6/04/2010

Discolored Basement floors & walls - should I be worried? - Reader Question.

discolored basement walls from moisture, flood, or water damage
Basement walls have been constructed many different ways in the 1900s. Most of the homes we live in have been built to standards created in the 1970s based on the last energy crisis. However older homes have foundations that were created using techniques that predate American History.

With so many different types of basements, wall coverings, and materials used, discoloration could happen for multiple reasons.

The most common foundations that are seen today are: Crawl Spaces (brick, block or poured concrete), Full head height basements (stone, brick, block, or poured concrete).


What having a discolored basement wall could mean:
As I mentioned discolored walls can mean quite a few things. Depending on the history of the house, these stains could be insoluble materials like oil, paint, ink, or anything else that can be washed out of a porous service. The more common cause for discoloration of a floor or a wall is water or fire damage.

Water damage leaves residues behind like efflorescence that is much like a fine powder. Efflorescence is simply the left over minerals from water that has evaporated from the service. Brick or stone foundations that have had plaster laid over it to produce a smooth finish to the wall could also soak up the water, mold, rot and flake off. During this process the plaster will change color. Browns, yellows, oranges and greens are typical to see on a plaster that is coming in contact with water.

Same basic rules apply to the floor.

If you think you have water or fire damage in your home or basement, have your home inspected by a professional to see if there are any possible damage issues that need to be corrected. If your foundation is in fact leaking, or allowing water into your basement, consider correcting any foundation issues that need repair and hiring a basement waterproofing contractor to fully protect the basement from future floods.

Related Reading and Links
Read about the Top 6 Basement Mistakes that contractors and homeowners make. See what other readers have asked in Safe'n'Dry Basement Blog's Reader Questions Section
Ask Jacob A question Directly on Pioneer Basement's Help Forums!
Image thanks to http://www.ehow.com

4 comments:

Sump Pumps said...

Great Post! I found that having an effective sump pump
could be the solution to a safe and dry basement. I noticed that most of the work that we have been conducting, the houses have been built to the standards created in the 1970s...these house seem to have the most problems. What do you think?

joven said...

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Jacob @ Safe and Dry Blog said...

@sumppumps - i feel that the tightening of the houses in the 70s gave way to focusing many of the air quality issues we have in the home in the basement. The basement since the energy crisis has now become a more important and influential part of the home than most people today understand.

John said...

Last February, I visited my parents. I went to the basement to look for my old stuff and I noticed that the walls were stained and discolored. I also spotted small cracks on the north wall. My sister thought of painting it to remove the stains. I told her that we need to consult an expert on house foundation since the infrastructure of the house is quite old. We did the right move. The experts told us that aside from cracks and discolored walls, other common signs that need residential foundation repair are sticking doors, plumbing problems, and soil erosion spots. They estimated the foundation repair cost and performed advanced foundation repair. I am so satisfied with the results. Now it's my sister's turn to do the repainting!