Causes of Basement Dampness | Grand Rapids, MI

Basement moisture isn’t readily apparent like peeling paint, missing siding, or punctured drywall, but it’s an issue that can have a dramatic and unfortunate effect on your home. Untreated basement moisture can lead to mold growth (causing respiratory issues), framing rot, and standing water (attracting insects).

– According to the University of Minnesota’s extension school, there exist three primary origins for moisture in a home’s basement: “rain/groundwater, interior moisture sources, and ventilation with humid outside air”. Taking into consideration our hot, humid Michigan summertime climate, the first and third of these origins are worth serious consideration. As far as the second (interior moisture surfaces) is concerned, it is more likely moisture will be a concern if your basement is finished and includes appliances that generate moisture (e.g. washer/dryers & baths).

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– The study also cites four different ways basement moisture can be transferred: “liquid water flow, capillary suction, vapor diffusion, and air movement”. In layman’s terms, capillary suction basically refers to upward seepage via permeable surfaces, namely concrete. Vapor diffusion refers to sideways penetration through concrete (think saturated soil transferring its hydrated contents through your foundation walls). Air leakage takes in moisture by the vector of heated air rising (think warm, moist air passing up from the soil through your basement into your main living area). Finally, liquid water flow transfers moisture as advertised – water from the outside enters via cracks in your basement walls and collects.

If you suspect your basement is damper than you think it ought to be, or want a professional consultation to determine whether you need further treatment, contact us today. We’ve been waterproofing Grand Rapids-area basements for over twenty years and our professional, courteous technicians can help you dry out.