Moisture and Water Seeping through a Concrete Slab Floor

Water seeping through concrete floor is more common than you think. It’s frustrating and annoying and that’s the danger. It’s not enough that you treat it as a frustration and annoyance. You have to treat it as an emergency.

Why? It’s because there are problems with a wet basement or damp basement. We’ll tell you what these problems are so you can see the dangers both big and small.

Can water seep through concrete? You probably want to know for your garage floor. We’ll tell you the answer and we’ll provide you with an explanation behind the seepage rising through the concrete. While we’re at it, we’ll also tell you the causes of a slab leak.

You can actually solve the issue before it gets bigger. We’ll tell you the signs to look out for with your concrete slab. Solve it ASAP and you can save yourself a lot of time, effort and money.

What should you do if water comes up through concrete slab floor? We’ll tell you how to stop water from coming through concrete floor. We’ll also present you with solutions on how to seal concrete floor from moisture including some proven concrete floor moisture sealers.

A soaked floor can be a breeding ground for mold – and there are many different types. It’s why we recommend that you get help from the pros to avoid mold growth.

Concrete Slab as a Flooring Material

But first, it’s a good idea to understand concrete slab as a flooring material. This way, you’ll know what you’re up against.

It’s actually a very common material used for structures. It’s a top choice for modern buildings.

It’s also a top choice for flooring. For that, it has to meet these 2 conditions:

  • It has to be reinforced with steel. This is in the form of metal bars or rebars.
  • It has to be at least 4 inches thick. For bigger and more demanding structures, the thickness requirement can be as high as 20 inches.

The construction process can be a complicated one. Here are the general steps taken:

  1. The formwork is assembled before erected.
  2. The reinforcement is planned for before being placed in the formwork.
  3. The concrete is poured before being compacted and finished.
  4. It will be cured. The formwork is removed once that’s done.

Pros and Cons of Concrete as a Flooring Material

wet basement floor

Here are the advantages that make it a popular flooring material:

  • It’s durable.

This is why it’s the top choice for garages. It’s so durable that it can even withstand forklifts and trucks in warehouses.

Thanks to its durability, it’s been known to last a very long time.

  • It offers flexibility and versatility.

Whatever image of an ugly gray flooring that you have in your mind, throw that away. Modern concrete flooring offers flexibility when it comes to design. It can surely match whatever theme you’re going for.

It’s also versatile enough to play with other flooring materials. If you get sick and tired of it, you can cover it with just about any other material.

  • It’s easy to maintain.

Cleaning it is easy. The only other maintenance task that you need to do is to seal it every 9 months or so.

It’s not perfect by any means. Here are the disadvantages:

  • It’s not hip-friendly.

If you’re a senior citizen, falling onto concrete hip-first will almost always lead to an injury. In this case, its advantage of being a hard material becomes a disadvantage, and you ought tho rather look into best practices for remodeling your home for seniors.

  • It can be uncomfortable to walk and stand on.

Since it’s hard, it can be uncomfortable to walk and stand on especially for long periods of time. It can also be cold especially during winter.

  • It’s a porous material.

This is why you’re reading this article. Being a porous material, it can absorb moisture.

Can Water Seep through Concrete?

The simple answer is yes. You have to know that it’s a porous material once it’s dry. It’s basically a sponge. A hard sponge, but a sponge nonetheless. Note that there are several factors involved here. It’s not as if concrete will easily absorb water. But generally speaking, it’s capable of absorbing and seeping water.
What are the Causes of a Slab Leak?

Here are the most common causes to watch out for:

  • Poor installation of pipes

Blame the old contractor. He could have installed low-quality pipes. He could have installed them so poorly that it led to dents. Add that to the fact that there’s natural abrasion in flowing water and the pipes could burst. Water also carries some form of chemicals so that can also lead to bursting of pipes. Overall, poor quality of water is an issue.

Corrosion is also another issue especially with copper pipes. This makes them more vulnerable.

If this is the case, new pipes need to be installed.

  • Pressure

While we all enjoy good water pressure, it’s not really good for the pipes if it’s coupled with other issues like poor installation. Movement of soil is another issue. For example, tree roots can make the soil shift and can put pressure on the pipes until they burst.

Water pressure can be too much for the pipes as well. It’s either the pipes are of low quality, the water has too much pressure, or both. The outward force can lead to breaks.

  • Friction

The abrasion in the water leads to friction. Couple that with the pipes rubbing against concrete and that can lead to bursting as well.

  • Father Time

As they say, Father Time is undefeated. All you can hope for is to prolong their life. Regular checkups and maintenance can help.

Signs to Look Out for with Your Concrete Slab

For something like this, the best you can hope for is to spot the problem as early as possible. This way, you can lessen the damage. These are the signs to look out for with your concrete slab:

  • Weird smell

Most homeowners will smell the issue first before they see it. There’s a musky smell that hits you as soon as you enter your basement. Hope and pray that the sewer line is not affected or else, you’d be heading to the nearest hotel for the night.

  • Mold and mildew

These thrive in the presence of moisture. If they’re there, it means that there’s moisture that shouldn’t be there. Speaking of a weird smell, mold and mildew add to that as well.

  • Soaked carpets

The water has to go somewhere. The slab will first absorb it. What happens once the slab reaches its saturation point? That’s when it starts coming up through to your carpets. So if you see soaked carpets and there’s no clear source, you know what to check next.

  • Warped flooring

This is the same as above. Moisture rising through the flooring will lead to it warping.

  • Damages

How’s your yard? Are there damages caused by flood and it hasn’t been raining hard? How’s your home’s foundation? You can’t really see with an untrained eye, but rising flooring can be a sign that you have a damaged foundation.

Problems with a Wet Basement or Damp Basement

A flooded basement is never a good thing. Homeowners can handle most issues but if a basement gets flooded, all of their perceived DIY knowledge goes out the window. It’s a life-changing problem. It’s one of those problems that have been affecting you for a long time now including the present time, and will continue to haunt you for the years to come if you don’t take care of the problem correctly.

Let’s put it this way. Water damage can lead to mold and mildew. In most cases, you’re already affected by them before you notice their presence. That’s just one of the problems that you’ve been dealing with in the past. Presently, the headaches and worries are the things that you’re dealing with. If you don’t take care of the problem correctly, you could be living in an unstable, unsafe and unhealthy house.

Here are just some of the problems that you’ll be dealing with:

  • Slips and falls

One second you’re trying to find your way through your dark basement and the next second you’re in pain on the floor because you’ve slipped on the damp floor. You could be looking at something as simple as a night on painkillers or an expensive hip surgery.

  • Mold and mildew

They need moisture in order to grow. Leave them alone and they will not just survive. They will thrive. This will lead to aesthetics issue. Let’s face it. A moldy home is never a good look.

But that’s the least of your concerns. They bring a long list of health issues. You and anyone in your family can get sick with respiratory illnesses. The risk is worse if someone in your family is already dealing with a respiratory issue. Kids and the elderly are at risk the most.

  • Pests

No one likes pests. Most of them are small but they can cause big problems. A wet environment attracts them. A compromised foundation and walls can also create entryways for them. They can wreak havoc, make the damages bigger, and even cause health concerns.

For example, leptospirosis is a valid concern. Flood plus rats can lead to this problem. You and your family will be at risk.

How to Stop Water from Coming through Concrete Floor

First of all, paint is not considered to be a sealer. While it may seem like it’s working at first, it will eventually fail because of 2 reasons:

  • It’s not waterproof.
  • It doesn’t expand.

Using a plastic underlayment is also a quick solution that other homeowners go for. It also won’t work. The water will still seep through the concrete and while the plastic will stop it, the moisture will end up getting trapped. This can still lead to problems including mold and mildew.

You have to seal the floor. That’s the simple answer. Concrete is a porous material so it will naturally absorb water. You can prevent this by sealing it.

It’s also possible that there are cracks along the basement or garage floor. Hire a professional concrete contractor to spot the cracks and to seal them to prevent water from coming up through.

You should also seal the supporting joints. Experienced flooring contractors will include expansion and supporting joints. Exterior-grade caulk will do.

Concrete Floor Moisture Sealers

Generally speaking, use an acrylic sealer for your basement floor and an epoxy sealer for the garage floor. The latter has the benefit of protection against grease.

You can also buy a polyurethane sealer to finish the other seal. It makes the seal more durable.

You can also keep it basic by using a silane sealer. This maintains the look of concrete.

How to Seal Concrete Floor from Moisture

Here’s the proper way of doing it:

  • Clean the area.

Do so thoroughly. This means taking out furniture to make sure that you can clean the area thoroughly. Make sure that you can clean the whole floor.

Use a broom to sweep the floor thoroughly. You can also use leaf blower if it’s really dusty.

You also need to get down and dirty especially with a garage floor that may be full of grease stains. Removing them is a must because the sealant won’t adhere to the flooring if it’s full of grease. There are grease cleaners that you can buy to make this process easier.

Once done, you need to really clean the concrete using a concrete cleaner. Use a broom with a scrub head to really clean the concrete. Rinse the area once you’re done.

  • Leave it to dry.

Leave it to dry for at least 24 hours. You can’t apply the sealer if it’s still wet. It’s not going to work.

  • Seal the cracks.

As mentioned, leaks can pass through the cracks as well. Use caulk designed for concrete to seal the cracks. Make sure to leave it to dry before moving on.

  • Apply the right sealer.

We’ve already mentioned acrylic, epoxy, polyurethane and silane sealers. When in doubt, ask a professional for guidance on which one to use.

Whatever sealer you decide to use, make sure that you read the instructions for use. Every sealer is different so don’t assume that the instructions are the same. Make sure to check for recommendations on the right temperature. Some sealers require to be applied in warm weather while some apply better in cold weather.

In addition, most epoxy sealers come in 2 cans. Make sure that you mix them together properly.

Ventilation is also important. You wouldn’t want to inhale all those vapors. Open as many windows as you can and position fans to drive the air out.

  • Divide the room into 4 and work on one area at a time.

Don’t move on to the next area without finishing the area that you’ve been working on. Funny as it may be, make sure that you plan accordingly so you don’t end up boxed in and trapped.

  • Apply the sealer.

Use a rolling brush. Use a hand brush to apply the sealer along the edges. Make sure that you apply it evenly and make sure that you cover every inch. There’s no point in applying a sealer if you end up not sealing the whole area.

Can Mold Grow on Concrete?

mold on a basement floor

The quick answer is yes, mold can grow on concrete. Worse, it can also grow inside concrete, with the latter being a porous material.

The problem with a lot of buildings and structures is that mold prevention wasn’t taken into consideration during the design process. This is why humidity levels weren’t considered. It’s not managed well, and this will also affect the air quality in the building.

Of course, no amount of preventive design will stop mold from forming if the concrete is not maintained and protected well.

What Happens to a Moldy Concrete Floor?

Mold produces acid. This acid will eat away at the concrete floor, basically degrading it and stripping it of its advantages namely durability. The already porous concrete floor will become more porous, absorbing more moisture in the process.

Getting the Help of Pros to Avoid Mold Growth

As mentioned, mold prevention should start at the design process. But what if you’re already way past that point? Don’t worry, because you can still get the help of pros to avoid mold growth.

The first thing that they’ll do is to check your home for damages especially on the roof. Damages to the roof can lead to leaking which will introduce water and moisture into your home. They’ll eventually find their way into your concrete flooring. This will lead to the growth of mold.

It’s also a good idea to hire a waterproofing contractor. They’ll remove any standing water if any, and will do the necessary preventive measures including but not limited to sealing the flooring to prevent moisture from entering.

They will also check the insulation and the air circulation. They’ll recommend and install additional insulation if needed. They will also introduce more circulation of air. This is to help prevent the build-up of moisture.

Of course, they will also remove existing mold. This is very important because it will grow and thrive if left alone. It has to be removed because it’s very unpleasant to look at. Worse, it can lead to a lot of health issues.

Hire a Pro if Water is Seeping through a Concrete Slab Floor

It’s not enough that you hire a professional for mold prevention and removal. There’s an underlying problem that you also have to take care of. Mold is caused by water and moisture which shouldn’t be in and on your floor. If they’re there, it means that there’s a problem that needs to be solved.

Do you even know what to check first? Do you know how to safely and effectively repair the damages? Would you know how to replace the flooring if needed?

The best way to deal with this issue is to hire a pro. They’ll take care of the problem from start to finish and can even help set up preventive measures to avoid a repeat of the issue.

Don’t make the mistake of doing it DIY just so you can save money. You’ll end up spending more money because you’ll commit a lot of mistakes since you’re not a professional. There’s even a good chance that you’ll end up hiring a professional in the end anyway to correct your mistakes.

Get Quotes from Competing Contractors

You don’t have to spend more money than you should. You can get quotes from competing contractors. Essentially, you’ll have them compete for your business. What’s the best way for them to capture your interest? It’s for them to send a great quote.

Unfortunately, contacting contractors one by one to request for a quote is time-consuming. You also have to do your homework to make sure that they’re licensed. This time-consuming process is the reason why a lot of homeowners decided to just grab the available deal at that point.

This is a pain point that we’ve solved with the free service that we’ve set up. We’ve put together a database of the best licensed contractors in the country and you can get access to this database. All you need to do is to complete the form that you see. It asks for basic details. Make sure to provide accurate details because they’ll be sent to the best licensed professionals in your area that can help you.

They’ll put together a quote based on these details. They know and understand that their competitors will receive your details as well and will put together their best quotes. This is why you can expect to receive around 4 of the best quotes that you can choose from.

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