No one wants water in their basement. Not only is it messy, but it can lead to harmful mold and mildew. However, if you live in a part of the country that is subject to frequent rain, keeping the water out of your basement can be a challenge. You don't have to see pools of standing water to know that you have a moisture problem, there are a number of more subtle signs that something is amiss.
1. White, chalk-like deposits. If you don't notice any standing water, but you see white, chalk-like deposits around your basement's windows and outside walls, this is likely a sign that water has been there and has evaporated. The white substance isn't really chalk; it's small amounts of limestone and other minerals that can be found in most city water supplies.
2. That tell-tale musty smell. Moisture is a dark, enclosed space has an odor that unmistakeable. If you're confronted with that strong smell of mildew when you open the basement door, it's time to call the waterproofing professionals.
3. Flaking on your basement walls. If your brick or concrete basement walls are flaking, water has likely penetrated inside the surface of the walls and the salt and other minerals in the water is causing the outside of the wall to deteriorate.
4. Black spots on the walls. Black spots on your basement walls can be mold that is forming due to the moisture in the air. This can be a serious situation if left unchecked. Large amounts of black mold can aggravate chronic breathing conditions, such as COPD and asthma.
5. Bowed walls in your basement. A sign of a serious basement water problem is walls that are slightly bowed or less than plumb. This is generally caused by the water-saturated ground surrounding your foundation pushing on the walls and causing them to shift slightly.
Water in your basement can be caused by a number of issues. This can be as simple as a clogged gutter or as serious as a foundation that needs reinforcement.
If you notice one of more of these warning signs, it's time to call in the professionals. Persistent water in your basement can cause your foundation to deteriorate over time as well as lead to mold and mildew forming and being circulated throughout your living space. A good basement waterproofing contractor can evaluate your situation and propose a course of action for solving your moisture problem.