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What Is Rising Damp?

Thursday, January 9th, 2020
rising damp

“Rising damp” may sound like the name of an Eighties metal band. However, it’s actually a phenomenon that occurs inside homes which can cause noticeable water damage as well as impact the overall health of the indoor environment. Expressed simply, rising damp is moisture that is absorbed upwards into the structure of a home from an ongoing source of wetness somewhere below.

How Does It Happen?

Moisture accumulating underneath a structure may be drawn upwards into certain absorbent building materials, most notably drywall, plaster, and masonry. Think of it as the effect of water being sucked up by a dry paper towel.

Where Does the Moisture Come From?

Groundwater rising up beneath the house keeps the crawl space underneath chronically wet. This moisture may be gradually soaked up into structural materials above.

A chronically wet basement due to seepage from outdoor soil, frequent flooding, or even plumbing leaks, may also provide a water source that migrates upwards into the structure.

What Are the Consequences?

Rising moisture content inside building materials gradually deteriorates the material. You may first notice that affected walls always feel damp. This typically progresses to flaking paint, peeling wallpaper, and eventually decomposing, stained drywall.

Chronically damp building materials indoors also provide a focal point for mold growth. Airborne spores released by growing mold spread contamination throughout the house and may trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.

How Can It Be Treated?

Eiminate the moisture source.

  • The crawl space should have a plastic cover installed atop the soil to prevent intrusion of rising ground moisture, as well as adequate ventilation.
  • Reduce seepage through basement walls by grading landscape to divert pooling rainwater away from the house perimeter. A french drain installed in the ground can also remove excess soil water. Seal obvious cracks or leaks in basement walls that admit water.
  • Water permeating through the basement floor can be removed by a sump pump.
  • Identify and repair plumbing leaks.

Chronically moist and/or moldy sections of drywall in the house may be unrepairable. However, they can be cut out and replaced with new material.

4 Steps for Drying Out a Wet Basement

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

If drying out a wet basement is on your to-do list, you’re not alone. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the majority of residential basements have moisture issues. In almost 40 percent of those, toxic mold growth is the unwelcome result. Other downsides of dampness include mildew, musty odors that permeate the entire house, water-damaged structure and inability to utilize basement space for storage or other purposes, due to the constant presence of moisture.

Drying out a wet basement often requires a multi-faceted approach to eliminate all potential moisture contributors. Here are four main sources of wetness and what to do about them.

drying out a wet basementReduce Condensation

“Sweat” on cool concrete basement walls and cold water pipes indicates a condensation problem. Warm, moist air migrating into the basement naturally condenses when it contacts these and other cold, underground components. To cut condensation; keep air moving with fans, heat a clammy basement during winter, insulate pipes and install a dehumidifier.

Clear Gutters

What’s a gutter on the roof got to do with moisture in the basement? Overflowing gutters cascade water around the perimeter of the foundation, deeply saturating the soil and permeating basement walls. During rainy seasons, clogged gutters serve as a continuous source of moisture infiltrating the basement.

Resolve Runoff Issues

Rainfall and snow-melt should flow away from the foundation. When it accumulates in pools instead, water soaks into basement walls. Grade landscape away from the house to encourage runoff into the yard. Also, flower beds around the perimeter of the house with open soil readily admit more water into the ground than areas covered with turf.

Drain Away Ground Water

If the natural water table beneath your house fluctuates, it may exert pressure on the underside of the foundation, allowing moisture into the basement. To relieve the pressure, a tile drainage system can be installed around the perimeter of the foundation. Usually, this is accompanied by installation of a sump pump in the basement floor.

Find out more about drying out a wet basement before mold growth and water damage result. Contact the professionals at Rytech, Inc.

3 Signs of a Drainage Problem in the Home

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Signs of a drainage problem may be subtle or glaring, but the long-term consequences are always hard to ignore. Homes are built to keep water out. When something goes awry in construction or maintenance, however, household water damage and/or toxic mold growth may result. Prevention is always the more cost-effective approach to all water damage issues, so be alert to these telltale signs of a drainage problem around your home and get professional advice promptly:

signs of a drainage problemOverflowing Gutters

Proper drainage from the roof during rain and snowmelt is vital to protect against water damage. When gutters overflow, water runs down external walls that aren’t constructed to repel a continuous cascade of water. Very quickly, water penetrates siding and interior wall spaces and begins the process of deteriorating wooden structural components and triggering mold growth. The sight of gutters overflowing means they’re clogged with debris such as fallen leaves, improperly pitched to drain water properly, or just too small for the square footage of roof they’re supposed to drain.

Pooling Near The Foundation

When the landscape around the house is properly graded, water flows away from the foundation perimeter. When the landscape slopes upward from the foundation, however, water pools around the house and continuously saturates the soil adjacent to the foundation and basement walls. This constant water source seeps into the house through basement walls and cracks in the foundation.

Rising Ground Water

You can’t do much about the height of the natural water table beneath your house. However, rising ground water exerts hydrostatic pressure on the underside of the foundation, eroding and permeating the concrete, seeping through cracks and causing a continuously damp basement. A properly-installed drain tile system can convey ground water away from the house before it penetrates the basement. A sump pump installed in a basin in the basement floor also provides vital protection against acute ground water intrusion, especially during times of heavy rain or melting snow.

If you see signs of a drainage problem around your house, talk to the professionals at Rytech about options to prevent water damage.

Sump Pump Maintenance Keeps the Risk of Malfunction and Water Damage at Bay

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Sump Pump MaintenanceBecause the basement is the lowest point in the house, a sump pump helps prevent water damage from both below and above. Proper sump pump maintenance makes sure the sump pump will be ready to do the job when it’s needed. (more…)