A wet basement is more than just an inconvenience for homeowners, it can cause serious issues with your health, home, and property. Any moisture can cause harmful mold, damage to anything stored there, and costly foundation repairs.
In February, March, and April, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas are experiencing heavy rains. And during these months, basement flooding is inevitable but preventable. Rain isn’t the only culprit. While rainwater and snowmelt are common causes of flooding, subsurface seepage, humidity, condensation, poor ventilation, and leaking pipe are possibilities.
If you notice a musty odor, mysterious cracks, or general dampness in your basement, you must first identify the source of the problem. If everything appears in order, use these basement waterproofing tips to avoid future problems.
Here are some tips on keeping your basement dry all year round.
Waterproof the Basement.
You have a serious problem if your basement is flooding! A wet basement will reduce the value of your home by 10% or more, and flooded water will damage your walls, floors, and stored items. Mold will create an unhealthy environment in your home as it grows.
Installing a sump pump system in your basement and a drainage system along the perimeter walls will intercept groundwater before it enters your home.
Waterproofing your basement by sealing your unfinished concrete will prevent the porous material from absorbing moisture from the air. This step is especially important if you have a finished basement with furniture, as it will help protect your belongings from damage during a rainstorm.
Waterproof paint on the walls can help with minor moisture issues, but this will not thoroughly fix active leaks. This can be a DIY option, but it is still best to call a professional to fix leaks and waterproof the whole area.
You can take extra precautions to waterproof your basement’s interior walls and floor by applying the waterproof sealant to bare concrete or masonry. These unique sealants will form a solid membrane over the surface of your basement, preventing minor water leaks.
It is critical to apply a thick coat of sealant. The sealant must fill every tiny pore in your masonry to form the proper seal. If you apply it more conservatively, it may become effective.
Remember that sealant is not a fix for cracks or existing leaks. It should only be used when your basement is not leaking.
Keep water away from your foundation.
Water usually seeps into your basement through the foundation. Your home has a few defenses against this, but they must be maintained to remain effective.
The first major step is to inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts. They aid in diverting water away from your foundation. Debris, on the other hand, accumulates over time and can cause a blockage when your gutters or downspouts fail to function properly and water spills over the sides and against your home. Water can saturate the ground near your foundation and seep in when this happens.
Second, consider the grading of your landscaping. It’s ideal if your house has a slight incline away from your house. This is only sometimes done during the initial construction, and sometimes the pitch will wear away over time.
Examine the slope away from your home for potential problem areas and consider filling them in. This is especially important during the winter, especially when thick snow builds up. When the snow melts against your house, the lack of proper grading can lead to basement flooding.
Insulate your cold-water pipes.
There are numerous reasons why you should insulate any exposed water pipes in your basement. Insulating hot water pipes saves energy by preventing your water heater from working too hard. However, insulating your cold water pipes is also a wise decision. When the temperature is at its lowest, insulation can keep your cold water pipes from freezing.
More importantly, it prevents condensation from forming along them when the humidity is high. The basement is most likely the most humid area of your home, and as humidity rises, cold water pipes will “sweat.” Mold colonies thrive in conditions of sustained dampness in a dark, enclosed space.
Pipe insulation is popular among homeowners to prevent winter freezing or to reduce heat loss. Another excellent reason to insulate pipes is to avoid sweating. Cold water pipes can cause condensation around them on hot, humid days. These sweating pipes, especially if drip, will add to the overall moisture in your basement.
Foam insulation is extremely inexpensive and simple to install. The foam keeps your pipes from dripping throughout your basement. During the winter, insulation can help prevent drafts that otherwise cause them to freeze. Overall, it’s a great investment to protect your home and basement for the few minutes it takes to cut inexpensive foam pipe wrap.
Install a backup sump pump system and add waterproof wall paneling.
If you only have one pump and that pump fails, your sump pump system will fail.
Sump pumps can clog and, like other mechanical appliances in your home, will eventually wear out. A blown fuse, power outage, or unintentional unplugging of a sump pump will also cause it to stop working. A single sump pump will fail sooner or later, and when it does, you’ll probably only find out when your basement floods.
With a sump pump system installed, you can expect a dry basement. However, the space will remain damp due to moisture entering the basement through the porous concrete walls and floor.
As moisture passes through the basement walls, it raises the humidity level, promoting mold growth and giving the space the musty odor that basements are notorious for.
Now that your basement is free of moisture and humidity, you can finish it, use it, and store valuables confidently.
We recommend that you protect your investment by having a professional clean and maintain your system once a year. This helps to detect problems before they occur and ensures that your system is functioning properly.
Your service technician can ensure that your system is in good working order, look for any new issues, and recommend upgrades.
Use these basement drying tips to avoid a moisture disaster this spring! Keep an eye out for signs of unwelcome moisture in your basement. You can protect your home and property from costly damage. Make the most of that space by using it as another room in your home.
Are you looking for exterior basement waterproofing in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C? For over 30 years, Harry Braswell Waterproofing has been in the business of providing waterproofing solutions. We rely on our extensive knowledge and experience with how a home’s systems interact to keep it safe, dry, and operational. Harry Braswell, Inc. has been renovating homes in this area for nearly four decades and has faced numerous waterproofing challenges.