It’s a rule of nature: pulled by gravity, water always flows downward, relentlessly seeking the lowest point through even tiny openings. For many homeowners, that natural law sets up a constant struggle to keep water out of the lowest part of their house: the basement. Water may pour in suddenly from storm flooding. It could seep through unsealed walls when water tables rise as the seasons change. Litres could splash onto the floor from a broken washing machine hose. Toilets may back up on the home’s first floor and leak through basement ceilings.
Regardless of the reason for a wet basement, drying it out requires special processes, equipment and considerations for safe, effective and complete restoration:
- Supplemental heat. Many basements are unheated or kept at temperatures that are lower than those in upstairs living areas. Supplemental heat is often required to speed evaporation and dry the area to required levels.
- Supplemental ventilation. Because most basements feature few windows and doors, air exchange is low. Industrial fans and other air-moving equipment are often necessary to speedily and continuously remove humidified air from the wet basement and pull in drier outside air.
- Utilities. Gas or electric services may enter through the basement; soaked connections can make flooded areas dangerous or deadly. Trained personnel must evaluate conditions and safely shut off services before drying commences.
- Contaminants. Homeowners may store dangerous substances – paints, solvents, pesticides – in basements that could be released or damaged during a flood. Unless properly handled, these substances endanger those entering the basement to begin drying procedures.
- Ground soil vapor barriers. Often, basements are exposed to surrounding humid soil through attached crawl spaces or dirt floors. Trained personnel must install or restore vapor barriers to prevent drying procedures from pulling in additional moisture from damp soil.
- Air pressure. If it’s not properly managed, air pressure during drying forces humidity into surrounding areas with cooler temperatures and surfaces. This can cause condensation and secondary damage.
Finally, basement flooding may damage an important structural support for the house. Trained professionals like Paul Davis can arrange engineering evaluation if structural damage is suspected. When it comes to drying wet basements, This Is No Time For Second Best®.