Basement waterproofing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. No matter who you are, if you’re having basement waterproofing issues, you’re almost certainly going to need an individualized solution for any concerns that you’re having in your basement. All homes are unique, and that means all homes need a very personalized solution.
However, what’s very common in many different basements is the problem signs that tend to pop up. Of course, there are a number of different basement signs that showcase how badly you need basement waterproofing, but there are a few very common signs. Here are some symptoms that you might need to invest in Pittsburgh basement repair from an expert.
- Cracks in Your Basement Walls
It’s never a good sign to see cracks in your basement walls in general, and that’s especially true if you haven’t gone through basement waterproofing. If the cracks are in walls that extend all the way to the outside, they’re probably allowing in water, which can completely ruin any waterproofing processes you currently have in your basement. Additionally, it’s likely from hydrostatic pressure, which can cause serious foundation problems overall, stretching much further than the basement waterproofing.
- Flooding Around Your Stairs
When you have stairs leading down to the basement, it’s a good idea to take a look at those stairs on a regular basis. Flooding in and around the stairwell specifically may indicate that your stairs are more recessed than the rest of the basement, that you have a leak somewhere close to the stairs, or that the basement door you’re using isn’t as waterproof as you may have thought.
- Condensation in and Around Your Basement
Upon first seeing condensation, you might not understand why it’s so big of a problem; after all, why would just a few little droplets really impact the health of your basement? This is more of a problem because it indicates that at least some areas of your basement are at 100% relative humidity. Mold typically grows anywhere above around 70% humidity, and areas at 100% humidity are definitely prime real estate for mold to grow. If you’re noticing condensation, it’s a good idea to look at dehumidification opportunities in your basement if at all possible.
- Basement Water Stains
Water stains tend to be pretty prominent; it’s hard to mistake water stains for basically anything else, after all. If there’s a water stain in your basement, even if you don’t remember having seen water in that area of the basement, it’s a good idea to call an expert in to try and help you find any leaks that might be somewhere in your basement. Water stains only come from water, after all. If you’re seeing basement water stains, they’re coming from water, and you need an expert to help you find that water.
- Efflorescence on Basement Walls
Efflorescence is a chalky, crystalline, whitish deposit that you might see on some walls in your basement. The deposit can be scary, as you might mistake it for mold at first, but you can easily brush it away with your hand, and it will likely feel powdery to the touch, rather than moist and squishy like mold would. However, just because you can basically wash efflorescence off with water doesn’t mean you can just ignore it. Efflorescence indicates that there’s a leak somewhere; it’s a deposit of salts that typically comes from water flowing through concrete and bringing some of the salt with it.
- Leaky Plumbing
If you’re noticing any leaky plumbing in your basement, you definitely need to call an expert as soon as possible. Leaky plumbing anywhere is a big problem – if it’s a sewer line, it’s a huge health risk, and if it’s a freshwater line, it’s going to waste money and potentially cause a great place for mold to grow. If you see leaky plumbing in your basement, it can also create water problems for the basement, which is a great additional reason to fix the plumbing problems.
- High Levels of Humidity
If you notice that it generally feels “muggy” or “heavy” when you walk down into your basement, it’s likely that you’re dealing with levels of humidity that are way too high for your basement. You should never feel like your basement has a higher level of humidity than the rest of your home, and ideally, your basement should have a relatively low level of humidity. Most commonly, experts suggest a humidity level under 60%, which is lower than the general humidity level in Pittsburgh. That means you’re probably going to need some expert help getting there.
- Musty Smell
Many people have bought into the idea that a musty smell is just a “normal” part of owning a basement. For many people, that musty smell is just part and parcel of the basement experience. As a matter of fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth; for the most part, a “musty smell” is due to mold or stale air, and if you encapsulate the area properly, it should go away.
These eight problem signs are all very common warning signs of basement problems to see in Pittsburgh. Even if you only have one of these warning signs, it’s a good idea to call an expert in. After all, even if you’re wrong about having a problem, they’ll just let you know that the basement is safe. However, if you do have a problem, that basement expert could save your home from expensive repairs in the future.