Damp Basement | JW Surveys Ltd


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Experiencing basement waterproofing issues within your property is a very common problem.  With 20 years experience JW Surveys can offer a fully comprehensive report regarding basement damp in Kent, the South East and Essex. You may have an existing problem you need help with or you may have chosen to remodel your basement.  Corrective actions and advice are readily available with JW Surveys.

Basements often lie below the water table and are susceptible to the pressure of ground water against the walls

As basements and cellars often lie below the water table, they are susceptible to the pressure of ground water against the walls and floor that can often render a basement or cellar uninhabitable.  Damp problems may be caused by lack of maintenance, poor build quality, design defects or deterioration.

If you own a home and have a subsoil basement then you need to be concerned about basement waterproofing. Basement waterproofing is defined as preventing water from penetrating into your basement area.  JW Surveys can produce an independent report to ascertain the problem and its location.  We offer a no obligation, thorough damp survey from expert advice whether the treatment needed is for a new basement or an existing one.

The source of the problem could be a water leak or high humidity.  Both of these situations can cause mould or mildew.   Keeping the water out of your basement will limit the amount of mould and mildew that can occur in your basement area. Depending on the severity, these conditions can lead to structural problems, rot and can cause illness and sickness within the family.

A damp basement may be due to ground water which can seep through floors and foundations or excessive rainfall.  Leaves and debris could be clogging gutters or it may be that you do not have enough gutters.

Where water is clearly entering into a basement, or any walls which are below ground the following action needs to be taken.  Water can seep through into your house in many ways.  These include an outside leak in the foundation, leaking water pipe, toilet, shower or bath.  A damp basement can be caused by moisture migrating through a concrete foundation.  Another common cause could be condensation on a cold concrete floor.

Many houses have basements and cellars that were never designed for modern living. They can suffer from rising damp, penetrating damp and flooding.

Rising damp occurs when ground water soaks up into unprotected brickwork, stone masonry or through the softer mortar.  Ground water contains salts which absorb into a walls base.  This can cause damage to your home and if left untreated can lead to timber decay.  Rising damp happens when the existing damp proof course deteriorates.  This then allows water to absorb through the waterproof barrier which has weakened.

There are several tell-tale signs that your basement might be affected by rising damp.  These signs may include crumbling low level plaster, a band of salt that has drawn out of the plaster or tidemarks along the of the internal or external brickwork.  Treatment for rising damp may be installing a new damp proof course or maybe re-plastering with a water resistant render.  JW Surveys will send a fully qualified surveyor to carry out a thorough inspection.

Penetrating damp is as a result of poor external maintenance.  This could be from damaged gutters which allow rain water to penetrate the buildings structure when the external bricks or renders are cracked.  There are various causes of penetrating damp.  From porous bricks and stones to driveways, paths, lawns and patios which have been raised above the damp proof course against the external wall.  JW Surveys can inspect all areas of concern and provide you with a suitable treatment to resolve your damp problem.

There are various signs of a damp basement.  You may find water stains along walls or floors.  Excess moisture can cause an unmistakable musty odor or damp smell.  Black, brown, yellow of green mould could be developing causing a “cold corner”.  Efflorescence is another sign and a condition that produces a grayish ash on the walls.  It is caused by salt deposits being left behind from evaporating water.  You may also notice salt deposits from the water which cause the surface to flake away, this is know as spalling.

As soon as you have found the problem you first need to have it fixed.  If you have standing water on the floor of your basement after a heavy rain then it is likely from a leak in the foundation.  You will need to clean rain gutters and point them away from the foundations so that the rain can run off and away.  If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working properly.  You may need to install flashing on the roof and under the window sills.   If there has been a leak in your basement that has caused water damage or mould you will need expert advice from JW Surveys.  We specialise in providing surveys to determine the problem and quote for remedial work in the form of a jargon free report.

Most basements, by the sheer nature of the fact that they are built into the ground, present the possibility that water can intrude, turning what was once a dry basement into a wet basement. This is because water in the soil can put constant pressure on basement walls. Plus, water follows the path of least resistance inside a home and over time can find its way into a basement.  Waterproofing by painting a sealer on the interior walls doesn't really help much if water is putting pressure on the walls. It will eventually leak through.

There are a range of waterproofing and tanking systems that can transform a damp basement into a dry space.  Cementitious tanking and waterproofing using cavity drain membranes could be an option for you.  Cementitious tanking is used in situations where there is no free flowing water.  It can also be used in areas of flooding and in small areas where there is an isolated damp problem.  It can be used in small areas and does not need a drainage system.  Cementitious tanking utilises a system of cement based waterproof coatings to prevent penetrating damp.  Penetrating damp is caused by capillary movement of water moving through earth retaining walls. The tanking coatings can be plastered to provide a smooth surface to decorate.

Cavity Drain Membranes utilise a studded membrane to line the walls and floors.  This then provides a dry internal surface.  Floors can then be screeded and flooring can be installed.  The walls can then be dry lined or plastered.  Sealed systems are used in conjunction with drainage and a sump and pump where there is active water or flooding.   With cavity drain membranes there is no need to incur the expense and all the mess of removing existing plaster.  There redecoration can be carried out straight away.

A popular method of basement waterproofing is to apply a ‘dimple,’ or ‘egg-box’, membrane to the walls. This membrane method reduces likelihood of salts coming through to the wall finish.  It also helps the air-gap helps to get rid of cold corners where mould may grow

Depending on what you wish to use the basement for, air and light may be an issue. If there is no window, light tubes may be an option for natural light. Ventilation or extraction will also need to be considered.

Remember not to store valuables, photographs, paper documents or anything you care to preserve in a wet basement.   Why not ask JW Surveys expert opinion.

JW Surveys will provide you with a comprehensive report which will cover the envelope of the property to assess its general condition.  External observations including photographs of areas of concern as well as an internal observation.  You will be provided with conclusions including a full plan highlighting the work required.  Specification and budget estimates are based on current industry rates.

So if you live within one of the many towns or villages of the Kent, South East or Essex area contact JW Surveys.  We will arrange a property survey with one of our independent damp surveyors approved by The Property Care Association and provide you with a report and finding within 48 hours.

Our Services

JW Surveys carry out the following surveys and reports within the South East of England:

  • Independent Damp & Timber Surveys and Reports
  • Damp & Timber Pre-Purchase Surveys
  • Structural Waterproofing Reports
  • Structural Waterproofing Design to BS8102:2009
  • 7 Days A Week subject to availability

These are all carried out by our Independent Damp and Timber Surveyor who is approved by The Property Care Association.

PCA Membership

JW Surveys are members of Property Care Association


*Based on a domestic 2 bedroomed property

Limited Survey (Level 1) - from £195.00*

Suitable for clients with a specific limited area of dampness or decay.  JWSurveys will carry out a limited non-destructive inspection.

Property Condition with combined Timber & Damp Survey  (Level 2) - from £250.00*

This survey is suitable for most conventional properties, built as early as 1900s except period properties and those with a “Listed” status.


Period Property Condition with Timber & Damp Survey (Level 2a) - from £300.00*

Suitable for the more unusual property. Eg period properties or those with “Listed” status.


Reports Compliant with Civil Procedure Rules Part 35 - from £390.00*

Suitable for use as evidence for the purpose of civil proceedings in a court in England or Wales


Available Add-Ons

  • On site salt analysis - £15.00 per sample
  • Calcium Carbide Test - POA - (Note: - The calcium carbide test involves the taking of a number of material samples by drilling into the strata)

Click here to find out more about what to expect.