According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, more than half of all American homes suffer from a “wet basement.” There are many causes and just as many waterproofing solutions – and it can all seem overwhelming to homeowners. So we thought we’d take a step back and break it down to the basics of basement waterproofing.
First things first: never ignore water or moisture or a musty smell in your basement. Once you notice any water or if you suspect there is a problem because of an odor, you should contact a professional waterproofing company like us. Basement waterproofers have the knowledge to diagnose a water problem in your basement and the skill set to fix any issues – either interior or exterior.
Water Management: Inside Your Home
Water in your basement – whether it is a flood or a leak – can wreak havoc on your home. You can lose living space or storage space and the items within those places. Your home will lose value, and the very foundation of your home can be damaged. When looking to manage water inside your home, we suggest addressing the problem from the basement interior first. This will take care of any emergent issues and restore your basement to a usable state. Depending on the issue, it can be very affordable as well.
Some of the questions we ask when examining the interior of a basement are:
Is your basement properly sealed? Water will always find the path of least resistance, and it loves to make its way through the even the smallest cracks in the foundation of your home, including walls and floors, or even in pipe entrance areas. Sealing these cracks is a simple fix. We stop leaks right at their sources by injecting the cracks with a sealing material and / or by applying a waterproof coating to the floors and walls of your basement. Basement waterproofing coatings keep water and dampness out of your home.
Is your basement draining properly? All basements that are prone to leaking or flooding must have effective draining systems. These systems collect water in your basement and direct that water out of your home. Piping systems will take the water to a sump pump or French drain. The water is then directed far away from your home.
Water Management: Outside Your Home
Once we take a look at the interior of your basement, we next look at how water is managed on the exterior of your home. It is important to know that the International Building Code calls for external water management and waterproofing to prevent water-related structural issues. While it can be expensive, exterior waterproofing will add much value to your home overall.
Some of the questions we ask when examining your home’s exterior include:
What is the general drainage like in your home’s area? Some neighborhoods have very poor drainage. When water drains toward your house, and not away from it, it can cause immense pressure on the walls of your home’s foundation. As we noted above, this can cause cracks in the floors and walls which leads to leaks and flooding. Part of effective basement waterproofing is to make it so that water cannot build up around your home and put pressure on its foundation. Depending on the particular situation, we can employ a variety of measures to manage water from the exterior. This includes outdoor pumps, leveling the land, or adding a French drain, and more.
Have the walls been sealed from the outside? While basement walls should be sealed from the inside, they also should be sealed from the outside. It’s a simple and effective process to add a non-porous waterproof coating to the exterior foundation walls. This will only add to the effectiveness of interior management and exterior drainage systems.
As you can see, proper draining and sealing are the two firsts of basement waterproofing basics. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help keep your basement dry, contact us.