Skip to Main Content

Is It a Good Idea to Build a Basement in a Humid Area?

It’s possible to have a basement in an area that’s perpetually humid, but there are challenges that come with it.

Schedule Free Inspection

While many homeowners would love to have basements, not everybody can have one. Factors such as soil type, landscape, and environmental factors such as flooding and humidity levels can get in the way of building a basement. 

In Ohio, the average humidity level is 69 percent. This is way above the ideal basement humidity level of 30 to 50 percent. Relative humidity is at its highest in December and lowest in April. 

basement flood

Problems Associated with Humid Basements 

Having a basement in a humid area has its pitfalls and challenges. And these can adversely affect your health and finances. Check out some of the reasons homeowners rarely have basements in humid areas. 

Peeling wall paints. Your paintwork won’t last. Water vapor will get behind the wall paint and loosen the adhesive holding the paint causing it to peel off. The peeling paints will make the interior walls unsightly and force you to repaint your walls. 

Rotten woodwork. Many homes have wooden beams, floors, and ceilings. This is in addition to the furniture that’s made of wood. All these can get mildewy and start rotting away when they come into contact with moisture. 

Poor indoor air quality. Moisture from the basement eventually finds its way into the living room bringing with it mold spores that can trigger asthma-like symptoms that could threaten your family’s health.  

Mold and mildew growth. These fungi thrive in moist and undisturbed areas. If your basement is perpetually damp, you can expect them to flourish. 

Water damage. As well as damaging the wooden structures in your house, excess moisture will soak up the carpets, insulation, ceiling, and paperwork. Even metallic structures will begin to rust when their surfaces come into contact with moisture. 

All these problems can make it hard for homeowners to have a basement that is dry and safe for use. 

How to Keep Basements in Humid Areas Moisture-free 

If you live in a humid area, it is still possible to have a basement without experiencing the problems we’ve highlighted above. The secret to having a dry and safe basement in a humid area such as Ohio is learning to keep it clean and dry. Here are a couple of things you can do to make your basement habitable. 

Manage rainwater. Much of Ohio’s glaciated till plains are flat, and these can cause problems during the rainy season. Ensure that rainwater does not settle and form pools around the house or in the basement. One effective way of preventing ponding is installing proper exterior drainage that directs water away from the house. In addition, ensure that the gutters and downspouts do not drain rainwater near the foundation. 

Control groundwater. Water from the ground can also seep through cracks in your floor into the basement, damaging your stuff. Basement waterproofing will keep groundwater away and ensure moisture doesn’t build up. We encourage you to get a sump pump system that ejects water automatically and install interior drains to allow water to escape fast.  

Manage interior moisture. The basement also has a propensity to get humid and damp. Interior moisture can come from leaking pipes or vapor from the bathroom, kitchen, and appliances. To keep humidity levels low, install a dehumidifier with a self-draining mechanism. This appliance will dry out the air in the crawl space. 

Improve exterior drainage. Groundwater and rainwater from the roof will always remain a threat to your basement. When these get into your basement, they can cause floods and myriad problems that are costly to fix. You can avoid a potential water disaster by maintaining your gutters and installing an exterior drainage system

Seal foundation wall cracks. Foundation wall cracks can result in basement leaks that instigate mold growth and ultimately damage your interior. Ask your local basement contractor to come over, inspect the cracks, and seal them before they widen. 

We also encourage you to perform regular home inspections to ensure that your plumbing, walls, and ceiling are not working against you. If you suspect water is getting into the basement but you can’t pinpoint the source, contact the waterproofing experts at Ohio Basement Authority for a free basement inspection. We’ll help you uncover the water source and resolve the underlying issue so your basement stays dry all year round. 

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Ohio Basement Authority Service Map

Serving Greater Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky

Cincinnati Office

1270 Hillsmith Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45215

Columbus Office

2421 McGaw Rd.
Obetz, OH 43207

Dayton Office

70 Birch Alley, Suite 240
Beavercreek, OH, 45440