November’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Wet Basements and Crawlspaces

Warning signs that indicate a moisture problem exists in a basement or crawl space should be followed by a full assessment.

WET ALERTS include:

  • Humidity over 60%, which may indicate moisture exists but the source may be hidden … a leaking pipe, water lying against the exterior walls, water entering cracks in walls.
  • Condensation on structural components or other components within the space, which may indicate that warm moist air is entering the cooled area.
  • Peeling paint, which may indicate water is seeping under the paint and causing it to bubble.
  • Cracked walls, which may indicate that severe pressure is occurring under the floor or behind the wall. This could lead to structural damage as well.
  • Cracked walls, which may indicate that the concrete was not allowed to cure properly or that pockets of air were not properly removed during the initial installation of the foundation. Water will then force its way through the wall.
  • A coating of efflorescense on the wall, which indicates that moisture may be seeping through the wall. Efflorescense is the salt and chemical residue from either the soil or concrete wall.
  • Buckling or bowed-in walls, which may indicate severe pressure behind the wall. It may have originally been hydrostatic pressure or water pressure, but over time it could transition to the pressure coming from the weight of the soil pressing against the foundation walls.
  • Mold, which may indicate high-humidity events or moisture events.
  • Puddles, which may indicate that the footings are too narrow or not laid deep enough, causing them to be susceptible to movement caused by soil erosion.

Although multiple signs seem to become evident all at once, quite often the problems were gradual and unnoticed.  Water problems can also originate because of one event such as local dynamiting, a storm that saturates the ground, or recent changes to landscaping.  All these events can also change the composition of the ground around the basement or crawl space creating new water entry paths.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit


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