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One Problem Basement Waterproofing Can't Solve


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The best way to keep outside water from infiltrating your home is to institute a comprehensive basement waterproofing program. And whether basement waterproofing means installing complex drainage systems or reinforcing your foundation, it means saving potentially thousands of dollars in home repair costs, and avoiding the heartbreak of foundation cracks and black mold.

But of course, not all basement moisture comes from outside. Traditional basement waterproofing can only go so far toward keeping the crevasses and crawlspaces of your home completely dry. And traditional basement waterproofing can't prevent condensation from happening inside your home.

When water condenses in the remote corners of your house, it can damage woodwork and create the perfect environment for mold and mildew to thrive. Sure, waterproofing your basement will prevent moisture from wicking through the concrete of your foundation. But if your condensation is caused by poor insulation or ventilation, all the basement waterproofing in the world won't help.

If you live in a cold climate, you may see water vapor form after everyday activities like cooking, showering or doing laundry. But water vapor needs a way out of your home; if it doesn't find one, it condenses on cold surfaces like the spaces between walls, or in the roof framing. Add too much condensation to these places, and they start looking good to black mold and mildew, which can result in major structural damage, or worse, health problems. And while a leaky roof might be obvious after a few days, water inside walls can go unchecked for years at a time.

But don't worry: There's a twofold solution.

Part one is good insulation. When your home is well-insulated, surfaces vulnerable to mold growth and decomposition won't get too cold, and condensation won't form. So it's important to keep all attics and crawlspaces well-ventilated, as well as interior walls. The insulation will wick away the moisture from the inside of the walls. Insulation also ensures that not too much air - which carries water vapor with it - can escape into the attic and walls.

Part two is good ventilation. Water vapor needs a place to go, and you want it to go outside the house. Think of ventilation as a fail-safe for those times insulation can't do its job. When water vapor does escape into the attic, it'll simply head outside.

Basement waterproofing is an important component to keeping a dry basement and maintaining the structural integrity of your home. But ventilation and insulation are just as important - and the responsible homeowner takes on moisture at all levels.

D. Michael Kirby is a freelance writer living in California. He writes about home improvement, health and fitness, travel, technology, and a wide array of other topics. One of his clients, Right Way Waterproofing, serves clients with basement waterproofing, basement remodeling and mold remediation needs in throughout the Delaware Valley, in Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey, throughout Bucks County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Burlington County, Mercer County and Delaware County, including Langhorne, Newtown, Yardley, Bensalem, Warminster, Morrisville, Lower Makefield, Trenton, Newark, Wilmington, King of Prussia, Newtown Square, the Main Line and Bala Cynwyd.

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