drain tile routed to a sump pump.

Start looking at the ridge of your roof!

“If you ware a drop of rain, where would you go”?

Gutter deficiencies are the most common cause of this moisture intrusion around here.

Gutters may not be properly sized and water will overflow/back flow the gutter system and hit the foundation.

Complex roof designs channel water to centralize locations which may not have the capacity.

Gutter downspouts discharge against foundations without proper diversion away from the building.

The elevation difference between the yard and the bottom of your basement is specifically relative to the hydrostatic pressure of that water. It does not matter how much water but how much elevation differential is involved.

Foundation drains which are buried below grade may be leaking at the corner of the foundation. Gutter downspouts are sometimes installed into these drains improperly.

Depending on the age of the house the soil is generally not compacted against the foundation wall because what it is still green and it may be damaged from the soil pressure. It takes several years for the soil to adequately compact and resists moisture infiltration. In the meanwhile we must keep the water away from the foundation/footer.

This settling causes a negative grade against the foundation where windblown rain and gutter overflow land against the foundation and cannot flow away into the yard. The result is water into the crawlspace.
99% of the houses I inspect have these issues (in one respect or another) including new homes.

Before you take remedial action to dry proof your basement, always address the source of the moisture. Often, addressing the source will alleviate the problem entirely.

Concrete (which foundations are constructed of) is not waterproof (even though they make dams from this material).

Under few conditions subterranean water flow and wet weather Springs, to include artesian Springs may also be the source of the water, but these are much less likely of an occurrence.

Second, get a ladder and some one to stand by while you go up to the gutter and make sure its not clogged with debris. when was the last time it was cleaned out ?, And is there a big tree close by? Is there moisture any where else in your BASEMENT?

Hire a professional that is trained to look for and recognize potenial sources of moisture intrusion. Erecting and climbing up on ladders can potenially cause more problems if you damage something in the process. Moisture can find it’s way anywhere. I have seen water travel up a wall face that has wicked up between layers of stucco. If you do not know what you are looking for, the search can take you a very long time waiting for the right conditions to represent themselves. Professionals have tools like moisture meters, infrared cameras, and past experience and knowledge. It may cost you a few dollars to hire someone to come out, but look at all the time and aggrivation that you can save yourself.

If you have a bad moisture intrusion problem that has been going on for a while, you might want to consider the potenial for mold growth. A professional inspector that is qualified will be able to identify the source of the moisture intrusion and determine if there is mold contributing factors present.