Methods of Preventing Dampness on Concrete Floors

Moisture ingress, also known as penetrating damp, can affect concrete floors. It is harder to treat damp concrete floors than it is to treat damp walls.

This is because concrete is highly porous. Water can travel through capillaries, causing the property to have damp floors.

Thankfully, some straightforward steps can be taken to address concrete floor dampness and prevent its recurrence.

What Are Defects Caused by Dampness?

Excessive moisture in the concrete substrate will show itself as an unsightly and potentially dangerous structural problem.

If you notice any of the following issues, there is a chance that you are dealing with concrete floor moisture issues.

Cracking Floors

If there is excessive moisture in the concrete substrate, it will need to escape through the surface.

The force of the moisture escaping will cause the concrete to crack. A mild moisture problem may produce hairline fractures. A more severe problem may produce huge, noticeable cracks in the concrete.


Moisture in a concrete slab that travels to the top may not have enough force to crack the concrete.

However, moisture will seep into the flooring and create bubbles or pockets of moisture. This will ruin the smooth and level surface. Bubbles are ugly, they are potential trip hazards, and they can lead to serious structural issues.

Loose Pieces

This is also referred to as spalling. This is where small chips of concrete break free from the rest of the floor.

This happens when the moisture in the concrete freezes. Then little pieces of concrete are forced out of their typically snug location.

In addition to the above-mentioned defects, in cases of dampness in concrete flooring, 58 Foundations has seen:

  • Mold
  • Staining
  • Discoloration
  • White Residue
  • Damp Spots
  • Delamination

What Are Causes of Dampness?

At the end of the day, concrete floor dampness is usually caused by a lack of adequate basement waterproofing. When a lack of waterproofing allows moisture to collect, it rises up and travels underneath the concrete flooring slabs. This is known as the capillary effect.

Another reason for the dampness is excessive water in the concrete mix ratio. As the concrete dries, there are clusters that don’t dry. With time, the free water rises toward the concrete flooring, leading to dampening.

How Do You Prevent Dampness on Concrete Floors?

A way to prevent dampness is to let concrete slabs sit in optimal drying conditions until they have completely dried. The amount of time needed for them to dry completely will vary based on the thickness of the concrete slab.

A second option is integral damping. This is where fatty acids, calcium, petroleum, chalk, or other materials are added to the concrete mix. These repulse water and make the concrete more water-resistant.

A third option is using a damp-proof membrane. This is where a partition is placed between the source of the dampness and the concrete slabs. Typically, a partition or membrane is constructed of flexible and water-repellent materials like asphalt, plastic, metal, etc.


Concrete floor dampening is unsightly, can affect the home’s environment, and could lead to structural damage. Protect your home by making waterproofing a priority.

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