For many homeowners springtime is not a joyous time because they have leaky basement problems. Year after year every spring they are stuck with wet basement problems because they are not sure how to repair wet basement problems.
If you are like most American homeowners you have a list tucked away of home improvement projects you want to get done. It is strongly suggested before you drive another nail that you repair wet basement problems. This is a problem that needs your undivided attention because it is that serious.
What is Happening In Your Basement?
The first step to repair wet basement problems is to figure out the source of the problem. A lot of homeowners will go through the steps to repair wet basement problems, but skip the vital step of managing the cause.
In some cases the problem is obvious. Your foundation is cracked, there is an issue with drain pipes, or there is frequent flooding that causes the issue. In other cases, the problem is not that easy to detect. For example, sometimes you have to look up to find the problem.
Your basement should not leak. For example, house washing with a pressure washer should not cause you concern. Your basement should not wind up with puddles if you are having the exterior of your home cleaned. Your basement should not take on water if you are watering your plants around the foundation. It is not something you should just accept as part of living in your home.
There is a problem if your basement is getting wet. Finding the problem will help you to come up with solutions to keep it from happening over and over.
Here are a few things to check for:
- Clogged gutters can be the problem. If your gutters are clogged, water can pool and spill over. Instead of moving water away from your house, it will pool it right up against the foundation.
- Other roofing problems can also be the culprit. Not every roof leak runs through the ceiling. In some cases, the water will run through the walls into the basement. Check interior and exterior walls for signs of water damage.
- Check around ductwork entering the basement, and check around any piping that is entering the basement.
If you plan to repair wet basement problems as a DIY project then you have to put on your detective cap and do a little detective work to find the cause of the problem. Even a small crack in the foundation can let water into the basement.
To get the best results it is not enough to waterproof the interior walls of the basement. If you do not find the cause and address that, you will continue to have a wet basement. Doing the job right starts with finding the problem.
If you suspect your roof is the culprit call in an expert and have them inspect your roofing system. They will easily be able to pinpoint the problem and help you to rectify it. It may sound crazy but sometimes a new roof will quickly put an end to the issue.
If you suspect your ductwork has something to do with it, then call for trusted AC services, that is the expert that can evaluate your ductwork and find the problem. In many cases, a few repairs, and the problems end.
Getting your basement in order sometimes require the help of a professional, because the problem has nothing to do with the foundation or the basement itself. Detecting the cause, and addressing it, will repair wet basement problems.
How Much “Wet” Are You Dealing With?
Basements are known for being damp, which is, unfortunately, normal. Concrete sweats. If you have a concrete foundation you can expect to have a damp basement. There is a big difference between dealing with a damp basement and a basement that has an actual wet problem. The way you repair wet basement problems are determined by how wet your basement is.
For example, if you live near a body of water and you are dealing with a basement that actually takes on water, than you should install a sump pump, and drain. If you are dealing with a basement that is damp you can rectify the problem with a few simple measures.
In either case, addressing the problem should be a priority to avoid having to put in an insurance claim for the damage that will eventually occur. Moisture is the enemy of your home. Mold thrives in a moist environment and can quickly spread throughout the rest of your house. Mold removal can be costly and is something you should leave up to the experts. Mold can make people in your home sick, eat walls, flooring, and ruin a wide range of your personal goods.
The goal is to avoid bigger problems like:
- Having to call water damage cleanup experts to help save your basement, foundation, and other parts of your home from water damage.
- Permanently damaging your foundation, floor joists, electrical systems, and more.
- Losing items that are stored in the basement to water damage, mold, and moisture.
When you take the initiative to repair wet basement problems you save yourself a lot of headaches. Once you have determined the cause and evaluated exactly how much moisture and water your basement is taking on then you can get started on the repairs.
The Basics To Repair Wet Basement Problems
Let’s assume you found the problem, and that has been addressed. What’s next? What you do next largely depends on the level of damage you find in your basement. For example, if you refinished your basement and the wood flooring that you laid is damaged, you may be able to get away with hardwood floor sanding to remove damaged areas, or you may have to consider hiring one of the waste removal companies to haul off the majority of the flooring.
The best way to ensure that you get rid of and replace anything that has been damaged so you can start with a clean slate, is to evaluate the area. Check insulation around pipes, check floor joists, check areas around wiring, and other nooks and crannies to be sure that if there is damage you can address it, before you start the basement waterproofing process.
Once you have any damage repaired or replaced then it is time to get started on the waterproofing to ensure that your basement is protected. Here are some steps you should take in the waterproofing process:
- Use a high quality moisture shield. If you have a concrete foundation, remember concrete sweats which add to the dampness. Use a high-quality moisture barrier shield on both the interior and the exterior of the basement walls. If you cannot get all the way down on the exterior walls that are okay, use it on the walls that are above the ground.
- Caulk around any windows in your basement. A good quality silicone caulk will help to keep out moisture and will have the added benefit of providing a bit of insulation against the weather.
- Seal around any pipes that are coming into the basement. Drain pipes and other piping should be insulated and sealed around the circumference to ensure that nothing can get in.
Water is not the only thing that will take advantage of cracks, and unsealed areas. Insects and rodents love to scurry in through these openings as well. If you have an insect or rodent issue be sure to call in an exterminator before you start sealing things up.
For example, ants can also be destructive and are well known for invading homes. Professional ant removal will get rid of that problem so you can focus on the steps to repair wet basement problems.
Before you put up that moisture barrier, do be sure that you repair any cracks in your foundation. Use a high-quality concrete repair material, and just go around the room and hit up any cracked area. If you do not address the small cracks, you will have to eventually address very large cracks.
To Sump Pump Or Not To Sump Pump That is The Question
If you live in an area with a high water table, installing a drainage system may to repair wet basement problems may be the best solution. Before you follow any of the steps above that were outlined in the basics to repair wet basement problems, you may have to consider a drainage system to prevent damage in the future.
Of course, whether or not this is a necessary step for your home is entirely up to your experience with the wet basement problems. Answer a few questions to learn if you need to take this step:
- Has your basement flooded before? Have you taken on more than an inch of water in your basement in any one event?
- Has your basement flooded (one inch or more of water) more than one time?
- Does your home meet any of these descriptions? You are on a flat piece of land without any real drainage. Your home is a low lying area, that is below the water table. Your soil drains poorly. You live in an area where snow melts fast, or you experience heavy rains frequently that is difficult for the ground to absorb.
A sump pump and drainage system can be the key to ensuring that you never have to worry about basement flooding again. Once you have addressed the cause of the flooding, and made any necessary repairs, you can install your sump pump to ensure that you do not have to do it again in the future.
If you do not have any experience with a sump pump system, you may want to consider calling in a professional. You can manage all the other parts to repair wet basement problems, and let the pros install the sump pump system.
What Should You Do Outside Your Property?
To repair wet basement problems, is typically a multi-layer approach. You will likely have to do some work outdoors as well. Encouraging good drainage outside of your home can help to keep the water away from your home.
If around your foundation the area is flat, create a berm to encourage water to move away from your home. Creating a manmade small hill to direct water away from the foundation can help. You can also dig a small trench about 8 inches away from your foundation and fill it with small-sized gravel to give water a place to run away from your home.
Check outdoor water spigots to ensure that they are sealed around the circumference. You also will want to check that your downspouts are directed away from the house. Dig a small-sized trench and fill with gravel to encourage water from the downspout to head away from your foundation.
Do not plant bushes and hedges to close to your foundation. The root systems can be powerful and can cause damage to your foundation out of eyeshot.
You should plant water-loving trees and other landscape plants around your home to help keep the water level down, but do be careful about how close to the home you plant. You do not want to wind up with a root issue in pipes and drains.
Once you have taken the steps to repair wet basement problems, you want to be sure that you never have to worry about it again. How do you do that? You make repairs as they crop up. In other words, if you notice a problem, fix it right away.
There are a lot of home improvement projects that are designed to enhance the aesthetics of your home which can take up a lot of your home improvement time and budget, but it is always important that you manage the “musts” before you move on to the “wants”. There are clear benefits to managing your basement water issues like having a usable space that you can be confident in. Of course, the other plus is that you do not have to worry about damaging your home and absorbing costly repair bills.
Fix your basement before you move on to the fun home improvement projects and you will be able to move on with peace of mind.