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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on February 20th, 2017

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5 Problems Connecticut Basement Owners Know Too Well (& How to Fix Them)


Connecticut homeowners know all too well the problems associated with residential basements. Water leaks, poor air quality, mold, mildew, humidity and other conditions can make spending time in the basement unpleasant. These conditions can also make the basement a poor storage area, which can greatly reduce its functionality. Some homeowners struggle for years to make their basement more livable.

Knowing the ways that you can repair problems with your basement can improve the overall value of your home and can also improve your quality of life. At Litchfield Builders, we help homeowners make their basements more comfortable and functional. Using all the latest techniques and the best materials, we renovate basements all over New Haven and in the surrounding community.

Get a deeper understanding of how to plan your basement finishing project with our latest guide.

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Common Basement Problems

Water Leaks

Water that collects in the ground can be absorbed by your home’s foundation, leading to leaks, cracks, and then bigger leaks. Excess moisture in basements can lead to condensation and flooding.

The solution: Fortunately, there are many things that Connecticut homeowners can do to control moisture in their basements.

  • Sealing air gaps: Air gaps in the between the foundation and the wooden structure above the foundation can lead to water leaks during times of heavy rain and snow. Sealing these air gaps can create a tighter outer shell on your home, reducing instances of leaks.
  • Insulate the basement: Proper basement insulation can help control the temperature of the basement thus preventing condensation from forming on the walls.
  • Use a dehumidifier: Dehumidifiers help dry the air in the basement.
  • Install a French drain: For homes with serious problems with leaks, installing a French drain on the property can help take water away from the home and prevent floods inside the basement.

Air Quality

Your home’s HVAC system helps control the humidity levels in your home by delivering dry, climate controlled air to various parts of the house. Unfortunately, many basements do not have air ducts and are not connected to the home’s HVAC system. Lack of air flow and air ducts in basements contributes to moist, stagnant air in the basement. This helps create conditions that are perfect for the development of mold growth.

The solution: Install walls in your basement, around your furnace and throughout the space. Place ducts in the walls and connect these ducts to your home’s furnace. This will help keep your basement warm in the winter and will also dry the air in the basement. When rain and snow falls during the autumn, winter and spring, the HVAC system in your home will help dry out the basement.

Ductwork Problems

Many basements have unfinished walls and ceilings, leaving the home’s ductwork visible and exposed. This can create a variety of problems. Ductwork can crowd out lighting fixtures, create temperature control problems, and are just generally an eyesore anyway.

The solution: Finishing your basement walls and ceiling can help mitigate these problems, making your basement more attractive overall. When finishing your basement, work with a licensed, professional contractor with experience finishing basements. Ask for references and request to see pictures that will reveal your contractor’s quality of work. When meeting with contractors, ask each person what he or she would do to solve your ductwork problem.

For lights that have been crowded out by the ductwork in your home, try installing skinny lights in place of traditional lights. Installation of a plaster ceiling can help hide the ductwork. Talk to your contractor about these details as you discuss the details of your remodel.


Moldy air and spores can cause health problems for residents, exacerbating asthma and other conditions. You’ll be able to tell if your home has a mold problem by the musty smell, and you may also see visual evidence of mold on the floors and walls.

Mold is a common problem in basements because of excess moisture, stagnant air and other problems. Sometimes, fixing the water leak or improving the indoor air quality can help control or eliminate the mold problem.

Sometimes mold is caused by the installation of carpet directly over concrete. Concrete can absorb moisture through the soil beneath the house. Covering the floor with carpeting can prevent the concrete from properly drying out, leading to moisture problems.

The solution: Your basement’s concrete floor needs air flow in order to dry out. Installing a subfloor above the concrete can give your basement the airflow it needs. You can pick the type of subfloor that’s right for you, whether that’s bamboo, tile or even simple plywood. Once the subfloor has been installed, new carpet can be installed on top.

Noisy Drainpipes

In addition to ductwork, unfinished basements can leave drainpipes exposed in the walls and ceiling. Water flushing through drainpipes is noisy, which means that anyone in the basement can hear when someone upstairs uses the sink and toilet.

The solution: Noisy drainpipes need padding to block the sound. Wrapping the pipes in carpet padding can help soften the noise, but some water can still be heard if wrapped pipes are left exposed. Hiding the pipes in new drywall will take this a step further, muffling the noise.

A Better Solution to All These Problems

Homeowners experiencing all of these problems at once (noisy pipes, water leaks, mold or mildew and poor air quality) can solve all of these problems with a full basement remodel.

A full basement remodel involves waterproofing the basement, climate controlling the space, installing proper lighting and duct work, and covering the walls and ceilings with dry wall. When a full basement remodel is complete, the basement will look like other parts of the house. Full basement remodels can expand your home’s useable space and can turn the basement into a good place.

Contact Litchfield Builders for Your Basement Remodeling Needs

How do you manage the problems in your basement? Leave your comments in the box below! If you're interested in solving these issues with a basement remodel, download our guide, "Read this Before Remodeling your Basement" to learn all the important things to consider before embarking on a remodel. 

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About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.