It’s the stuff of nightmares for a homeowner: going down to the basement to be surprised by several inches of water. Maybe it comes after a heavy rain, maybe there’s a busted pipe somewhere in the basement or maybe you’re coming down to the basement after a thaw from spring. Whatever the reason, seeing standing water means you’ve got a problem that you need to fix immediately.
You might think you’ve done everything you can to keep water out of your basement, but it happens all the time. Full basements—one of the three most common types of home foundations—tend to take on water because they’re built below grade. In fact, it’s estimated more than 98% of homes with basements will experience water damage at some point.
Over time cracks can open up and the soil in your home’s foundation can get saturated as the house settles. When the soil gets wet, cracks form and water more often than not gets in places it shouldn’t. When that happens, you’re got issues like leaking, mold and mildew to deal with.
So what can you do to keep water out? The easy answer is to waterproof your basement and your basement walls. With a few easy pointers you can secure your basement, so here are some do’s and don’ts to follow as you go along:
- DO—Find a water source: The first thing you’ve got to do in your waterproofing process is to find the source of the flooding. You can look for cracks in several places and if you have trouble, enlist the services of a basement waterproofing company for help. In addition to looking for cracks, it can also be beneficial to do some testing along the walls of your basement. The purpose of this is to find out whether the source of leakage is coming from inside your house or from the outside.
- DO—Waterproof bare interior basement walls: If you or a basement waterproofing company finds during testing that water is soaking through your basement walls, they can easily be sealed up with waterproof sealant and waterproof paint. This will give your walls a watertight bond.
- DO—Use hydraulic cement: As you look for cracks in your basement, especially along the walls, you’re likely going to find “cold joints” or weak spots where the foundation may have shifted a little. As these shifts occur, pressure builds up and the joints open up, creating pathways for water to get in with the right push.
So what can you do to fix this problem? You or a basement waterproofing company can use hydraulic cement to easily fill in those cracks. Why hydraulic cement? It has additives that expand and set, filling in all those cracks and providing support to cold joints.
- DON’T—Get ahead of yourself: If you’re trying to waterproof your basement, any basement waterproofing company will tell you it’s not as an easy job. You’re not going to be able to do much without getting rid of water first. Really take time to think about what you’re going to do. You want to make sure you’ve turned all the power off so you don’t get electrocuted and you’re going to need a utility pump of some kind to get rid of the water.
- DON’T—Forget your windows: As you or a basement waterproofing company works to seal up your basement, don’t forget about your basement windows, even if the walls are your first priority. Whether you know it or not, windows can be another common source of leaks as they can very easily retain water. You can have a basement waterproofing company install a drainage system for you, which will prevent water from pooling up and eventually seeping in to unwanted places.
To fix the problem even more, basement waterproofing services can dig a few feet deeper in your window wells and fill any extra space with gravel. Doing this helps better dispense rainwater and other types of water buildup. Caulk is also effective in sealing everything up.
When it comes to waterproofing your basement, following the steps above will keep water out of your house and save you from costly repairs. By sealing walls and windows, your basement will stay dry and you won’t be on the hook for a huge basement repair or even a foundation repair in the future.