Wet basement

If the floor or walls of your basement are chronically wet, improving surface or subsurface drainage, or a combination of the two, could dry them out. The box at right shows the steps to take. But first, here's how to evaluate which steps are appropriate for your situation.

  • Seepage oozing through a basement wall at or near grade level is probably the result of a grade or downspout problem, both easily corrected, as shown at right.
  • Leaks farther down the wall or at floor level usually indicate that subsurface water is building up around the foundation and forcing its way in through cracks. Dig down to the level of the leaks—to the footings for floor-level leaks—and install perforated drain lines to carry the excess water away.
  • Subterranean water starts out as a thin, barely visible film of moisture on the basement floor. A spring or high water table is forcing water up from below under high pressure, turning your basement into a well. Drain lines around the footings may help reduce subterranean water, but you also may need to install a sump pump.

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