How To Get Rid of Moisture In Basement – 20 Tips

A wet basement can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare, causing extensive damage and creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew. 

Whether you have a finished living space or simply use your basement for storage, moisture problems are a common issue that can lead to significant health concerns if not properly addressed. 

In this article, we will provide you with practical steps and solutions to effectively tackle basement moisture, ensuring a dry and healthy environment. 

By following these strategies, you can safeguard your property, preserve your belongings, and create a comfortable living space, free from the worries of water damage and associated health risks.

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How To Get Rid of Moisture In Basement

How To Get Rid of Moisture In Basement?

We will explore various strategies and techniques to help you effectively get rid of moisture in your basement. 

By implementing these solutions, you can safeguard your basement against water damage, improve indoor air quality, and create a more comfortable living space.

1. Ensure Proper Grading:

Proper grading around the foundation is crucial for preventing water from entering the basement. Over time, backfilled soil near the house can settle, causing a slope towards the basement wall and water accumulation. 

To combat this, make sure the ground around your foundation slopes away from the wall at a minimum rate of 1 inch per foot for a distance of at least 6 feet.

2. Install Gutters and Downspouts:

Redirecting rainwater away from the foundation is essential to prevent water from pooling near the basement. Install gutters and downspouts on your roof, ensuring they effectively collect rainwater and direct it away from the house. 

For every 50 linear feet of roof eave, it is recommended to have at least one downspout. Additionally, extend the downspouts at least 4 feet away from the wall to ensure proper water discharge.

3. Construct Proper Window Wells:

Improperly constructed window wells can direct water towards the foundation rather than away from it. Ensure your window wells are filled with 3/8- to 3/4-inch coarse aggregate from the footing to the window sill. 

Additionally, consider installing a supplemental drain tile extension from the footing to the base of the window well for efficient water drainage.

4. Address Subsurface Drainage Issues:

Many older houses lack a subsurface drainage system, which can contribute to basement moisture problems. If your basement does not have a drainage system or if the existing system is faulty, it is essential to address this issue. 

Consult with a professional to evaluate the situation and determine the best approach, such as adding exterior drain tile, waterproofing the walls, or installing interior drain tile with a sump basket and pump.

5. Insulate and Drain Heating Ducts:

Heating ducts installed beneath the basement floor should be properly insulated and drained to prevent water accumulation and mold growth. 

Ensure the ducts are watertight, sloped for drainage, and connected to collection points for effective water removal. Placing a drain tile and coarse aggregate under the ductwork can help facilitate drainage.

6. Repair Foundation Cracks:

Concrete foundations often develop cracks due to soil settling and inadequate connections to the structure above. Inspect your basement for any cracks and repair them promptly to prevent water seepage. 

Proper footing design and connections, such as anchor bolts or straps at the sill plate and floor joists nailed to the sill plate, are necessary to ensure a stable foundation.

7. Install a Gas Fireplace:

Consider adding a gas fireplace to your basement remodeling plans. Not only does it provide warmth and ambiance, but it can also eliminate the need for a chimney through the roof. 

By running the flue directly through the side wall, you can prevent potential water leakage associated with roof chimneys.

8. Seal Cracks and Openings:

Sealing cracks and openings in the basement is crucial for preventing the spread of fire, reducing energy loss, and minimizing sound transfer. Use specialized high-temperature silicone caulk to seal small cracks around pipes and wires. 

For larger openings, utilize flame-resistant expanding foam. Sheet metal or cement board can be used to cover larger holes or penetrations.

9. Utilize Plastic Drainage Mats:

Plastic drainage mats provide moisture barriers and insulation for basement flooring. These mats create an air gap between the concrete slab and the finished flooring, allowing moisture to evaporate and preventing it from reaching the flooring material. 

Install drainage mats before laying carpet, laminate, or hardwood flooring to keep your basement dry and comfortable.

10. Keep the Basement Clean:

Regular cleaning of the basement is essential to eliminate grime, allergens, and maintain a clean living environment. Vacuum and mop the floors regularly, wipe down surfaces, and remove any visible mold or mildew promptly. 

By keeping your basement clean, you can reduce the presence of moisture-absorbing substances and prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.

11. Maintain Gutters:

Proper gutter maintenance is crucial to prevent water pooling against the foundation. Regularly check and clean your gutters to ensure they are free from debris, such as leaves and twigs, that can block the flow of water. 

Consider installing gutter guards to minimize the need for frequent cleaning and ensure water flows smoothly through the system.

12. Slope Driveways Away from the House:

To prevent water from directing towards the foundation, ensure that your driveways slope away from the house. 

This slope allows rainwater and runoff to flow away from the basement, reducing the risk of moisture infiltration. If necessary, consult a professional to adjust the slope of your driveway for optimal drainage.

13. Cover Exposed Dirt in Crawlspace:

If your basement is connected to an adjoining crawlspace, cover the exposed dirt with polyethylene sheeting. This simple measure helps reduce moisture and prevents musty smells from permeating into your basement. Secure the sheeting tightly to the ground to create an effective vapor barrier.

14. Vent Clothes Dryers to the Outside:

Venting clothes dryers to the outside of your home is essential for preventing the release of moist air into the basement. Ensure the dryer duct is properly installed, free from obstructions, and terminates outside the building envelope. 

This practice helps maintain lower humidity levels in the basement, reducing the risk of moisture-related issues.

15. Use a Mild Bleach Solution:

Periodically using a mild bleach solution helps control mildew and musty odors in the basement. Dilute one part bleach with ten parts water and apply it to areas prone to mold growth, such as concrete walls and floors. 

Take proper precautions when working with bleach, including wearing protective gloves and ensuring adequate ventilation.

16. Install an Exhaust Fan:

Improving air circulation and reducing humidity levels in the basement can effectively combat moisture problems. Install an exhaust fan in your basement to help remove moist air and promote proper ventilation. 

Choose a fan size suitable for the dimensions of your basement, and consider placing it in a central location for optimal air distribution.

17. Connect a Dehumidifier to a Floor Drain:

A dehumidifier can be a valuable tool for controlling humidity levels in the basement. Connect the dehumidifier to a floor drain for continuous operation and hassle-free maintenance. 

Ensure the dehumidifier is properly sized for the square footage of your basement and set the humidity level to an appropriate range (around 40-50%) to prevent excessive moisture.

18. Seal Concrete Floors:

Sealing concrete floors creates a moisture barrier and helps prevent mold growth. Choose a high-quality concrete sealer suitable for basement use and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Properly sealed floors not only resist moisture but are also easier to clean and maintain.

19. Install a Sump Pump with Battery Backup:

To prevent basement flooding, consider installing a sump pump with a battery-operated backup system. A sump pump collects and removes water from the sump pit, preventing it from entering the basement. 

The battery backup ensures the pump continues to function during power outages, providing reliable protection against water damage.

20. Seek Professional Assistance:

For complex basement moisture issues or extensive waterproofing needs, it is advisable to consult a professional. 

An experienced contractor specializing in basement waterproofing can evaluate your specific situation, recommend appropriate solutions, and provide long-term benefits and peace of mind.

How To Lower Humidity In Basement?

One of the simplest ways to reduce humidity in the basement is by improving air circulation. Open windows regularly to allow fresh air to enter and stagnant air to exit. This helps create a more pleasant environment and prevents the buildup of moisture.

A cluttered basement not only restricts airflow but also hinders the penetration of light and heat. By keeping your basement clean and decluttered, you allow air, light, and heat to reach all areas, reducing humidity and preventing moisture damage.

Unsealed leaks and holes in the basement provide an entryway for humid air from outside. Inspect your basement thoroughly and seal any leaks or holes to prevent humid air infiltration, which can contribute to elevated humidity levels.

Moisture is more likely to accumulate in a cooler environment. To reduce humidity, maintain a warmer temperature in the basement. Adjust the thermostat accordingly to create a less favorable environment for moisture build-up.

Dehumidifiers are highly effective in lowering humidity levels in basements. Consider investing in a high-quality dehumidifier. These eco-friendly devices absorb water vapor, protecting your belongings from moisture damage.

Proper ventilation is essential to prevent stagnant air and excess moisture in the basement. Ensure that vents and air ducts are unobstructed, allowing for adequate airflow. Consider installing exhaust fans or utilizing natural ventilation methods to promote air circulation and reduce humidity.

Frequent inspections of your basement are crucial to identify and address any signs of moisture problems promptly. Look for condensation, water stains, or mold growth, and take necessary measures to mitigate these issues. Early detection and intervention can prevent further humidity-related damage.

To control humidity levels, consider using moisture-absorbent materials or desiccants in your basement. Silica gel packets or moisture-absorbing crystals can help absorb excess moisture from the air, reducing humidity levels and creating a drier environment.

Final Words

Moisture problems in the basement can be a significant concern for homeowners. By following the strategies outlined in this article, you can effectively eliminate moisture and create a dry, healthy, and comfortable basement environment. 

Remember to address grading and drainage issues, seal cracks and openings, maintain gutters and downspouts, and consider professional assistance when necessary. 

With proper measures in place, you can enjoy a basement that is free from moisture-related problems, ensuring a safe and pleasant living space for you and your family.

Kristen Park - Specialised Content Writer for Caresh Fresh

My name is Kristen Park and I am a senior writer specialising in how-to guides and home cleaning information at Cares Fresh. As a researcher, I take pride in digging deep to find every small detail on a topic and explaining it in a way that is easy for the reader to understand.