If your basement has signs of water — standing puddles or moisture around window wells, then you may have problems that cannot be ignored. Like air itself, water can seep through the smallest cracks, gaps, or openings imaginable, slowly eating away at cement, mortar, wood, insulation — the very things that form the basis of not only your basement or crawl space, but your entire home. Your basement is an important part of your home and is more than just storage, a lot of homes have important electrical components including the outlet for their central vacuum in their basement. In cases such as this, the best course of action is to pursue wet basement repair solutions before the problem gets out of hand.
Here are several tips we would like to offer to home owners plagued by wet basement problems:
- Longer downspouts. One of the simplest ways that home and business owners can avoid the need for potentially costly wet basement repair is to extend the length of existing downspouts with plastic or metal extensions. The plastic ones are especially clever as many are designed accordion style, meaning that although they are rigid, they remain flexible enough to bend in different directions and can direct water away from the house.
- Fill in the gaps. As we mentioned earlier, water can seep through the smallest gaps or cracks, so it is a good idea to fill in openings around pipes or cracks in walls. This can often be accomplished with polyurethane caulk or hydraulic cement. In the case of cracks in the wall, the cracks themselves need to be cleaned of any debris before the cement or caulk is injected into the space. Smooth it over, let it dry, then apply another coat as necessary to lessen the chance of needing wet basement repair.
- Direct the water away with landscaping. Ideally, every home sits on a mound or crown of dirt about six inches tall that slopes in all directions away from the walls and foundation. It is not uncommon for the earth to settle and flatten out, meaning water can pool at the walls and eventually seep inside. This can be resolved with a water absorbing clay-foam mix, which is built up around the walls like a ramp to direct the water.
- Add berms strategically. One attractive landscaping feature that also doubles as a great way to keep your basement from leaking is by building small berms — mounds of dirt — several inches away from the walls to help direct the flow of water.
- Clean out footing drains. A footing drain is an exterior drainage system placed outside the foundation wall near the footing — hence the name “footing drains.” Over time, it can become clogged or cracked, meaning wet basement repair along the lines of the drain being cleaned or replaced is in order. To clean the drain yourself, look for a cleanout pipe capped a few inches above the floor, open it, and flush it with a garden hose. If you have questions about this method, give us a call for more details.
- Install a curtain drain. To help channel the water, you also could ask us about the benefits of a curtain drain. This is an exterior drain placed in a shallow trench — about two feet deep — that consists of a perforated pipe covered with gravel that is designed to capture underground water flowing downhill toward your house.
- Add an interior drain system. Another kind of drain system that we can discuss with you in more detail is an interior drain system. This is similar in nature to a curtain drain, except it requires breaking up the concrete floor along the base of the wall and channeling the water to an underground collection tank at the basement’s lowest spot. This is an effective but potentially expensive kind of wet basement repair.
The last kind of wet basement repair you can pursue is waterproofing the walls either from the inside, which is sometimes a stop-gap measure, or by pursuing a more expensive and long-term solution by excavating outside your home and sealing the foundation. Visit us on Google+