Homes built on a slab foundation or over a crawlspace aren't immune to moisture issues. Rising damp from the ground can lead to major water damage in your home. Fortunately, you can repair the damage and prevent further issues if you recognize it early.

Signs of Rising Damp

The walls or the floorboards will usually show the first signs of damage. On walls, you may notice discoloration along the baseboards or the lower section of the wall itself. Wood baseboards may become warped or appear to swell as they absorb moisture. Dark discolorations on the wall are common. Wallboard and plaster may become soft and spongy, or it may begin to bubble or flake. Latex paint will also bubble and peel off as moisture seeps upward.

Wood floorboards are also affected as they absorb moisture. They will swell and warp, and any finish may peel off. Linoleum and vinyl flooring adhesives may fail, which results in peeling and lifting flooring. Carpets will become musty as mold begins to grow.

Moisture Causes

The cause of the moisture is often nothing more than natural ground moisture, although poor drainage around the home may contribute. In crawlspaces, moisture seeps through the ground and then condensates on the underside of the floorboards. Eventually, it soaks into the boards and creeps into the home. The problem may worsen if rain or irrigation runoff is draining under the home.

Slab foundations are less moisture-prone, but concrete is somewhat porous. If you have a high water table and lots of damp in your area, some of that ground moisture may seep through the slab and affect your home.

Restoration and Prevention

Fixing the water entry points is the first concern. Encapsulation and better ventilation prevent moisture in crawlspaces. Slab foundations may need to be sealed to prevent future incursion. In some cases, French drains or other drainage solutions may be required to route water away from the home.

Any damaged wooden floorboards will require replacement, as repair isn't possible when wood rot sets in. Carpets can sometimes be saved if they are dried quickly and treated for mold before the damage is severe. Laminate and vinyl floors can also sometimes be saved simply by applying fresh adhesive.

Drywall that soaked up moisture must be replaced, while plaster can be patched and repainted. Baseboards may also be replaced if water damage is beginning to lead to rot. All repaired surfaces will be treated for mold before repainting.

Contact a water damage restoration service, such as SERVPRO OF BEND, if you notice damp seeping up and into your home.