Major Causes of Basement Moisture & How to Prevent Them

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Most homeowners take great pride in their home and do everything they can to maintain it. However, a part of your home that may not get as much attention as it deserves is the basement. Basements can often become damp, mouldy, and uncomfortable, leading to a variety of problems.

What Are the Dangers of Moisture in Your Basement?

Your basement is among the most crucial rooms in your home when it comes to moisture control. After all, it’s where your water heater and furnace are located, which may begin rusting because of excess moisture. Any wood you have may also begin to rot.

If your basement is constantly wet, it’s a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and dangerous mould spores. These can cause severe respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues.

In short, excess moisture in your basement is more than just an inconvenience – it can put your entire family at risk.

Is It Normal for Basement Floors to Be Damp?

Keep in mind that dampness in your basement doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a severe problem in your home. In fact, it’s normal for basement floors to be slightly damp due to the amount of humidity in the air. However, if your basement is constantly wet, that’s a sign that you have a moisture problem.

Keep an eye out for these other signs of a moisture problem in your basement:

  • Water stains on the walls or ceilings
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Mildew or musty odours
  • Condensation on windows
  • Buckling floors or warped wood


Major Causes of Basement Moisture

What’s causing the moisture in your basement? Here are some of the most common culprits:

Leaking pipes

Your home is full of pipes, and most of them are hidden from view. Over time, these pipes can develop leaks, and water will start seeping into your basement. Even a tiny leak can cause a lot of damage if it’s not fixed promptly. Water can trickle down the walls and pool on the floor, creating the perfect environment for mould and mildew to grow.


Another common cause of basement moisture is condensation. This happens when warm, humid air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as a window or concrete wall. The water vapour in the air will condense on the cold surface, which can lead to dampness. Condensation is especially worse during the summer, when the air is more humid.

Poor Drainage

Your home’s drainage system is designed to redirect water away from the foundation. However, if there’s a problem with the drainage system, water will start to pool around the foundation. This can cause serious damage to your home’s structure, and can also lead to basement moisture.

For example, you might notice that your basement floods after a heavy rainstorm.

Laundry or Cooking

Doing a lot of laundry or cooking in your basement can also lead to excess moisture. The steam from the laundry or cooking can condense on the walls and floors, creating a damp environment.

Can Moisture Come Up Through Concrete?

Finally, your problem may stem from something entirely out of your control: the type of soil your home is built on. If you live in an area with a high water table, moisture in the ground can start to seep up through the concrete and into your basement.

Concrete is a very porous material, so it’s not uncommon for water to get through it. There’s not much you can do about this problem, but there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage.

How to Prevent Moisture from Developing in Your Basement

There are ways to prevent moisture from taking over your basement. Here are some tips to get rid of excess basement moisture:

Invest in a Basement Carpet Pad Moisture Barrier

If your basement has carpeting, be sure to use a moisture barrier between the carpet and the floor. This will prevent moisture from coming from the basement floor and into the carpet. Carpets can quickly become soaked with water, which will worsen the problem.

Install a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier can help remove excess moisture from the air in your basement. It will also make it less likely for condensation to occur, and create a drier environment where mould and mildew won’t be able to thrive. Any basement moisture absorber will do.

Fix Any Leaks

If you have leaks in your home, getting them fixed as soon as possible is essential. A small drip can become a big problem if not dealt with promptly.

Improve Ventilation

In some cases, the problem may be that your basement isn’t well-ventilated. If there’s insufficient airflow, the moist air will get trapped and cause problems. You can improve ventilation by opening windows or installing a fan.

How Do I Stop Moisture from Appearing in My Basement?

Controlling the humidity in your basement is one of the most important steps you can take against moisture buildup. You can do that by installing a dehumidifier, improving ventilation, or fixing any leaks.

However, what if you want to stop moisture from appearing in your basement in the first place?

The best option in this case would be to renovate your basement and make it into a livable space. This way, you can control the humidity with a dehumidifier, waterproof the walls, and install a drainage system. Basement waterproofing is a big job, but it’s worth it if you want to keep your basement dry. Plus, a finished basement can add a lot of value to your home.


If you’re looking for a way to remove moisture from your basement or prevent it from happening in the first place, our team at Penguin Basements can help. We specialize in basement waterproofing and finishing, and are experts at keeping basements dry.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and to get a free estimate.

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