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What is Causing Your Damp Basement?

damp basementYou had great plans to have a downstairs bedroom or family and entertainment room, but you’ve realised that none of them will come to fruition because you have a damp basement. There are a number reasons why moisture might collect in basement spaces, and many of them are fairly easy to remedy.

Causes and Solutions

Basements may become damp or flooded during and after heavy rain like that experienced in the Toronto storms of July 2013 or when snow melts rapidly. In addition, factors inside your home may be triggering the increase of moisture. Causes of a damp basement include:

  • The ground around your home is level or slopes toward the building. This has happened because of incorrect building procedures or because the backfill was not properly compacted and has sunk.

    Solution: Grade the soil around your home so that it slopes away from the building. The ground should slope away from the foundation wall a minimum of one inch per foot for at least six feet. An outward sloping concrete walkway around your home may also be a good solution for a damp basement.


  • Your gutters and down spouts are defective or inadequate. If gutters are cracked and blocked or downspouts don’t have the correct extenders, rain water flows onto the ground right next to your basement, builds up, and begins to seep through foundations and walls.

    Solution: Repair or replace gutters and downspouts. It’s recommended that you should have a downspout at every corner of the building as well as per every 50 feet of guttering. Downspouts need to be extended at least four feet away from the building.


  • Window wells have been incorrectly designed. Water will gather in the wells and take the path of least resistance, which is toward the building.

    Solution: Fill window wells to sill level with coarse aggregate so that the water can drain away more easily.


  • Water pipes or sewage drainage systems are damaged, haven’t been correctly installed, or are blocked. This means that water may collect under the basement floor and can be a serious health hazard.

    Solution: Call in a professional plumber immediately to assess your drainage system and to make repairs.


  • Foundations or joins between the basement floor and walls are cracking. This may be due to inferior building methods or because the soil has settled and the movement has caused structural cracks; water will pour through the cracks.

    Contact a registered contractor to rectify and repair structural cracks or install waterproofing.


  • Humidity from nearby bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms. Condensation on walls and floors can build up at a rapid rate, especially if Toronto is experiencing hot, humid summer weather.Solution: Install ventilation fans in moist areas in your home, ensuring that they vent directly outside and not into the basement.


  • Watering plants that grow near the house. Excessive watering can cause dampness in a basement as the soil can only absorb so much water before it begins to flow elsewhere.

    Solution: Remove all flower beds, shrubs, and trees growing adjacent to your home; this will solve the water problem and prevent roots from damaging foundations.


  • Driveways, paths, or patios are wrongly constructed. In this case, the flow of water is toward the building instead of away from it.

    Solution: Install drains that will direct the water away from your home.

It’s important to get a damp basement repaired as it can generate the growth of mold and mildew in your home as well as cause allergy and respiratory conditions in humans and pets. Contact Express Rooter Plumbing today if you have a damp basement or other plumbing problems.


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