A Cheap and Easy Way To Keep Your Basement Dry

Whether you have a musty or damp basement, or water problems associated with heavy raining and snow, there are many great solutions for keeping your basement dry.

As a property owner, you have many responsibilities you need to focus on, which can be pretty daunting. You need to stay on top of your house maintenance routine and perform repairs on time. Not to mention the bills and landscaping. Amid all this stress, it is critical that you don’t neglect any part of your home, especially the basement. Keeping your basement neat and dry might not seem like a priority, but it should be. A wet basement can lead to mold problems around your entire house, causing a wide range of health effects.

So, how can you keep your basement dry? Luckily, there are many things you can do to keep your basement dry. Start by insulating your cold water pipes, then ensure your landscaping isn’t damaging your house foundation. Seal your interior walls and floors, patch any visible holes/cracks in your basement early, fix gutters and downspouts, waterproof the basement, and install a dehumidifier. You can also surround your basement with rocks or gravel to keep moisture out, install exhaust fans, and avoid drying clothes in the basement.

This article discusses some of the critical things you need to do to keep your basement dry. Read on to learn more.

Where Is Water Coming From?

Before we discuss some of the things you can do to keep your basement dry, you need to understand where this water is coming from. Although most homeowners think that rain is the main culprit when it comes to water problems in the basement, that isn’t the case.

Besides rainwater and snowmelt, there are also potential issues of poor ventilation, leaking pipes, subsurface seeping, condensation, and humidity.

If you notice mysterious cracks, musty smell, or general dampness in your basement, be sure to identify the source of the problem and solve it before things get out of hand.

Wet Basement walls.
Understand where this water is coming from.

You should be worried if the moisture levels in your basement go above 60% because this is when most problems start to manifest. The other signs that your basement has moisture or water issues include:

  • Peeling wall paint.
  • Musty odors.
  • Warping floors.
  • Mold spots.
  • Condensation.

How Do I Keep My Basement Dry?

So, what are some of the steps you can take to ensure your basement remains dry all the time? Let us find out:

1. Waterproof Your Basement Walls and Floors

If you use your basement as a furnished living space, we highly recommend that you take some steps to waterproof the floor and walls.

Consider using a waterproof sealant on your floors and walls to prevent water from seeping through. Applying a relatively thick coat of water-resistant paint on your walls may stop them from gathering condensation that could lead to high moisture levels.

If you notice cracks appearing on your basement floor, it could be a sign of serious structural problems. Fortunately, most of these cracks don’t require serious foundation repairs. If the cracks are heaving, ensure you seek professional assistance because it could indicate cracks in your foundation.

Waterproofing and leveling the floor.
Consider using a waterproof sealant on your floors and walls.

Otherwise, the problem isn’t structural, and your primary concern should be that these cracks could easily let in water from the soil beneath, leading to a wet basement. In such a case, applying a waterproof sealant to the cracked surfaces could prevent water from seeping into your basement.

You can also use hydraulic cement, which seals up the cracks and stops water leaks from coming through.

2. Insulate Cold Water Pipes

We have many good reasons why you should insulate all the exposed pipes in your basement. Insulating the hot water pipes plays a critical role in conserving energy, preventing your water heater from overworking.

Insulating your cold water pipes is also a smart move because it prevents them from freezing when the temperature is too low. It also limits the amount of condensation that forms along them when humidity is relatively high.

A professional inspecting the water pipes.
Insulating your cold water pipes is also a smart move.

Keep in mind that the basement is most likely the most humid part of your house and cold water pipes tend to “sweat” as humidity increases. The sustained dampness in a relatively dark part of your house presents perfect conditions for mold growth.

3. Keep Water Away from Your Foundation

Typically, water enters your basement by seeping in from the foundation. Although your house has some defense mechanisms against this scenario, they need to be maintained to keep working properly.

The first thing you need to do is inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts because they help direct water away from your foundation.

Debris buildup over time can cause blockage forcing water spills over the sides. When the spillage happens, water starts to collect along the foundation. With time, it saturates the ground and starts seeping into your basement.

You should also pay attention to the grading of your landscaping. It is highly recommended you ensure that your home has a slight pitch away from the foundation. Sometimes, the pitch isn’t done during construction, and in some other cases, it wears away over time.

Take time to inspect and identify problem areas. Fill them in to improve the slope away from the foundation. This is particularly important during winter when there is heavy snowfall and rain.

When the snow melts and the slope is towards your house foundation, lack of proper grading can be catastrophic for your basement in terms of water damage.

4. Install Gutters and Downspouts

Effective and efficient gutters and downspouts contribute greatly to keeping your basement dry. They prevent water from seeping in when it rains by diverting the flow far away from your foundation.

When attaching them to the house, ensure you direct the water flow at least six inches below ground level so that soil can absorb much of it before it hits the foundation.

A profesional installing gutters.
They prevent water from seeping in when it rains by diverting the flow far away from your foundation.

So, if your home doesn’t currently have downspouts and gutters installed around the roof edge, this is something you need to consider.

As mentioned earlier, if you already have gutters and downspouts installed, be sure to inspect and clean them regularly. Any form of debris buildup can make them ineffective.

5. Surround the Basement with Rocks/Gravel

Using rocks or gravel in your home landscaping not only makes your outdoor garden look spectacular, but also helps keep the basement dry.

In this case, the rocks and gravel surrounding your house act as a protective seal preventing water from seeping in under doors and through cracks.

For basements with more severe moisture problems, additional measures such as digging down and waterproofing the foundation and/or installing drains or sump pumps can be taken to divert water away from the foundation.

6. Use Dehumidifiers

Air moves through your home like a chimney- it usually escapes to higher levels and is replaced from the bottom up. This is one of the leading causes of basement humidity, especially when the air outside is humid.

Because of this and a wide range of other factors, such as moisture permeating through the foundation walls causes the basement to be more humid than other parts of your home.

A dehumidifier in a empty room.
The best way to mitigate against the relatively high humidity levels in the basement is through dehumidifiers.

The best way to mitigate against the relatively high humidity levels in the basement is through the use of dehumidifiers. When the unit is switched on, it works by removing moisture from the air, thereby lowering humidity levels in your home.

You should also pay great attention to the natural humidity levels in your basement. Anything beyond 60% is dangerous and can lead to mold growth. However, going too low isn’t also good because it creates a perfect environment where viruses thrive.

Therefore, the ideal humidity level for your basement is anything between 30% and 50%. So, ensure you don’t set your dehumidifier too low or too high.

7. Avoid Drying Clothes in the Basement

Many of us usually dry clothes in the basement, especially during winter when heating is switched on. This leads to a lot of moisture being given off into the air, which leads to higher humidity levels in the basement.

Because of this, it is highly recommended you dry your clothes outside or at least someplace where humidity levels are low like the garage. Avoid using the basement as a storage space- especially for clothes.

8. Inspect and Repair Cracks

Cracks on the foundation walls allow water from rainfall to seep into your home’s basement. This often affects basements more severely as they are usually built underground or close to ground level, where it is more likely for water, snow, and ice to accumulate.

Cracks should be repaired as soon as they are detected. To do this, first, clean the cracks with a wire brush and then fill them with masonry patching compound.

When applying the compound, ensure you put it into the cracks in a way that fills them completely- especially those deep ones. In case of larger cracks, you may want to consider calling a professional.


Basements are often the victims of humidity issues, and unfortunately, there is little we can do about them most times.

However, in some cases, such as when your foundation or concrete walls have cracks or gaps, you would want to consider hiring a professional who will come up with solutions on how to fix such problems so that moisture is kept out.

Implementing the above measures can significantly reduce humidity levels in your basement, especially when combined with a proper home maintenance routine.

read this next

If your home has an unfinished basement, you may be overlooking an important storage opportunity. You don’t need to add permanent walls or floors to make the most of your unfinished storage space. With these 18 storage ideas, you can keep your basement clutter-free and make the most of your existing space.
Bugs are not what you want to find when searching through your storage unit. Storage units are meant for both business and personal use. Here are 6 tips you can do to ensure that the bugs stay outside and do not end up in your storage unit.
These shelves are perfect for high traffic areas like entryways, bathrooms or even kitchens. They’re simple to put together and can be painted or covered with fabric, wallpaper or contact paper to match your room’s decor. Here are 10 awesome ways to re-purpose small spaces into amazing shelves.
Finding a great locker storage is not an easy task. There are so many of them in the market and they differ from one another in ability, durability and price. Overwhelmed by your options? Following are some tips on how to find the one that is best for you.
When you have a garden, or want to plant one, it is common for people to ask about cluttering the space. But, if you are trying to hide clutter in your garden, then you need to know how to do it in the proper manner. Here are some tips on how to hide clutter in your garden and make your outdoor space more enjoyable.
Storing your kayak in the garage is definitely a great way to save space and protect it from the elements, but there are some things you should consider. In this short guide I’ll share with you our top tips for storing your kayak in the garage.
Wood can be sold straight off the truck, or it can be stored for long periods of time. Storing wood for any extended period of time will require you to do some extra work, but following these simple steps will ensure that your firewood is ready to burn when you need it most.
A well know tactic is to re-use cardboard boxes as storage boxes. Cardboard has the wonderful property of being long lasting, tough and easy to work with using simple tools. There are all sorts of ways to take advantage of the properties that make cardboard ideal for shipping products, but also less desirable as it comes into your home.
We all know that small spaces can be tricky to deal with. Finding room for things is always a fun challenge. The absolute best solution? Storage cubes. These simple, versatile little modular storage pieces can help to design an entire room around them and then double as storage solutions when you put the pieces together.
Making cold storage at home is not a new idea and has been around for a long time. People have been making ice boxes out of cold boxes, plant closets and even root cellars. These foods were preserved with just salt water before refrigerators were invented.