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5 Negative Effects of a Damp Basement

Damp basement with wet walls and floor.

Ignoring a damp basement can actually lead to many problems around your home. Here, we’ve compiled five major issues that can arise because of basement moisture. You’ll also learn about different damp basement solutions and how they keep your home safe!

How a Damp Basement Affects Your Home

Water or dampness in your basement can impact your home and family in many ways. Here are the top five negative effects:

Black mold on basement walls

1. Mold

Mold needs three things to grow and thrive: organic materials, air, and water. When water leaks into your basement and humid air is present, mold can start growing on a variety of surfaces.

Mold attaches itself to any materials that were once living, like wood, and breaks them down. These materials, called organic materials, are all over the contents of our homes. We can not control the breakdown of the materials, but we can control the moisture in our homes.

2. Musty Odors

Mold, mildew, rotting wood, and wet belongings tend to emit musty, unpleasant odors into your home. You may not know the smells are coming from your basement. These odors may appear to just be from unkempt areas on your main floor, but no matter how much you clean, they’re still there.

Sick and sniffling woman covered with blanket.

3. Asthma and Allergies

Dust mites, mold, and other allergens thrive in damp and musty environments. Since basement air rises into your upper levels because of the stack effect, you could be irritating your family’s and guests’ asthma and allergies. Prolonged exposure to mold could even cause asthma for those that have never had it before.

4. Increased Heating and Cooling Bills

Open basement vents or windows allow cold outside air and hot, humid air to rush into your home. Your heating and cooling units will have to work harder to regulate the temperature in your home, and this results in higher energy bills.

5. Damaged Flooring and Other Items

Water in the air can damage hardwood floors causing them to rot and buckle. Carpets will trap mold and moisture, keeping them damp and allowing the allergens to thrive. Mold and water can also take over and ruin furniture and other personal items. This means things like photos, family keepsakes, and storage boxes could get damaged.

Why Your Basement Is Damp

Many people believe dampness simply comes with the territory of having a basement in their home. While below-ground basements are naturally cooler, the truth is that water intrusion and dampness can be caused by many things, including:

Wet basement walls and floor.

Damp Basement Solutions: How to Keep the Area Dry

While DIY methods like applying “waterproof” sealants or placing moisture absorbers in your basement might work for the time being, they won’t last forever and they don’t tackle the root of the problem. When you work with a basement waterproofing professional like Baker’s Waterproofing, you’ll get permanent protection and tailored solutions, including:

Man installing sump pump in a basement.
  • Interior Drainage: Drains placed around your basement’s perimeter and in the subfloor catch leaking water before it has a chance to spread throughout your basement.
  • Sump Pumps: Water from the interior drains collect in a sump pump system, which pumps the water up, out of, and away from your basement.
  • Wall Vapor Barriers: Water that lingers on walls can lead to mold and efflorescence. If you have leaky walls, water automatically runs behind a waterproof vapor barrier placed on the walls and down to the interior drainage system.
  • Dehumidifiers: An energy-efficient dehumidifier keeps excess humidity at bay, as well as cleans and filters the air, and reduces odors.


Unfortunately, yes, but it doesn’t mean it’s okay. Because of the clay soil in Pennsylvania, the above-average rainfall, and how basements are constructed, having damp walls is common.  

Damp means water, and water leads to mold if left untreated.  

Contacting a waterproofing specialist when you notice damp walls ensures a healthy basement. 

Some molds, like black mold, release toxins that can worsen respiratory problems, trigger allergies, and cause flu-like symptoms when inhaled. Long-term exposure can also make asthma and other chronic conditions worse. Reliable basement waterproofing can address the root cause of moisture problems and prevent future mold outbreaks.

Absolutely. Basement waterproofing provides various benefits like structural protection, lower energy bills, and restored home value.  

Work With Baker’s Waterproofing for Leading Damp Basement Solutions

Your home is your biggest investment, and you want to take care of it in the best way possible. That includes ridding your house of damp and musty basement conditions. Baker’s Waterproofing can help with our customizable repair solutions, and exceptional service.

For more than 45 years, our team has helped homeowners throughout Pennsylvania repair and protect their damp basements. We’re ready to do the same for you—schedule a free inspection and estimate today!

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Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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