Condensation: One Problem Basement Waterproofing Can’t Always Solve

Basement waterproofing is the best way you can keep outside water from infiltrating your home, damaging its foundation and infesting it with mold. When you engage in a sincere effort at basement waterproofing — whether its installing indoor or outdoor drainage systems, or reinforcing your foundation — you potentially save thousands of dollars in home repair costs that might stem from repairs down the road.

But not all moisture comes from the great outdoors, and basement waterproofing can only go so far toward keeping the nooks and crannies of your home dry and mold-free. Condensation is one of the most insidious ways water can sneak into your home, damaging woodwork and creating breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Sometimes, in cases where water vapor is wicking into your home through foundation concrete, basement waterproofing can solve the problem. But sometimes condensation is caused by poor insulation, in which case all the basement waterproofing in the world won’t prevent it.

Particularly if you live in a cold weather environment, you may see water vapor start to form in your home from everyday activities such as showering, bathing and cooking. But water vapor needs a way to exit your home — and if it doesn’t, it can condense on cold surfaces, like roof framing or the spaces between walls. Too much moisture in these spaces can cause wood to rot and mold to thrive. Major structural damage — or worse, health problems — can result. And though roof leaks can be obvious, water inside walls can remain undetected for years.

Part of the solution here is to keep your home adequately insulated, so the surfaces vulnerable to decomposition and mold growth don’t get too cold. This means insulating and ventilating attics and crawlspaces, and keeping interior walls well insulated as well. Insulation is important in ensuring that no air can escape into the attic and walls, since air can carry water vapor with it. Ventilation can act as a fail-safe for those times the insulation doesn’t do its job; when water vapor does escape into the attic, it can escape to the great outdoors.

Basement waterproofing is a vital component in making sure excess moisture doesn’t enter your house and damage its structure. But proper insulation and ventilation are just as important, and a responsible homeowner has a holistic approach to maintaining low moisture levels inside the home.