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Waterproofing in your Basement

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If you’ve decided to finish your basement, or you just want to ensure the area is well-maintained, you likely need to consider waterproofing in your basement.  Because they are below ground, basements are considerably more susceptible to flooding or even gradual water seepage from the outdoors.  Eventually, water entering your basement can have a number of consequences including mold and mildew growth or in severe cases weakening of your home’s foundation.  Especially if you live in a colder climate, water seeping into your basement can freeze and melt and cause significant damage to the concrete foundation of your home – a very costly repair that cannot be overlooked.  So, what do you need to know about waterproofing in your basement?

First, as the homeowner you can save yourself some money by thoroughly inspecting the outdoor area around your home.  If you notice dirt or soil around your home sloping toward the basement, this should be cause for concern.  You’ll need to fill this slope; not doing so can result in significant seepage or even flooding.  In fact, after a long dry spell or even a heavy rainfall, the earth around your home may not absorb water effectively.  As such, the water will run down this slope into your basement.

Another easy homeowner fix is to ensure all gutters and drains are clear and operating properly.  Remove leaves and debris from gutters, as clogged gutters can overflow with water and also lead to unnecessary water entry into your basement.  You’ll also want to be sure that all downspouts are properly installed, at least 5 feet from your home.

Next, consider hiring a professional to inspect your basement and make any necessary repairs.  A qualified contractor will thoroughly check your foundation and remedy any leaks or other problems before they are a serious concern.  If you are already having problems with dampness in the basement, your contractor might recommend costly repairs.  Unfortunately, basement repairs involve the foundation of your home, so they should not be ignored.  While they tend to be among the most costly home repairs, ignoring leaks in the basement will eventually cause significant and even more expensive problems that can compromise the structural integrity of your entire home.

Should your contractor make repair recommendations, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion.  Still, as already mentioned, you really need to address leaks into the basement immediately.  In more extreme cases, your contractor may recommend digging up your basement floor to install a sump to automatically discharge water when levels get too high.  A French drain is another wet basement solution that essentially consists of a drain system running under your basement floor.  Once major problems are solved, consider waterproofing basement walls with Drylok, Xypex or another commercially available waterproofing product.

 

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