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5 Common Causes of Problems in the Basement

By April 17, 2015April 15th, 2019No Comments

Basement Cracked PargingEvery spring, a number of Edmonton homeowners, just going about their day, make an unpleasant discovery when they head down to the basement to fetch some lightbulbs or throw in a load of laundry. The first few weeks of spring are often when problems in the basement rear their ugly heads.

You can’t fix a problem until you identify it, so here are five of the most common causes of problems in the basement.

Musty Smell

That nasty, musty “basement” smell is usually caused by mould. Mould grows in the spaces where moisture and inadequate ventilation meet. If you find mould in the house, be sure you address the moisture and ventilation issues, as well ensuring the mould is thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise, the problem could become a recurring one, and it can only get worse as time goes on.

Chalky Wall Residue

Unless you live in a cave and the white substance on the walls is actually ancient artwork, you are probably dealing with efflorescence. This problem occurs when water evaporates and some of the salt that naturally occurs in the concrete stays behind. The good news is, it’s harmless. The bad news is, it’s a sign of trouble with excess water. Special formulations to clean it can help, but they can’t keep it from coming back again.

Troubles with Old Parging

Parging is an exterior masonry material, which means that over time it can deteriorate. This leaves your foundation vulnerable as it’s exposed to the harsh outdoor elements. Be sure to have the foundation inspected for signs of damage before calling us for a fresh parging application to prevent this problem from happening again next year!

Window Leaks

Concrete has been known to deteriorate over time, but a much more likely culprit for water and the problems it creates in the basement is old, worn out windows. Windows, and more specifically the seals around them, wear away over time. This is especially true for basement windows that have snow and ice right up against them all winter long. Sometimes simply re-sealing any windows in the basement will fix a multitude of problems.


Never mind what it does to your hair, humidity does a number on your basement too! Even without an obvious source of water troubles, basements can often be very humid places. This is largely a problem of ventilation. You can run a dehumidifier in the spring, and whenever possible, opening the windows will help. Be sure to remember to close them again at night, for safety’s sake.

There is virtually no problem in the home that can’t be fixed, it just helps to know where to start looking! Check back here in the future for more tips to help you manage your home. Be sure you don’t miss any of the informative home improvement articles that we regularly share. Join our online communities on Twitter and Facebook today!