Wetness is a very common problem in homes that have a basement. Sometimes it is a noticeable wetness, like puddles in the corners or color changes. Other times, the clues are less noticeable and may involve just a musty smell that you notice when you venture into the basement or mildew and mold on boxes or other items that are stored there. Often, a basement will become damp and wet if there is water that is not drained away from it properly. If your soil stays wet near your home it can seep in through concrete walls that are not treated. Regardless of what causes it, you should know that there are ways to improve the waterproofness of your basement walls and floors.

One of the most effective ways is often not the most economical. It involves you excavating the land around your basement to try and add in a better drainage system around your home. Other outside options include making sure your gutters are working properly and perhaps extend them further out so that the rain is directed to an area further from your home.

If you are not ready to commit to waterproofing the outside of your home, you can first try to waterproof the interior area of your basement. To do this, you should first fill any cracks that you can find with a caulking that is designed for masonry use. After that, you can paint the interior walls using a cement coating, a silicate based sealer, or an acrylic paint.  All of these options can be brushed on, though the coating requires a heavier duty brush to apply it. Most of the paints may require more than one coat, but if it stops the water, you will feel better about storing your items in the basement.

If you smell something musty in your basement, but you cannot feel the dampness seeping in, you can test the walls and floor to see where your problem may be found. To do this, you need a good sized piece of tin foil and some tape that will stick to concrete. You need to place the foil down and tape around each edge. In a day or two, check the tin foil to see if there is moisture on either side. If you have moisture on the side away from the wall, there is dampness in the basement that does not come from the wall. If it is toward the wall, you may have to waterproof the outside of your home.

Sometimes it is easy to tell that you have dampness inside of your basement. If it is severe, you will notice puddles or visually be able to tell that there is a variation in the color of cement. Other times, it may be damp, but not as noticeably. This could be when you open the door to your basement and it smells musty or you look at an area near a wall and notice that there is mildew on it. The good news is, you can fix the problem, no matter how severe it may be, and you can do it from the inside in most cases.

If you are wondering how you can waterproof your basement from the inside, you do not need to look any further than your local hardware store. There are concrete waterproofing coats that you can put on the walls and floor, even if you have previously painted them. Other, slightly cheaper, alternatives include a silicate based sealer and an acrylic paint. You should keep in mind that the silicate based treatment option will not work if you have painted your walls previously.

Before you begin painting, you need to use a polyurethane caulk to fill in all gaps and cracks that are present in the walls or floor of your basement. Polyurethane caulking is designed for masonry work. All cracks that are larger may need a different type of filler. There is an epoxy filler that you can use, but you can also ask for advice on other ways to fill in the cracks before you get started.

After that is finished, using paint or a coating on your basement walls and floor is not a difficult process. All three options can be applied with a brush, but you do need a brush that will apply a thick layer if you plan to use the concrete waterproofing type. Both the silicate and acrylic types can be applied using rollers or a paint sprayer as well. The downside is that you may need more than one gallon, even if you have a smaller sized basement.

Once the paints and fillers have dried, you may want to check for further moisture by using tin foil taped securely to the wall where you found the most moisture. When doing this, make sure you tape all sides of a square foot of tin foil. Leave it alone for a couple days and remove it. If there is still moisture on the wall side, you will need to seal the outside of your basement. If there is water away from the wall side of the foil, you have other issues that need to be addressed.

Think about your basement and you probably envision a room within your home that is mostly concrete, normally cool, and slightly damp, especially if you have an older home. However, even newer homes that have basements in them, have issues with moisture in that area. It could be caused by either the soil around your home staying naturally damp or poor drainage around your home. There are things you can do to help your basement stay a little drier, but first, you have to decide whether your basement is as waterproof as it should be.

One easy way to check to find out about how much dampness is in the basement is to tape foil or plastic wrap to the walls and see how much wetness you have after a few days. If it wet on the topside, you have a leak somewhere. If it is on the bottom, you have moist walls or floors. You can also clear out things that you have near your walls and in corners. If you notice that boxes are damp or the floors and wall feel moist, you could have an issue. Some people have even noticed water puddles up near the walls and these may form if you have excessive amounts of moisture.

If you notice water or boxes that have become soaked on the bottom and you are sure water is not leaking in when it rains, there are things you can do. There are ways to treat the inside walls to make them more resistant to dampness and there are things you can do to the outside of your home. However, if your basement is built below ground, you may find it preferable to try to eliminate the dampness from the inside first and attempt it a couple times before doing it outside. You should keep in mind though that the best way to eliminate dampness is to go from outside.

No matter which way you choose to treat your basement, you are making a good choice by taking care of it as soon as you realize there is a problem. Not only can water damage things you may have stored in your basement, but any dampness increases the risk of mold and mildew forming. It may also rot any wooden surfaces you have that make contact with damp walls. This can include beams in its ceiling or shelving that you may have along your walls, all of which can make your basement a place that you do not want to venture into.