Basements, while highly practical for multiple reasons, can also become a major problem if they become damp. Damp in basements is often undetected until it is a sizeable concern. These rooms are typically storage and utility spaces, but can sometimes be more common areas too, for instance, a living room basement conversion. It is good to know the signs and symptoms of damp in the basement before the problem gets out of hand, so read on to find out what to look for and how to handle things.
What Is Basement Damp?
Basement damp is any type of damp that occurs in your basement area. It is a very serious problem if left unattended because basement damp causes mould and wall damage and emits an unpleasant odour into the house. It can be caused by a number of things and is definitely worth investigating and addressing because your house doesn’t need damp in any area.
How do you tell if your basement has damp? There are some red flags to keep watch for explored in more detail here.
The smell of damp is unique. If you have ever left a pile of wet laundry too long, you will know exactly what this smell is. Dampness is not a scent that comes from fresh wetness, it is instead the musty smell that settles in when water or something wet has been left for a few days without drying out. If your basement is damp, the smell will let you know before anything else.
If you don’t have a keen sense of smell, or you really can’t detect the mustiness in the air, your eyes might be a better place to turn. Damp problems are easy to see after they’ve taken root. You might notice damp patches on the basement walls, flaking paint, mouldy patches, or cracks and water marks on the ground, ceiling, and similar.
Mould is a natural consequence of damp conditions. When there is humidity, condensation, or dampness, mould is bound to appear. It can grow on almost anything but it is more common on wooden surfaces, wallpaper and paint, carpet and upholstery, and plaster. Given there is a high chance your basement has all those things inside of it, you may have mould patches to deal with too. If damp is the cause, you may need to invest in damp proofing and a London damp survey to acquire the best course of action. Where is it condensation or similar, increasing the ventilation should help.
Pools of Water
Finally, pools of water on the ground indicate a leak and these can cause damp in the basement area. If there are any noticeable water build-ups, conduct a thorough check of the remaining area to rule out damp, mould, and leaks.
The causes for basement damp are varying. You may have one solid reason, or there could be a number of contributing factors to the problem. Wherever you land, an independent damp survey will be invaluable if you suspect your home is suffering.
When there is heavy rainfall, or you live in a highly saturated area, there is a risk with regard to managing the groundwater around the property. Ground water can find its way into your basement with few barriers, and when it moves in it is difficult to get rid of. It typically causes rising damp, as it comes up from the ground and rises higher from beneath the floor up through to the wall. It will climb higher and higher until a solution is implemented, causing plentiful damage as it moves.
Damaged or Cluttered Guttering
Guttering, when it isn’t cleared out often enough, often becomes blocked with debris and similar. A direct consequence of this is that the guttering pipes cannot do their job properly and water might overflow and infiltrate the property. Unfortunately, even the cleanest gutters can still become damaged and sit undetected for longer periods because of where they are on the property. Unless you are actively checking them a few times a month, you won’t know until the problems start to arise, such as damp.
Lots of basements have washing machines, sinks, and general plumbing. This is fairly common. In addition to this, there are general pipes and functions for the main plumbing system that runs through the basement too. Sometimes this leads to plumbing issues like basement leaks. When a leak becomes established, you have to deal with it immediately to avoid bigger repercussions. It may take a while to notice, as there could be no external signs until damp start to appear on the walls or ground.
The Solutions: Drying Out A Damp Basement Area
How do you go about solving damp issues in a basement? Well, there are a number of solutions to implement and it depends entirely upon the underlying causes.
Dehumidifiers make the air less moist and therefore decrease the chance of damp problems.
Ventilation brings fresh air into the area and allows the warmer, humid air to travel out of the area more easily. It decreases the likelihood of mould settling in and significantly combat damp problems. Ventilation increases are achieved through installing windows or upgrading pre-existing structures or installing a ventilation device that you can switch on and off as and when it’s needed.
Address External Causes
When you become aware of an external problem such as rising damp, or faulty guttering pipes until you fix it your basement sits vulnerable. Therefore, take steps to fix the concerns and remember it is worth pouring the household maintenance budget into. The money it would cost to fix damp issues would far surpass the cost of a new guttering replacement pipe.
Dry Laundry Elsewhere
While it may be entirely convenient to dry your laundry out in the basement, this is likely to be adding to the damp problem.
If none of these minor fixes work, basement tanking might be needed to prevent groundwater from finding a way in. Speak to a damp specialist London to find out more.
Basement damp in London homes is a common occurrence. While there are common causes, there are also easy solutions if you know what’s causing the issue.