Finishing out your basement space can feel so great. You have a whole extra room in your home to use for anything you want – from a home office to a small apartment to a recreation room for your family.
But it can also be extremely frustrating when you just finish renovating your basement and right away the freshly applied paint starts to bubble, crack or – worst of all – flake off or peel away from the walls.
You did everything the instructions indicated, from prepping the walls properly to applying the primer and letting it dry fully to applying the paint, coat by painstaking coat. What could be causing this?
We know what – and we suspect you aren’t going to like it. Bubbling, cracking, flaking, peeling paint nearly always indicates excessive humidity in the basement.
Find out how to positively identify the culprit and what fixes are available to ensure you can avoid repainting again and again… or worse, abandoning all that useful basement space!
What Causes Flaking Paint in the Basement?
There are a few types of moisture that may be impacting your freshly painted basement walls (the same holds true for crawl space walls that are painted).
1. Overly humid air
The subtlest cause of paint damage is overly humid basement air. The environment in the average basement is quite a bit different from the rest of your home above the ground level.
There is less air circulation and ventilation and increased moisture from water trapped in the surrounding soil. Even well-constructed new basements can feel more humid because of these environmental differences.
But uncorrected overly humid air can wreak havoc on paint and furnishings, causing persistent damp, degradation, even mildew and mould over time.
There are two common construction approaches to building basements. The first involves using poured concrete and the second involves stacking concrete bricks. The types of micro-fissures that develop in your basement walls can look different depending on what type of materials were used to construct your basement, but either way, they will be there.
Concrete itself is naturally porous and never more so than when it is first poured and is drying out. Drying concrete settles and develops tiny cracks called micro-fissures as it does so.
When there is an excess of water (hydrostatic pressure) in the soil surrounding your basement, moisture will find its way into these tiny fissures, traveling as far as it can until it either gets blocked or finds an outlet.
Micro-fissures can expand over time with increased hydrostatic pressure, shifting soils and other factors. Tiny leaks that emerge from your basement walls behind the paint can cause bubbles that turn into flakes, cracks and peeling paint.
3. Outright cracks
Sometimes a micro-fissure can widen into a bona fide crack. Other times, it is another structural issue, such as a changing water table, earthquake activity, major floods and similar events that create cracks.
These cracks then become ready pathways for trapped water to travel. When cracks continually allow moisture to flow into your basement, your wall paint will often be the first to alert you to their presence.
Fixing Flaking Basement Paint
It is never easy (let alone fun) to notice paint problems in your basement and realize what that means. Now you have to rustle up a contractor, figure out what is wrong, gather quotes, decide what to do and when to do it.
The good news is that the faster you take action to fix the problem, the less you are likely to spend and the faster and easier the repairs will go. When the issue is bubbling or flaking basement paint, waiting in hopes that the issue will resolve itself is never a viable solution.
Here at Omni Basement, what surprises our customers the most is how affordable basement waterproofing has become. You have lots of options depending on the source of your moisture issue and nearly all are easy and quick to implement.
Use a dehumidifier
For very minor moisture issues, sometimes the simplest solution is also the right one.
Adding a portable dehumidifier to your basement space can remove excess humidity and control against damage to paint and furnishings.
Repair fissures or cracks
If existing cracks are detectable, we recommend sealing them before moving to waterproof your basement space.
This prevents trapped moisture from getting stuck behind the moisture barrier.
Apply basement waterproofing
Basement waterproofing can be applied to the exterior or the interior of your basement space.
Unless we are applying waterproofing as part of new construction, we always recommend interior waterproofing, which is far more affordable and significantly less invasive.
Backup sump system
Even the best sump pump may occasionally need backup support, especially during a power outage. Installing a backup sump system ensures your sump pump will remain operational when you need its help the most.
For older sump systems, a backup can also extend your sump’s useful life.
Window and well drain repair
Over time, window and well drains quite naturally get clogged with dirt, debris, leaf litter, even leftover nest materials from small burrowing animals. When these drainage routes get blocked, it can cause water to back up into your basement.
Sometimes clearing out these drains and making any necessary repairs can effectively reroute incoming water without need for further repairs.
Gutters and downspouts
Your home’s exterior drainage is just as important to basement integrity as window and well drains, sump pumps and backups and crack repair.
Cleaning out gutters and adding gutter guards, installing downspout extensions and correcting eroding grading can all help with routing water away from your home’s foundation and basement.
Basement insulation is specially designed to guard against mildew, mould and moisture buildup.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.