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How do I Dry out a Wet Basement?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
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Dealing with basement moisture is important to the health of everyone living in the home, as well as the stability of the structure. If water is allowed to stand in a basement, mold will develop and the moisture will begin to deteriorate the construction. Fortunately, there is a simple way to dry out a wet basement, and protect your home and your loved ones.

Your first task is to address the reason behind the wet basement. If the issue came amount due to a burst water pipe, make sure the water supply is turned off and the pipe repaired before you try to begin to get rid of the basement water. Taking care of the origin of the problem will make the process of cleaning up a lot easier.

Next, open any vents or windows that may be found along the upper walls of the basement. Letting in fresh air will help to begin clearing the musty smell and make it easier to remain in the space while you clean up the mess. Make sure to wear a mask while you are in the basement, as this will help to limit your exposure to allergens or any type of mold and mildew that is already developing.

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If your wet basement is carpeted, you must pull up the carpeting in order to fully dry the space. No amount of steam cleaning will extract the water that has soaked into the carpeting and the underlying carpet pad. Failure to remove the wet carpeting will only lead to health risks for everyone living in the home. If you cannot manage the task of extracting the carpet and padding on your own, hire someone to handle the job.

For people who have tile or finished concrete floors in the wet basement, the task of drying the space will be much easier. With the windows open and a face mask in place, use a bucket and mop to soak up as much of the standing water as possible. Once the majority of the water is up, use old towels to dry the remainder of the floor. This will allow you to clearly see if there are indications of seepage between the tiles.

In order to deal with the potential for any mold or mildew to develop, use a cleaning agent on the floor and any sections of the concrete or brick walls that were touched by the water. A simple combination of household bleach and water will help to sterilize the area. Generally, the bleach and water can also be used to wipe down wood paneling in the area without causing any damage to the finish. However, cleaning sheetrock is probably not a good idea, since the water probably soaked through the material. Have it checked by a professional, as the sheetrock may have to be ripped out and replaced.

Make sure the room is adequately vented before applying the bleach solution. Fans set around the space to pull fresh air into the room and expel stale air are very important. Also, always wear a face mask while using the solution in the now dry basement. Once the space is completely cleaned, set up a dehumidifier to work along with the fans to finish the task of drying out the area.

After the wet basement episode is over, it may be a good idea to talk with a basement contractor and determine if there is any way to waterproof the space. While basement waterproofing may cost a little extra, this type of protection can help a great deal with seepage during heavy rains and other issues that often lead to a wet basement.

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