One of the most common concerns people have when purchasing a home is the matter of moisture in the basement. In fact, most homes have some form of dampness in their basements. Generally, the older the home the greater the amount of dampness present. Often, this dampness is caused by too much water collected in the soil surrounding the foundation walls of the home, and can frequently be rectified at a cost relatively low to the homeowner. The remaining incidences can usually be attributed to underground streams, high water tables and/or underground rivers, and must be controlled by a sump pump to prevent the water from seeping in.
As is frequently the case, water-saturated soil surrounding the foundation walls is usually due to one, and/or a combination of two major factors. The eavestrough discharge is too close to the home, and/or the slope of the ground (grading) is either flat or sloping towards the home. Both these situations can usually be rectified inexpensively if the problem is not too serious.
When an eavestrough and downspout are not functioning properly the misdirected water can saturate the surrounding soil and penetrate the foundation walls, thus causing moisture in the basement. To avoid this, one must ensure the eavestroughs are clean, free from leaks, and well sloped towards the downspouts.
Additionally, the downspouts must also be extended well away, 6-8 feet optimally, from the home, in order to keep the water away. If the downspouts drain directly into an underground drain be sure the drains are not cracked or plugged.
If the problem does not appear to be directly related to the eaves or the downspouts, ground grading may be your problem. The ground should ideally slope away from the home for 6 to 8 feet measured horizontally from the foundation walls, and drop 1-2 inches for every 12-inch horizontal distance, to ensure all water runs away from the home. In the case of driveways or walkways, additional surface material such as concrete or asphalt may be required. It is also a good idea to caulk the ground intersection at the foundation walls on all applicable surfaces.
In most cases foundation walls that show signs of dampness can be repaired rather inexpensively by the homeowner once it is known where the water is coming from. A qualified and experienced home inspector will be capable of detecting the problems, and notifying you as to what actions to take and the approximate costs involved rectify the situation.
(If you would like further information on detection or the testing procedures involved please call, HOMEWORKS Inc, at (416) 691-9900.