How to damp proof a basement
How to Damp-Proof a Basement
While basements are not commonly found in new homes, they might be a feature in an older home. A basement can be a very useful space in your home and there are many things that you can do with it, whether you free up space in your kitchen by using it as a utility room, install an additional bathroom down there, or even use it as a games room or cinema room for your family. However, since the basement is close to the foundations of your home, is often the coldest room in the house, and might not have the same ventilation systems as the rest of the home, it’s no surprise that basements are often more prone to damp compared to other rooms. Basement damp can be caused by a number of different issues, some of which might be more serious than others. So, what can you do to prevent basement damp?
What to Do with a Damp Basement – Determining the Cause
Understanding the cause of the damp in your basement is key to figuring out how is best to repair the problem and prevent it from reoccurring in the future. While there are several things that you can do to prevent damp, including insulation and damp-proof paints, for example, these might not work as effectively if the problem that is causing the damp in the first place is allowed to continue. Some of the most common causes of damp in basements include:
- Cracks in the foundation, which can let water into the basement
- Internal leaks, particularly if your basement is beneath a kitchen or bathroom
- Poor ventilation, which can lead to condensation damp in the basement, especially if you wash and dry clothes in there
- Guttering problems that lead to water being directed towards, rather than away from the foundation
- Faulty grading, which can cause rain and groundwater to drain towards rather than away from the house and foundation
- No or poor insulation, which can make the basement colder and increase the risk of condensation, or increase the risk of leaks and pipe bursts
How to Deal with Damp Basement Walls?
If the walls in your basement are damp, the first step is determining the root cause. You will need to repair the issue that is causing the damp in the first place, especially if it is a drainage issue that is causing water to be directed to the foundation of your home. This is because this is a serious problem that can not only cause damp in the basement, but may lead to damp and mould in other areas of the home and can ultimately weaken your foundations and affect the structure of the house. On the other hand, damp that is caused by condensation is often the cheapest and easiest to deal with.
Once you have found and rectified the cause of the damp on your basement walls, it’s time to start cleaning up. You will need to ensure that the walls are given a chance to completely dry out, which you can do by installing air vents or extractor fans, opening a window if there is one in your basement, or using hot air to warm up and dry out the room. Once you have done this, you can go ahead and coat the walls in a damp-proof treatment before painting or wallpapering. If you plan to paint, durable, moisture-repellent paint can add an additional layer of protection.
How to Fix a Damp Basement Caused by Condensation?
Condensation is a common cause of damp in basements, especially where there is an additional bathroom installed in the basement or if you use the basement for other moisture-generating activities like washing and drying clothing. Good ventilation in the basement is key to preventing condensation and the damp that it can cause. You can do this by having vents installed in the basement to improve the airflow, or installing extractor fans that you should use each time you do anything that generates moisture in the room. You may also want to consider using a dehumidifier that will remove the moisture from the air and keep the room dry.
How to Get Rid of Dampness in Basement Apartment?
Basement apartments might be fun and cosy to live in but they can often suffer from damp problems simply because there’s a lot going on in the space that can generate moisture. Aside from checking that there are no larger issues like faulty guttering or leaks that could be leading to damp, it’s important to make sure that the space is as well-ventilated as possible and that extractor fans and dehumidifiers are always used when necessary to keep the air dry and cool. As mentioned earlier, you can also use damp-proofing paint and undercoat treatments and moisture-resistant paint that is designed for areas like kitchens and bathrooms to add an additional layer of protection to the walls and keep them looking better for longer. Avoid any activities like drying clothing indoors without the use of an extractor fan.
How to Damp Proof a Basement
Whether your basement is a part of your home that you use for various activities or you are living in a basement apartment, damp-proofing the space is crucial to ensure that problems do not reoccur in the future and that more serious issues like mould are not created. There are several ways to damp proof your basement and keep it dry, including:
Adding proper ventilation to your basement is the best way to ensure that damp caused by condensation is prevented. It is especially important to make sure that your basement is well-ventilated if you use it for moisture-generating activities like washing and drying clothes or if there is a bathroom in your basement, but any basement can benefit from vents and extractor fans or the use of a dehumidifier.
Since the basement is often going to be the coldest room in the house, the risk of damp will increase. To avoid this, good insulation in the basement is key for better thermal effectiveness. And, good insulation can also help to sound-proof the basement which can be ideal if you are using it as a cinema room or home entertainment centre. You can get specially designed insulation for basement walls, floors and ceilings that can make a huge difference.
Since internal leaks are one of the biggest causes of basement damp, it is important to ensure that any internal pipes in your home are well-insulated to prevent leaks, cracks and damage that can often occur when the pipes in the home become too cold. This is an especially important step to take for any pipes that are located directly in the basement or pass through the basement from a bathroom or kitchen.
Improve Foundation Issues
Since issues with the foundation and grading can often lead to damp in the basement, these are some of the first issues that will need to be checked for and addressed in order to damp-proof the space. If water is being directed towards rather than away from the foundations of your home, for example, the damp is only going to reoccur over time no matter how many preventative measures you might put in place.
Fix Broken Guttering
It’s important to regularly check the guttering on your home to ensure that it is working effectively and draining water away from the foundations rather than towards them. This can often be caused by broken gutters; however, it could be the case if your gutters are becoming blocked with dirt and debris from the surrounding area and leaves from nearby trees, which is why regular gutter cleaning is always a good investment to make in your home.
You can reduce condensation in the basement by being careful of the activities that you are doing down there. The basement might be an ideal place for your washing machine or a tumble dryer, or for drying clothing on a clothes horse where it is out of the way from the rest of the home. However, without a suitable ventilation system in place, this can quickly lead to condensation. If your basement is not adequately ventilated, you should reduce condensation by avoiding moisture-generating activities in this space until ventilation is in place.
Once you have rectified any issues that are leading to damp in your basement, you can fix the damp that may have already occurred and reduce the risk of it returning in the future with damp-proof treatments. Firstly, make sure that the basement is given time to completely dry out, which you can help by warming the room with heaters. You can use a damp-proof undercoat on the walls and ceilings before redecorating to create a seal against any future moisture.
Whether your basement is a room in your home or you live in a basement apartment, don’t let damp become a serious problem for you. By understanding some of the common causes of damp in basements and how to treat them, you can keep your basement dry and clean.