Moisture problems in a basement stem from one of two sources: indoor condensation or leaks from outdoors. You can usually determine whether the source of your problem is interior or exterior by performing this simple test.
Once you know which side of the basement wall the moisture is coming from, you still need to identify a specific source. That can be a little tricky, but here are the most common culprits:
Downspouts should direct water away from the house foundation with extensions that are at least 6-feet long.
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Gutters are supposed to carry water to downspouts, but when they become clogged they can cause water to overflow. That means water is being dumped along the basement walls.
Improper grading is a major cause of wet basements. In the first 10 feet around the foundation, the soil should slope at least 6 inches away from the house.
Over time, foundations can develop cracks that allow water to flow through. Hydraulic cement is a useful product for sealing masonry walls.
Water supply and drain pipes can leak. Drain lines in particular can develop small, hard-to-detect leaks that can cause long-term trouble. You should be able to find a drain line leak by turning all of the faucets in the house on and then doing a close visual inspection of the pipes in the basement.
6. Windows and Doors
Broken glass or aging seals around windows and doors allow easy access for water. Have someone spray water from a hose at basement windows and doors while you look for leaks inside.
7. High Humidity
A basement that is moist most of the time usually has some type of condensation problem. You can tackle the most common causes by following the advice in this article.
8. High Water Table
This is one of the toughest wet basement challenges. The water table is the line between saturated and unsaturated soil. It can vary by season and location, and even a heavy rainfall can cause the water table to rise. There's not much you can do to change the water table, but you can reduce its damaging effects with interior or exterior drainage systems or with a sump pump.