Why Do I Have Moldy Basement Windows?

Are your basement windows moldy? You might be wondering why. Moldy basement windows can be caused by a number of sources. It’s our job, as your local waterproofing company, to help you find out what it is and put a stop to it.

Leaky Windows

One of the most common causes of moldy basement windows is the windows leaking. If the windows in your basement are old and seem of dubious quality, they’re probably leaking. To find out if this is the problem plaguing your basement, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the window thoroughly. Remove any mold with chemical cleaners.
  2. Dry the window thoroughly. Make sure all moisture from cleaning is completely wiped away.
  3. Wait for it to rain
  4. Check the windows for moisture. You should check after it’s been raining for a few hours at least. If it’s dark, bring a flashlight and shine it on the window along where it meets the window frame. Also, shine it along where the frame meets the sill. If you don’t see any visible leaks, touch the frame to see if it feels slightly moist with condensation.

If your windows are leaky, you’ve found the cause of your moldy basement windows. The windows will need to be replaced entirely. If the leaking is around where the window is installed against the wall, check for water damage during the installation of new windows.

Window Well Flooding

If your basement windows are located at the bottom of window wells, there’s a good chance they’re moldy from window well flooding. Window wells that don’t have any kind of drain system are just a collection point for water. Whenever it rains, the water will gather at the bottom of the wells and sit against the basement windows. 

While windows should, generally, be waterproof, most aren’t meant to withstand pooled water sitting against them. They will leak, even if they’re decent windows. So, if your window wells are flooding when it rains, invest in window well waterproofing before worrying about the windows themselves. If there’s still a mold issue after window well waterproofing and thorough removal of the previous mold, you may want to revisit item #1.

Interior Condensation

Sometimes the source for mold is actually coming from inside. Interior condensation is incredibly common and leads to moldy basement windows all the time. Different temperatures on either side of a barrier pull water from the air on the warm side. This is why a glass of ice water collects moisture on its surface. The moisture from the warm air touches it and goes from gas form to liquid form.

If you keep your interior nice and warm and the air has any level of humidity in it, cold temperatures outdoors can pull moisture to the cold windows. The condensation then drips down to collect in the window frame or sill, leading to mold issues.

To solve interior condensation issues, you can opt to replace your windows with some that are better insulated, or buy a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will pull the moisture from the basement’s air and prevent it from settling on the windows.

If these options are too pricy for you, the only solution left is to regularly take a trip down to the basement to dry and clean the windows, frame, and sill.

How Do You Know If You Have an Unstable Foundation?

If you live in an old home, your foundation and basement walls might have become unstable. An unstable foundation sounds concerning, right? So, how do you know if yours is doing alright or not? We’ve compiled a list of symptoms as well as our favorite solution.

Basement Moisture and Leaks

Your foundation and basement walls are two parts of the same thing. If the structure of your house sits on your basement walls, those walls are part of your foundation. Therefore, keeping those walls in shape is vital.

If your basement walls are leaking water or there’s noticeable moisture in parts of your basement, that’s a bad sign. Stone basement walls can only leak if there are cracks leading from the outside to the inside. These cracks may be small enough that you can’t see them, but it doesn’t mean water can’t go through them. If there’s noticeable moisture, there are probably tons of these small cracks.

Letting your basement walls continue to erode as moisture travels through them will lead to more damage.

Wall Crumbling

The next sign is basement wall crumbling. If you notice little pebbles at the base of your basement walls, they’re damaged enough that they’re beginning to crumble. This is bad.

Erosion worsening as water travels through the cracks in your walls is to be expected. However, the walls beginning to crumble means the problem is worse than it looks on the outside. If your walls continue on this path, it could spell bad things for the safety of your entire house.

Above-Ground Symptoms

There are above-ground signs that your foundation isn’t doing so hot as well. For example, if you see cracks in your drywall, it means the foundation has shifted. Even if it has been a slow shift, caused over time, the continued shift could lead to worse damage. 

For example, if left long enough, important parts of the internal structure could split or crack. If the frame of the house splits, the floor could fall through or a wall could buckle. Therefore, if there are cracks appearing in your walls, it’s important to start the process of preventing further damage.

Other symptoms are:

  • Doors sticking
  • Door frames separating from the wall
  • Bowed floors or ceilings
  • Drafty windows

Solutions to Basement Wall Instability

If you’re noticing moisture in your basement, but the other signs of foundational instability haven’t appeared, take preventative measures. Exterior basement waterproofing doesn’t just prevent unwanted moisture, it also prevents continued erosion of your basement walls. That makes exterior basement waterproofing vital in the prevention of an unstable foundation.

Call us at POM Waterproofing if you want to know more about how to get exterior basement waterproofing.