While you can do quite a bit to prevent water damage in your home, in many cases, water will find a way. For Minnesotans, various basement moisture issues are all too common. Every spring, homeowners and business owners turn to water restoration companies for help when all our snow melts, and houses and buildings start revealing their problem areas.
While basement flooding signs can be quite obvious, smaller leaks are often inconspicuous. If there’s moisture in your basement and you don’t know about it, you could end up with serious problems. When left undetected, any amount of water in the lowest level of your house can lead to hazardous structural damage and devalue your home.
Depending on its severity, basement water damage can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming to restore. And unfortunately, since basement water leaks aren’t always obvious, you may not even realize your home needs water damage restoration before the damage grows severe. If you suspect any small issue whatsoever, settling your hunch with a professional ASAP is the smartest thing to do!
There are a few ways to detect a hidden basement leak, and our water damage restoration team at Kiser Construction in Minnesota has those details below.
1. Musty Odor
If you own an older home and the basement has always smelled musty, it’s easy to assume that odor is normal. It’s probably not. Musty, dank odors anywhere in your home typically indicate the presence of water even if you can’t see it. If the air feels damp and humid, too, that’s a surefire sign your basement has a leak somewhere.
Likewise, if you’ve noticed a musty odor developing in your newer basement, it likely indicates water has found its way inside. To be safe, call a water damage restoration contractor who can inspect the room for signs of water intrusion. The sooner you find out what’s causing the musty odor, the less likely you’ll have to deal with severe damage.
2. Efflorescence on Unfinished Walls
Efflorescence looks like a chalky or even slightly sparkly residue on concrete walls. It happens when water gets inside your basement and evaporates. Since only water molecules can evaporate, any minerals or other substances present in the water will stay behind, creating an ashy residue on the walls of an unfinished basement.
If you notice this type of residue building on your basement or crawlspace walls, it’s time to call in the pros for a water damage inspection. While you may not be able to detect the presence of minor damage, a water restoration expert can, and the earlier you address the issue, the easier it’ll be to repair.
3. Concrete Spalling
If you can see that your stone, brick, or concrete walls are beginning to flake, peel, or crumble, that’s called spalling, and it only happens when moisture is present. When water leaks onto your basement walls and evaporates, it leaves salt deposits that gradually deteriorate unfinished masonry.
When you notice spalling, there is a good chance that your basement suffers from a small amount of water seepage, which a restoration contractor can easily find.
4. Mold or Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew can only grow when there’s moisture present. You might notice these organic growths cropping up in tight areas like corners or in spaces behind large objects (like shelves, washers, and dryers) where there isn’t a lot of ventilation.
Since mold and mildew can spread quickly and present a hazard to your health, it’s important to find any moisture sources feeding these organic growths. A water restoration pro can perform a comprehensive inspection to find where the water is entering your basement and fill you in the best way to address the damage.
Mold remediation means completing multiple steps, including removing all water from the space. Removing damp objects like carpets, furniture, or flooring and incorporating a dehumidifier can help reduce the levels, and any affected areas like walls, floors, baseboards, or other surfaces need disinfecting to eliminate bacteria. If the growths are severe, you’ll likely need to hire a mold remediation expert who can safely handle their removal.
It's not uncommon for concrete to crack as it cures, and this can promote water seepage. Vertical cracks are most likely from an aging foundation, and horizontal breaks are typically caused by pressure against the walls. So, if they are smaller at the top than the bottom or actively leaking, calling for professional restoration services is recommended.
Staining is another sign of a leak. Issues like rust on iron or steel components, rotting around wood doors and windows, and discoloration on flooring and walls are all indicators of water absorption that need to be addressed.
7. Dampness Or Water
Water seepages occur when water is forced through porous materials or cracks in the foundation. This can be caused by multiple issues, including poorly graded soil around the home's foundation, poorly maintained gutters, plumbing leaks, and drainage problems in the foundation. All of these can result in staining and dampness around cracks showing a more serious indicator of exterior problems, including foundation problems.
What Can Happen If You Leave Water Damage Untreated?
Even if there is a minor leak, you may not be too concerned about it; however, letting water sit can create extensive damage. Issues like structural deterioration from water-soaked wood beams or framing can weaken the structural integrity and break down the walls and flooring.
Electrical systems can be damaged from excess moisture inside the walls, and the space can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew buildup resulting in a lower value on your property.
Worried About Water Damage in Your Minnesota Basement?
If you think your Minnesota basement might have some long-standing water damage that needs professional attention, Kiser Construction in Elk River can help. We’ll thoroughly inspect the area for water intrusion, let you know if there’s existing damage, and fill you in on how severe it is.
From there, we’ll develop a restoration plan that meets your needs and help you file your insurance claim if you need us.
What Types of Water Damage Does Home Insurance Cover?
In most cases, your insurance will cover water issues from leaking roofs to burst pipes, and typically the water damage will be covered if it is unexpected and happens inside your home. The most common damages include:
● The mold occurred from accidental damage and not neglect.
● Rain and snow from extreme weather.
● Plumbing damages if they burst from weather, old age, or a bad install.
● Water damage from putting out a fire.
● If the plumbing was damaged accidentally from a burglary or intrusion.
Get Water Restoration Services in the Twin Cities Area
To get started with your free estimate from our Minnesota water restoration experts, call our Elk River office at your convenience: 763-633-2010.
Or, send us a message with any questions or concerns, and we’ll be in touch promptly!