The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Musty, Smelly Basement?

This spring Mr. Handyman has received many calls relating to water in the basement. Excessive moisture can be the source of a musty, moldy, smelly basement that can lead to health issues for the occupants. Keeping the basement dry is usually as simple as performing a few maintenance tasks.

1. Keep the gutters clean. Clogged gutters and downspouts lead to overflowing rainwater that gets deposited right next to the foundation and will eventually seep into the basement walls and up through the floor. The downspouts should have an extension at the bottom that directs the rainwater at least 4 ft away from the foundation.

2. Ensure the grade of the dirt up against the foundation allows for a minimum of 6 inch slope downward away from the house. The 6 inch reference is regarding dirt, not landscaping rock or mulch. Rock and mulch sometimes are built up to fill holes next to the foundation and the hole will trap water that will eventually get into the basement.

3. Immediately repair any leaky spigots on the outside of your home. Also, ensure the hose is attached firmly with a new rubber gasket to keep from dripping. Dripping water from a running garden hose seeps into the foundation and will get into the basement.

The health problems mold and mildew can cause are well documented and keeping the basement dry and free of these allergens is an important home maintenance task. Too much moisture against the foundation can also cause excessive settling of your home and lead to cracks in the drywall, doors that do not shut properly and may lead to very expensive repairs.