A wet basement can lead to damage to your home or health issues such as mold infestation. Luckily, you can cure the issue by waterproofing your basement, but as waterproofing can be expensive, you likely want to ensure whether it's necessary before you start. Here are five simple tests you can do:
1. The smell test
One of the biggest indicators of a basement that needs waterproofing is the smell of mold or mildew. Close the windows to ensure your nose doesn't pick up odors from outside, and then smell. If you detect mold or mildew, continue to look for other signs of excess water.
2. The condensation test
In some cases, it can be hard to tell if the water in your basement is due to high humidity or water coming in from the outside. However, you can do an easy test to help you identify the source of the moisture.
Simply tape a piece of aluminum foil to your basement wall. Make sure it's secure on all four sides so virtually no air is getting through the tape onto the side of the foil touching the wall. Leave the foil there for a few days and then check it for moisture.
If water has beaded up on the outside of the foil, the moisture is coming from within your basement, and you have a humidity problem. If it has built up on the inside of the foil, water is seeping through your foundation into your basement.
3. The spot test
A visual inspection of the walls and windows in your basement can also help you determine if you have excess moisture in your house. Look at the basement walls – are there dried water spots, streaks or other evidence of water having dried on the walls?
Is there condensation built up between the window panes? If so, all of those are signs that water has infiltrated the basement at some point and is likely to return.
4. The efflorescence test
In addition to dark water spots, also check your walls for efflorescence. This white chalky substance appears when water dries on your walls. Essentially, it is the leftover minerals from the water.
5. The crack test
Finally, take some time to look at your foundation. If you see cracks outside your house or cracks in the basement walls, those can be signs that water is seeping in. In addition to cracks, you may also see bowed walls.
If your basement fails any of these tests, you likely have an issue. Consider looking for foundation repair services in your area, such as Safe-Guard Waterproofing, to take care of the problem.