A Dry Basement For a Healthy Home

If you have ever had a basement that is susceptible to moisture, you know the importance of taking preventative steps to keep a dry basement. Mold and mildew are inevitable by-products of a damp basement and once they appear, they’re tough to get rid of. The smell of mold is one of the biggest deal killers during a real estate transaction, to the point where buyers will walk away from their dream home over it. Even if you cannot smell the mold, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The only sure way to discover if mold is present in a basement or any other part of a home is to have a Certified Mold Inspector conduct a Mold Inspection.

Why is mold so scary? Not only can it compromise the integrity of your home’s structure, but it can cause an array of chronic health problems. Asthma, allergies, and gastrointestinal disorders can all be traced back to exposure to mold. Why not save yourself the trouble and try these five simple steps for a dry basement?

1. Use a Dehumidifier

Constantly running a dehumidifier in your basement is a wise thing to do, whether you already have a moisture issue or not, and you can purchase a leading-brand dehumidifier for under $200. We recommend the Soleus Air DP1-70-03 for both value and effectiveness. This powerful dehumidifier is able to extract 70 pints of water per 24 hours, yet also holds an Energy Star Certification. Run one of these in your basement every day and you will nip any moisture right in the bud.

2. Extend Your Downspouts

Downspouts move any rainwater far away from your foundation. If your downspouts are too short and are letting water pool close to your home, they are not doing their intended job! Luckily there is an easy solution here that won’t break the bank – downspout extenders. Attach downspout extenders to each of your downspouts to divert rainwater away from your basement, greatly reducing the risk of any moisture intrusion at your foundation. They can be found at any home improvement store for under $10 each.

3. Keep Your Gutters Clean

While cleaning gutters is not a fun thing to do, it is a necessary chore to complete a few times a year so you get maximum performance from your gutters. The frequency totally depends on how many and what kind of trees you have on your property, for instance, pine needles will require more gutter cleaning than deciduous trees. Depending on the foliage around your home, you should clean your gutters 2-4 times per year so they don’t become obstructed and overflow, possibly allowing water to seep into your basement.

4. Surround the Foundation with Gravel

Gravel repels water particles while soil absorbs them, so surrounding the edge of your house with gravel is a great precautionary measure to avoid excess moisture collection outside of your basement. This strategy has been used in French Drains since the 1800’s and has proven to be an effective method of discouraging water near the foundation of a structure. Even just a two-foot wide strip of gravel around the foundation can serve as a drainage system if any water leaks out of the gutters. This technique not only keeps your basement dry but since gravel slows down water flow, you get the added bonus of extra protection from erosion near your foundation! Save yourself money by ordering gravel by the truckload instead of purchasing it in smaller bags.

5. Use Water Resistant Paint

While water-resistant paint won’t completely waterproof your basement, it is worth using on your basement walls in conjunction with the techniques listed above to discourage seepage and prevent water from condensing in between drywall and concrete. Concrete, the main material in most basements, is naturally porous, so using water-resistant paint  discourages moisture vapor from collecting. The good news is that the price difference between water-resistant and regular paint is minimal, so why not go the extra step to help keep your basement dry?

Employing these 5 easy and cost-effective techniques for a dry basement can save you the headache of water damage, mold, and mildew over time. A Mold Inspection from 1st Alert Home Inspections will determine if there are signs of moisture or mold and we’ll make recommendations to mitigate its presence.  Ask your Home Inspector about which of these methods would be best for your situation!

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