Solve Moisture Problems in Concrete Basements
Solve moisture problems in concrete basements by following the instructions below. But first, learn more about moisture problems in below grade concrete so you fully understand the problem at hand.
Moisture wicking through below grade concrete walls can be a real problem for home owners. After rain or heavy snow melt you can usually see signs of this. Unfortunately this moisture will lead to mold growth. Subsequently leading to health and respiratory problems to inhabitants. Mold growth mitigation and remediation can be super expensive and should be prevented at all costs.
When the ground becomes saturated with moisture causing hydrostatic pressure against the concrete, the concrete will act like a sponge to draw moisture to the surface. This capillarity transmission of moisture in concrete will bring water or moisture from under the slab or behind the walls to the surface. With some basements and floors the intrusion may be every time it rains or just certain times of the year. There are times when moisture will be present one year and not next year, or year after year the same problem happens. It is imperative to make sure your basement or concrete floor is waterproofed before it happens again.
A lot of below grade concrete walls have tar like sealer applied to the outside of the walls. Unfortunately many don’t so they allow the moisture to penetrate the substrate. In addition, many of these coatings break down over time and will allow water transmission through micro cracks in the sealer.
Problems with Moisture and Concrete
One of the most common problems with moisture in concrete is the chalky white substance that is on the surface of concrete floors or walls. This is called efflorescence. This efflorescence is left on the surface when moisture makes its way to the surface thus brings the salts and alkali solution to the surface. Then the water evaporates leaving the efflorescence on the concrete surface. This can be a recurring process every time moisture is drawn from under a concrete slab to the surface. Efflorescence will also cause paint or epoxy coatings to lose their bond with concrete wall or floor.
Another major problem with moisture in concrete is mold growth, which is a real health concern to humans and animals. Spores only need the presents of moisture for 24 hours in order to become active. Mold maybe growing in places where you can’t see it, like behind walls and paint or under carpets and other floor coverings. Mildew and mold can leave a basement smelling musty and will cause breathing or skin problems. For example the EPA says that mold can cause asthma attacks, irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs. That sounds awful doesn’t it?!!
How To Solve Moisture Problems in Concrete Basements
You want to eliminate the problem at its source. Waterproof the concrete! This will prevent the moisture from migrating through the substrate.
First off, remove any paint or sealers from the concrete walls or floors. Penetrating sealers won’t migrate into the substrate if there’s a barrier ( like paint or epoxy ) blocking it. Secondly, fill in any hairline cracks with a Portland cement mix. Push the mixture into the cracks with your hand or a grout trowel. Next apply Creto Deep Penetrating Sealer (DPS) to all of the the bare concrete using a paint roller. You can pour the sealer into a paint tray and work out of that. The sealer will penetrate deep into the substrate and react to the free lime and alkali in concrete. It will start to close off the capillary transmission of water and moisture vapor through the concrete. Keep each section wet with sealer for 30 minutes. This will allow maximum penetration into the porous concrete.
Check out our video below for more information!
Mold And Health Information