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Condensation Can Cause Water Damage In Basements

Jul 19, 2008
As families grow they often decide to add more living space to their homes rather than moving to a larger house. One popular option to add more living space to a house is finishing the basement. This provides extra living space that in the past has mostly been used for storing excess junk or housing washers and dryers. Finishing the basement can also raise the value of a home. It is fairly common for families who decide to finish their basements to take on the job themselves. This can be an overwhelming undertaking for the amateur remodeler. It is even more problematic if there are serious issues due to large amounts of condensation on the basement walls.

The way to tell if there are condensation problems in your basement is by the damp musty smell hanging in the air of the basement and by the damp appearance of the cement or cinder block walls. If you are thinking of finishing your basement and you have damp walls down there, you had better solve the condensation problem before you begin the work. Even if you do not ever have plans to finish your basement it is necessary to take care of the condensation problem because of the eventual water damage it can do to the wood structure of the house that is exposed to it. This can lead to damage of the foundation and to very dangerous health hazards from mold growth too.

To test your basement walls for condensation take a large square of plastic wrap, at least 1 foot by 1 foot, and tape it to the basement wall securely. Leave it for a few days. Then you should check to see if there is moisture on the inside or outside of the plastic. If there is moisture on the inside of the plastic, the condensation might be coming from a leak somewhere in your basement. If there is condensation on the outside of the plastic wrap then you know you have a condensation problem. It is usually easy to fix a leak if that is the cause of the damp walls in your basement.

In order to fix a condensation problem you first need to find the cause. It could be a clothes dryer that is not vented to the outside properly. The condensation could be caused by steam vapors from a tub or shower because there is no exhaust ventilation from a fan. Other causes of condensation can include cooking which causes steam, dew which somehow enters from the outside, or from leaking basement pipes. Any of these problems can be solved and must be before you put in walls for a basement.

Installing exhaust fans in your basement can help dispel any moisture that might build up, especially if there is a shower, tub, or cooking there. Circulating air with a fan might help prevent condensation if the air can circulate well. Insulating duct work, pipes, and walls will also help reduce moisture.

You can keep water damage from condensation at bay if you take steps to keep the walls of your basement dry.
About the Author
Richard Barthallo's life experiences has made him a legend in Orlando Water Damage Restoration. He has assisted and advised on many Orlando Water Damage extractions and subsequent recoveries.
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