Basement flooding is an event that no homeowner wants to deal with. While flooding in the basement is generally less serious than flooding elsewhere in the house, it can still lead to large amounts of both short- and long-term damage. And, like any type of flooding, it can sometimes be difficult to determine the full extent of the damage until much later. Luckily, basement flooding doesn't have to be a fact of life. Water will always try to follow a path of least resistance into your home, which often means intrusions onto lower levels, but with vigilance and proactive maintenance you can keep your house dry.
Keep an eye out for these three signs of a water problem and consider hiring a basement waterproofing services if you spot any of them.
Water Pooling Outside the House
Most people first look for flooding problems in the basement itself, but early signs of trouble are usually evident outside. In particular, keep an eye out for areas close to your foundation that seem to be perpetually damp or where water might be pooling. If you have a french drain or footing drain, it is still possible that extreme amounts of water can overload the drainage system and find its way into your home. If you don't have a drainage system installed, then these damp areas represent a serious threat. Any time that water is collecting in one area near the foundation you should be concerned that it may ultimately work its way into your basement.
If you do notice problem areas, you should first attempt to locate the source of the water. In some cases, it may indicate a plumbing issue or other problem that can be resolved first.
A Musty Odor or Obvious Dampness
Basements are always musty and damp, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case at all. A basement that is properly sealed against the elements should be as dry and free of unusual odors as any other part of your home. If you notice that your basement is beginning to smell damp and musty, this is almost certainly a sign that water is beginning to make its way inside. If possible, spend some time looking for areas along the floor or walls that look particularly damp. You will most likely be able to find one or more locations where water is making its way in, although they may not be immediately apparent.
Cracks in the Walls
Foundation damage is a homeowner's worst nightmare, but finding it early is much better than waiting until it has become a major issue. Regularly examine your interior basement walls for cracks. Even small cracks represent a major problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Cracks with moisture or obvious water seepage are especially problematic and need to be evaluated by a professional as soon as possible. Remember that relatively small cracks in a foundation can almost always be repaired, so dealing with the problem now is likely to save you a lot of money and pain in the future.
If you notice any of these problems, don't wait to act. It is a good rule of thumb that once water makes its way into a basement, it will continue to do so until the problem is found and fixed. In fact, water problems have a tendency to get much worse over time, so a small amount of moisture can rapidly turn into serious water infiltration. An inspection by trained professionals, followed by repairs and fresh waterproofing can help to keep your basement dry for years to come.