Water is always eager to make its way into our living spaces. One crack is all that is needed to cause a serious problem in any indoor environment.
As Spring approaches and snow melts, homeowners should be aware of vulnerable areas such as rooftops, windows, and other possible ports of entry. Home inspectors Nick Gromicko and Ethan Ward of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors say basements are particularly susceptible.
Basements are typically the area of a structure most at risk for water damage because they are located below grade and surrounded by soil. Soil releases water it has absorbed during rain or when snow melts, and the water can end up in the basement through leaks or cracks. Water can even migrate through solid concrete walls via capillary action, which is a phenomenon whereby liquid spontaneously rises in a narrow space, such as a thin tube, or via porous materials. Wet basements can cause problems that include peeling paint, toxic mold contamination, building rot, foundation collapse, and termite damage. Even interior air quality can be affected if naturally occurring gasses released by the soil are being transmitted into the basement.
Gromicko and Ward encourage homeowners to check all gutters and downspouts, making sure that melting snow is routed away from the building. (See Basic Waterproofing for Basements to learn more.)
Ideally all water pooling should occur at least 10 feet from the home. This is something important to check when buying or renting a home. (See Guidelines for Buying or Renting a Home.)
If you suspect moisture is creeping into your basement, a moisture meter is a simple and affordable way to check for water intrusion. Moisture meters are available for $28 on Amazon or at your local home improvement center.
Gromicko and Ward offer suggestions for repairing cracks using a mixture of epoxy and latex cement for smaller cracks, or mortar for cracks more than 1/8 inch. In addition, they provide specifics for applying sealants to walls and floors.
When it comes to melting snow, a little awareness and pro-action can go a long way toward enjoying the spring thaw!
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Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
Great information! Mold is a nasty thing, preventing moisture from going into your home is huge. Thanks for sharing this. Pinning this.
Andrea Fabry says
Thanks Emily. Yes, it’s so important and we’re not taught much about it.
Marjorie @ This is so good... says
Great info! There is so much to learn when you own a home. Thanks for sharing!
Megan Stevens says
Thanks for all this. I had no idea! 🙂
Really good information here. Thanks for sharing!
linda spiker says
Good to know. We live in CA where we don’t need to worry about this, but have a cabin in Sundance. I learned a lot!
Such a needed posts. We deal with this in MI, for sure!
UGH. I check our basement like everyday from March until May making sure nothing is leaking LOL! Very great post! Thank you!
Chloe @ How We Flourish says
Really good information. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about this in our apartment, but it is super important to people to be aware of this.