8 Tips for Repairing and Avoiding Basement Moisture in homes located in Saratoga NY


Saratoga Home Inspections, Saratoga Mold Assessors

Basements frequently are subject to moisture and or water intrusion. If moisture isses are not corrected they can lead to mold and or damage to the interior building materials, along with other potential issues.

Typically re-routing your gutters and installing a dehumidifier corrects such issues. However, if the cause of interior moisture is due to poor inteior or exterior drainage may have a bigger issue at hand.

Here are 8 steps to help eliminate and or reduce interior moisture within your basement.

#1 Extend and Reroute Gutters

If you have moisture on your walls and in your basement and you do not have gutters installed it may be time to call a contractor to install gutters. If you currently have gutters installed you may need to clean the gutters and or extend the gutter extension further away from the structure. The process simply requires an extension gutter to be added on to your downspout. The downside of gutter extension is they can potentially become a trip hazard as they may extend across your lawn or a walkway.

#2 Repair Small Leaks

Small cracks on the foundation walls and or floors may lead to water infiltration. If the cracks are considered normal and are not structural cracks you may be able to seal them off with hydrolic cement. This will prevent water intrusion which may lead to a damp basement.

#3 Slope Soil Away from House

Ideally, the soil around the perimiter of your home should slop away. The easiest way is to build up the soil around your foundation and create a slope away from the home. Building up your soil in close proximity to your siding may intract wood destorying organisms. The best solution is to simply slope the grading away from the house without building up the soil near your home. You should aim to hae a 6" slope over a 10' area away from your home.

#4 Landscape to Reroute Water

If simple grading does not correct the issue you may have to install a berm and swale. This entails digging a ditch that dumps water into the swale.

#5 Check Plumbing Drainage

If you notice leaks near the seams of the basement floor and walls, it is likely due to a hydro static pressure issue in the plumbing. During the house construction, plumbing would have been installed underground to route water away from the house and these can clog over time. The drain can be unclogged either at the footing drain or a manhole located in the basement floor. The pipes can be flushed with a garden hose through this drainage point, or a plumber can take care of the clog using an augur.

#6 Install a Trench

An interior trench drain is installed around the perimeter of the interior foundation. You would dig 2 feet deep and about 18" away from the wall around the perimeter. You'd then lay perferated pipe around the perimeter of the foundation to allow water to enter the pipe. The pipe should be sloped to a pit that contains a sump pump. Rocks and or stones are used to backfill the trench. This setup allows water that enters the perimeter of the foundation to be directed to the pit and discharged back to the exterior.

#7 Use a Water Pump

When subsurface water can’t be properly rerouted from the outside, there is the option of adding an interior drainage system that collects the water in a tank. This method requires creating a channel in the basement floor along the perimeter of the walls and adding perforated pipe in the path that leads to a collection tank that is attached to a sump pump that drains to the outside for water removal.

#8 Use Waterproof Paint on the Walls

Waterproofing interior walls assist with holding back moisture before it enters into the structure. With that being said waterproofing does not address exterior drainage issue. Waterproofing should not be used as a primary solution for moisture and or water issues in your basement.

All in all small moisture issues in your basement such as damp spots and or elevated humidity can be typically corrected with one of the few ways mentioned above such as gutters, grading and water proofing. Serious water intrusion issues should be address by a qualified contractor who understands interior and exterior drainage.


During a home inspection Shield Guard Building Inspection Services will inspect the gutters to determine functionality and setup, grading around the perimeter of the home. As a home inspector we may recommend installing additional gutters, cleaning gutters and or repairing gutters that are not functioning properly. Additionally the home inspection may reveal the need to re-grade the exterior of the home to direct water away from the foundation. Keep in mind interior water entry starts from the exterior. As a home inspector we may recommend an interior drainage system if there is significant water entering the structure. If during the home inspection it is discovered that the walls of an unfinished basement are moist and the floor is damp we may recommend a dehumidifier and or waterproofing the walls. While inspecting your home we pay special attention to staining on interior walls in the basement. This may indicate previous water entry and or the growth of mold. If we discover a sump pump during the home inspection we will test the pump to make sure the sump pump is operational. Additionally we will see how much water is entering the pit at the time of inspection and observe any water lines that may indicate previous high levels of water. Water intrusion in a finished basement can be a big deal. The our home inspection cover the basement and we pay special attention to water entry and drainage.

The Author Adam Clark is the owner and operator of Shield Guard Building Inspection Services. Adam Clark is a local Home Inspector located in Saratoga NY that has performed over 8500 Inspections Book online

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