Your basement gives you a lot of additional space, but if it is like many basements, it's prone to being cool and damp. Once you take steps to dry out your basement and prevent future moisture from accumulating in it, you can have a space to use that is as comfortable as your upstairs area. Here are some ways to keep your basement dry for future remodeling projects so you can enjoy that space.
Route Water Away From the House
During rainstorms or melting snowfall, water should flow away from the house. Any water that pools up against the foundation will increase the humidity in the basement. Any cracks or leaks in the foundation can let water into the basement where it will pool in the low spots of the concrete floor. All of this water needs to be directed away from the house and out to the street or city storm sewer.
Clean out, repair or replace any gutters so the water from the roof is sent away from the house. Fill in any low areas in your yard that allow water to collect with gravel and topsoil. If possible, re-grade the yard so the ground is higher at the foundation and slopes gradually away from the house.
Repair the Foundation
Contract with a basement waterproofing company to repair any cracks in the foundation. They can dig down against the exterior of the foundation and apply a waterproofing membrane against the concrete to prevent water from entering the basement. This would also be a good time to do the topsoil work to slope the yard away from the house.
Fighting the Water Table
If the foundation is below or near the top of the water table, you may frequently deal with water in the basement when it rains. As the water table rises, the pressure forces water into the basement. The waterproofing company can install a sump pump to remove any water before it accumulates in the basement.
The sump pump sits in a well below the foundation and is triggered by rising water. A switch turns on the pump when the well fills. The pump sends the water out into the city drainage system so it doesn't flood the basement.
Insulate Any Water Pipes
Water pipes, especially the copper ones, can form condensation on the pipe making the basement feel humid. Foam insulation wrapped around the exposed pipes will prevent this little bit of moisture from occurring.
Install Vents and Fans to Keep Humid Air Out
If you have a laundry room or bathroom in the basement, make sure any moist air is vented to the outside of the house. Check that the dryer vent and bathroom fan ductwork have no holes to allow moist air to escape into the basement.
Include Additional Waterproofing In Remodeling Projects
If you decide to build a family room or office downstairs, the general contractor will add a vapor barrier to the walls before the drywall is put in place. They may also put a vapor barrier on the floor before putting down carpet or tile. This extra protection will keep condensation from the concrete from coming into the living area.