Basement leaks are a common problem in Indianapolis, especially if the home is older or was built in a lowland area. Heavy rains and rapid snowmelt during the spring are two of the biggest culprits for causing serious damage if your basement is not properly sealed. Basement leaks can weaken your home's foundation, damage stored valuables, and lead to health hazards like mold. Keep out moisture and preserve the value of your home by looking for these common warning signs of a basement leak.
Cracks in The Walls or Floors
One of the tell-tale signs of a basement leak is the appearance of cracks and hairline fractures on the walls or floors. This problem is caused by water absorbing into the concrete, getting trapped inside, and then creating these fissures in the process of evaporating. In the case of a serious leak, you may even notice the cracks will feel damp. While these cracks begin small and superficial, they can grow to cause significant structural damage to your home's foundation. You should monitor hairline fractures closely to see if they get bigger. If the gap does widen, or if the crack is already very visible, it's time to call in professional help.
A Musty Smell or Visible Mold
Damp, humid basements will often develop a strong, musty odor. This tell-tale sign of a serious basement leak is caused by the presence of mold, mildew or even dry rot. Along with the bad smell, these organisms are a real health hazard, especially if anyone in your family is allergic. Moisture and very humid air will both help bacteria flourish in the darkest spots of your basement. Try to find the source of the bad smell in rafters, crawlspaces, or dark corners. More importantly, eliminate this hazard for good by getting professional help repairing the basement leak.
This raised, white substance that can show up on your basement walls is actually salt. Efflorescence happens when the building material has absorbed so much water that the natural salts inside begin dissolving into the moisture. When the water evaporates, the salt deposits are left behind on the surface. Your walls need to be significantly wet for this process to occur, which makes efflorescence a serious warning sign of a basement leak.
Finding discolored or gray patches on your basement walls is one of the most obvious signs of an active leak. The discoloration may also come with peeling paint, which is another sign this spot is accumulating moisture. Watermarks are commonly seen coming down from the top of the wall or under a window well, especially after heavy rain. Pipe penetrations, such as for gas and water connections, are another vulnerable point where you might notice water get in and leave behind a stain. The good news is that finding a watermark means you know exactly where the leak is located, which can simplify the repair process.
Rotting Wood or Warped Drywall
Some warning signs of a basement leak will come from observing how moisture and excessively humid air will affect the materials you might have in your basement. You may notice walls or door frames made of drywall have become warped or buckled, which is a symptom that they absorbed water. You should also check any wooden spots, such as beams or rafters, for signs of flaking or rotting. Look for any discolored or damp areas that can help you identify a direct leak. Wood that's weak and decayed may have "dry rot", which is another sure sign of excessive moisture from a leak.
The damage from a basement leak can worsen over time and create serious problems, especially when it comes to problems with your home's foundation. If you've noticed any of these warning signs in your basement, our experienced pros can help. Call us today at 317-648-5266 to schedule a FREE inspection.