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Basement Water Buildup – What are the Signs, Causes, and Fixes?

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Your basement is more prone to moisture and water buildup than other areas of your home. Depending on the prevailing conditions and underlying issues, this area can get extremely damp. Elevated moisture levels in summer will cause problems. It can damage your belongings, encourage mold, and weaken the underlying structures among other things. 

basement water buildup

Some people can pick out the signs quickly. Others may not. If you’re moving into a home with a new basement, the signs may not be that obvious to you. This post will highlight the signs of moisture buildup, show you their causes, and how to best fix them. 

What are the Signs of Water Buildup? 

Water buildup may go on for days or weeks. However, it won’t take long for you to realize something is wrong. Telltale signs that water is accumulating in the basement include:  

  • Water stains: Unsightly spots and streaks mostly appear on drywall or painted concrete walls, wood, and ceiling tiles. And they can range from small to large in size. 
  • Efflorescence: Keep an eye out for a whitish powdery material. This chalky substance remains when water evaporates from your floor or walls. 
  • Swelling and bulging: When basement walls and floor get exposed to water, they may swell, bow, warp, bulge, or bend. 
  • Musty smells: Putrid or awful smells are another unmistakable sign of water buildup in the basement. Dampness can smell like mud puddles or sweaty socks. 
  • Mold streaks: Mold thrives in dark and damp space. If your basement gets wet, you can be sure mold will develop. Look out for grayish or dark black stains. 
  • Pests and bugs: Like mold, pests and insects thrive in damp and dark basements. A surge in pests around your home or increased pest activity means you have unwanted guests. 
  • Other stains: When moisture builds up, you may notice discoloration on the walls or carpets. The stains may appear black, yellowish-brown, or green. 

What Causes Water Buildup in the Basement?  

Many things can drive up the moisture levels in your basement. Let’s look at the most likely causes:  

  • Plumbing leaks: Frozen water pipes and burst pipes can release water into your basement. 
  • Window wells: While these fixtures allow natural light, they can also be a weak link in the keeping of a basement. Heaps of leaves, debris, and dirt can collect over time and reduce their ability to control water. 
  • Floor and Wall cracks: Cracks on the walls and floor may allow water to seep through into your basement. Cracks can form due to settling soil, shrinkage, or natural curing of concrete. 
  • Backed-up drains: Sometimes, the basement drainpipe clogs, and this impedes water flow to the outside. Water will stagnate or form a pool in your basement. 
  • Condensation: High moisture levels in summer can lead to condensation. Water droplets may form on the walls and drop to the floor. 

Dealing with Water Buildup in Your Basement  

Before you attempt any waterproofing, we advise you to determine the source of basement water and moisture. It’s pointless to waterproof your basement if the root issue remains unresolved. This is where basement waterproofing professionals come in. They are able to evaluate your home, pinpoint the problem areas, and recommend the best solutions for them. 

If the moisture or water buildup is a result of poor interior drainage, fix your basement drainage system. You can replace your old and clogging-prone system with a more reliable interior drainage system like BasementGutter™. Make sure you pair this system with a trusted sump pump, as well. Inspect and seal basement wall cracks. Your contractor may use a basement wall repair system to fix the problem. 

Re-grading your yard might also help prevent backflows during rainy weather. Don’t forget to check your plumbing systems and ducts. If there’s a leakage, ask your plumber to come and fix the broken or damaged pipe. 

How are the basement window seals? Are they loose? If so, reseal them as they could let in water. Moisture can also linger in the atmosphere for days. If you don’t want surprises, get an energy-efficient dehumidifier. It will suck out moisture from the air and stop condensation, as well as clean and filter the air to improve its overall quality. 

Juggling household chores and basement maintenance can drain you. We encourage you to sign up for an annual basement maintenance plan. This will take away the burden of maintaining and repairing your basement. 

Stop Moisture Buildup Today!  

Want to know where the moisture or water in the basement is coming from? Or are you looking to waterproof the basement? Get in touch with basement waterproofing experts at Foundation Recovery Systems. We’ll perform a free basement waterproofing inspection and offer written estimates along with recommendations to keep your basement dry.

FRS Service Area Map with Des Moines

Our Service Areas

Des Moines Location

2401 SE Creekview Dr.
Ankeny, IA 50021

Kansas City Location

211 SE State Route 150
Lee's Summit, MO 64082
(816) 774-1539

Moberly Location

1401 US-24
Moberly, MO 65270
(660) 202-8662

Springfield Location
1820 N Barnes Ave
Springfield, MO 65803
(417) 612-8286
St. Louis Location

1625 Larkin Williams rd.
Fenton, MO 63026
(314) 207-9995