5 Best Solutions for a Damp Basement

By Amanda Lutz Updated December 12, 2023

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Drying out a damp basement may seem like a hassle, but preventing mold and mildew growth will save you from more serious structural issues down the road. Read our guide below for tips on how to address a damp basement, protect your home’s foundation, and prevent structural damage to your house.


Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers pull humidity out of a room, help remove musty odor, and mitigate that muggy feeling that sits on your skin when excess moisture lingers in the air. You can buy dehumidifiers at most department stores as portable units or as wall-mount models.

Dehumidifiers are available in desiccant and refrigerant styles. Desiccant dehumidifiers act like sponges by sucking in humid air, drying it, and releasing it back into the room. These humidifiers work best in unheated rooms and are quieter than refrigerant humidifiers, but they may warm rooms.

Refrigerant humidifiers suck in most air and run it through a series of cold and hot coils to remove moisture. These humidifiers blow out warmed and dried air and maintain level temperatures. They work quickly and are cost-efficient.


Drainage

One of the most common causes of water entering a basement is rainwater runoff. Diverting water away from your home’s foundation will help you keep your basement floor and walls dry. The following strategies will help to improve your home’s drainage systems:


Insulation

Certain types of insulation can address water and mold issues. Consider installing these insulation types:


Ventilation

Ventilating a basement is one of the most energy-efficient ways to eliminate moisture. You can ventilate your basement naturally by opening windows to increase airflow, or you can employ one of the following options:


Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing prevents moisture buildup and creates a barrier that helps reduce the risk of mildew and mold. Consider using one of the following methods once you have eliminated moisture, mold, or efflorescence, which is a white crystalline salt deposit.


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Leaks and floods are sometimes inevitable, but you can take steps to ensure your basement stays dry. Use dehumidifiers or ventilation, or consult restoration experts, to dry out a basement before it gets musty or moldy.

Once you’ve ensured your basement is dry, seal walls and windows and fix or extend gutters. Install waterproofing, French drains, and sump pumps to control ongoing issues. You can tackle these projects if you have DIY experience, but don’t hesitate to hire a waterproofing professional to install complex waterproofing solutions.

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Damp Basement Solutions FAQ

What are the risks of living in a damp basement?

The risks of living in a damp basement include developing respiratory illness or an allergic reaction. A damp basement is a hot spot for mold growth, and mold exposure can lead to acute respiratory reactions, asthma, and shortness of breath.

What are the symptoms of a damp basement?

The symptoms of a damp basement are condensation on walls and floors, wood rot, damp air, stained ceilings or walls, and mildew odors. You may also find water puddling on the floor or trickling down the walls.

How do I fix moisture in basement walls?

To fix moisture in basement walls, seal cracks, waterproof walls and windows, and remove exterior water sources. You can remove exterior water sources by fixing leaky gutters and hoses, grading soil from the foundation, and planting trees and shrubs to absorb excess water.