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Signs of Water Damage in the Basement


One of the most common problems and sometimes, one of the most ignored as well, is water damage in the basement. Often the problem becomes apparent after the warning signs have been ignored.  Water damage can be the cause of health issues as well as the loss of valuable or memorable items. To reduce the risk of loss from water damage, look for these telltale signs.

Stains and Rust

Stains in carpets and flooring, or rust marks in metal items should alert a homeowner that moisture or water is permeating through somewhere in the basement. A thorough inspection of the entire area will likely reveal the origin of the problem. Sometimes the stains are on the walls or floors, under a carpet, or even under boxes.

A Musty Smell

A dry basement should not smell musty. A musty odor is a sign that there is humidity in the air and that water is permeating somewhere whether or not it is visible.  A musty smell may preclude mold if not addressed promptly.

Signs of Mold

House mold is generally characterized by dark, white, or gray stains in the vicinity of a humid or wet area. The mold spores, which are airborne, need a moist environment to survive. Mold is the cause of many health issues, such as respiratory problems, allergies, and in some extreme cases violent sickness and illness. Sometimes, mold might be hard to spot because it could be behind the walls or under floorboards. However, a strong musty smell can be a sign of mold in the area. If nothing can be spotted, a professional’s opinion might be the best way to tell. Mold should be eliminated immediately before the problems spread and get worse, causing serious health issues.

Damaged Concrete and Spalling

When there is water damage in a basement, or a leak somewhere, a white crystallized residue or stain forms. This is due to minerals in the water and the reaction with a surface. Left untreated this issue will turn into corrosion of a concrete wall or surface, leading in the future to structural problems. This corrosion is known as spalling.



Expert Opinion

Quote:“When you experience a flooded basement for the first time, it’s imperative to determine if the water problems are going to reoccur or if it was a one-time event. Can you safely leave your property downstairs once you’ve got the mess cleaned up? Or does everything need to come upstairs immediately? What’s certain is that if water in your basement is a consistent problem, it’s time to start making decisions. ”

SourceWet Basement Problems State Farm



“Wet Basement – State Farm.” State Farm Insurance – Auto Insurance, Car Insurance, Life, Homeowners, & More. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.

“How to Prevent a Leaking Basement : How-To : DIY Network.” DIY Network – Home Improvement How-To & Projects : DIY Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.

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