Not only does a wet basement feel and smell nasty, but it also poses a great risk to your home’s value. Left unchecked, basement moisture can ruin floors and walls, encourage mould, even damage roofing.
Some wet basements are easy to cure simply by clearing gutters and by diverting gutter water away from the foundation. But if the problem comes from other sources—water flowing toward the house on the surface, seeping in from underground, or backing up through municipal storm drains—you must take more aggressive action.
Do you find getting the water out of your basement, the main concerns these days? Then, this blog is for you. Keep Reading!
One of the most common problems in homes with basements is water seeping inside and pooling on the floor. There are several things that cause basement wetting. Usually, wet basements occur during the winter months or after heavy rains.
If left unchecked, basement moisture not only can ruin floors and walls but can even encourage mould and can damage the roofing as well. So, the only question coming in your mind right now is how to stop water from seeping into my basement?
Basement waterproofing can work wonders in solving these problems. But before going deep into this, let’s discuss some of the essential points that you need to know about your leaking basement.
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What Causes a Wet Basement?
The water in the basement most often comes from rainfall and melting snow. Even a small storm can trigger a deluge. For example, a house with a 1,500-square-foot roof sheds 1,000 gallons of water for every inch of falling rain. In tougher cases, the problem is rising groundwater, which may even be fed by an underground spring. Once the water accumulates around your foundation, it works its way inside through cracks, joints, and porous material.
Here are eight strategies to keep water out of your basement.
Add Gutter Extensions
If downspouts are dumping water less than 5 feet away from your house, you can guide water farther out by adding plastic or metal gutter extensions.
But extensions aren’t the neatest or most effective long-term solution, especially if you’re likely to trip over them or run over them with a lawnmower. Permanent, the underground drain pipe is invisible and capable of moving large quantities of gutter runoff much farther from your house.
If you see water dribbling into the basement through cracks or gaps around plumbing pipes, you can plug the openings yourself with hydraulic cement or polyurethane caulk for less than $20.
Plugs work when the problem is simply a hole that water oozes through, either from surface runoff or from wet soil. But if the water is coming up through the floor, or at the joint where floor and walls meet, the problem is groundwater, and plugs won’t do the trick.
Restore the Crown
If the gutters are working and you’ve plugged obvious holes, but water still dribbles into your basement or crawl space from high on foundation walls, then surface water isn’t draining away from the house as it should.
Your house should sit on a “crown” of soil that slopes at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet in all directions.
Over time, the soil around the foundation settles. You can build it back with a shovel and dirt. One cubic yard of a water-shedding clay-loam mix from a landscape supply house costs around $30 (plus delivery) and is enough for a 2-foot-wide, 3-inch-deep layer along 57 feet of the foundation.
Reshape the Landscape
Since your home’s siding slightly overlaps its foundation, building up the crown could bring soil–and rot and termites–too close to siding for comfort: 6 inches is the minimum safe distance. In that case, create a berm (a mound of dirt) or a swale (a wide, shallow ditch), landscape features that redirect water long before it reaches your house.
In small areas, berms are easy; a landscape contractor can build one for a few hundred dollars. On bigger projects, berms make less sense because you’ll have to truck in too much soil. In that case, dig a swale (about $1,000). Once landscaping grows in, berms and swales can be attractive features in your yard.
Repair Footing Drains
If water is leaking into your basement low on the walls or at the seams where walls meet the floor, your problem is hydrostatic pressure pushing water up from the ground.
First, check whether you have footing drains, underground pipes installed when the house was built to carry water away from the foundation. (Look for a manhole or drain in the basement floor or a cleanout pipe capped a few inches above the floor.)
If the drains are clogged, open the cleanout and flush the pipes with a garden hose. If that doesn’t work, a plumber with an augur can do the job for about $600.
Install a Curtain Drain
If you don’t have working footing drains, install a curtain drain to divert water that’s travelling underground toward your house.
A type of French drain, a curtain drain is a shallow trench–2 feet deep and 1.5 feet across–filled with gravel and perforated piping that intercepts water uphill of your house and carries it down the slope a safe distance away.
If the drain passes through an area with trees or shrubs, consider switching to the solid pipe to reduce the risk of roots growing into the piping and clogging it. Cost: $10 to $16 per linear foot.
Pump the Water
If you can’t keep subsurface water out, you’ll have to channel it from the inside.
To create an interior drain system, saw a channel around the perimeter of the floor, chip out the concrete, and lay perforated pipe in the hole. The pipe drains to a collection tank at the basement’s low spot, where a sump pump shoots it out the house.
Starting at about $3,000, an interior system is the best and least disruptive option in an unfinished basement with easy access. It’s also a good choice if your yard is filled with mature landscaping that digging an exterior drainage system would destroy.
Waterproof the Walls
Installing an interior drainage system gets the water out but doesn’t waterproof the walls. For that, you need an exterior system: a French drain to relieve hydrostatic pressure and exterior waterproofing to protect the foundation.
It’s a big job that requires excavating around the house, but it may be the best solution if you have a foundation with numerous gaps. It also keeps the mess and water outside, which may be the best choice if you don’t want to tear up a finished basement.
The downside, besides a price tag that can reach $20,000, is that your yard takes a beating, and you may need to remove decks or walkways.
Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of internal waterproofing Melbourne services.
Strategies that will permanently fix your musty, wet basement.
Diagnose the Water Problem
Water or moisture in basements comes from two sources. One source is indoor humidity that condenses on cold surfaces, much like water droplets form on a cold drink on a humid day. The other is water—or water vapour—that comes from outside. Rainwater, melting snow or groundwater can saturate the soil around your foundation and leak in. Water can leak through cracks, or it can penetrate porous concrete or masonry walls in the form of water vapour. To figure out what’s causing the problem, tape aluminium foil to your basement wall and inspect it a few days later. Moisture on the outside surface of the foil indicates high indoor humidity. Moisture behind the foil means moisture is leaking through the walls. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to finish a basement here.
Get Rid of Excess Humidity
Eliminating the sources of humid air will help dry out your basement. Seal leaky dryer vents with foil tape to prevent unwanted humid air from entering your basement. Don’t just use duct tape; it’ll eventually fall off. Add a vent fan to your basement bathroom and make sure your family turns it on during showers. Keep your basement windows closed during humid weather. And if you’re still getting condensation on cool surfaces, run a dehumidifier to lower the indoor humidity.
Condensation dripping from cold pipes can contribute to basement water problems. Cover cold water pipes with foam pipe insulation to stop condensation. The foam insulation is inexpensive and easy to cut with scissors.
Basement Leak Repair: Insulate Basement Walls
Insulate exterior walls to prevent condensation. In cold climates, insulating basement walls also saves energy and reduces your heating bill. But don’t cover the walls with insulation if the water is leaking in from outside; you’ll create a potential mould problem. Here’s another spot you should insulate in your basement.
Foundation Leak Repair: Plug Holes and Cracks in the Foundation
Holes and cracks in your foundation can let moisture and water seep into your basement. Plugging them probably won’t solve basement leaks, but it’ll help. Hydraulic cement works great for patching holes in a foundation because it can set up even underwater, and it expands as it sets to seal the hole and lock the plug in place. Use a cold chisel or an angle grinder fitted with a masonry-cutting disc or diamond blade to enlarge the hole or crack into an inverted “V,” with the narrow part of the “V” on the surface of the wall. Then follow the package instructions for mixing and using the hydraulic cement.
Waterproofing Basement Walls
Waterproofing materials that go on like paint fill the pores in the concrete or masonry walls and prevent water from leaking in. To be effective, these coatings must be applied to bare concrete or masonry walls. Start by removing loose material with a wire brush. Then clean off any white powdery “efflorescence” with masonry cleaner. Follow the safety and application instructions carefully. A common mistake when using masonry waterproofing products is to spread them too thin. The goal is to fill every pinhole to create a continuous waterproofing membrane. Brush the coating in all directions to fill every pinhole. Add a second coat after the first dries.
How to Stop Basement Flooding: Install a Drainage System
The best permanent fix for chronic basement leaks is to install drainage tubing below the basement floor that’s connected to a sump basket and pump. You can install a system like this yourself, but breaking out the concrete floor, burying the tubing, and patching the floor is a lot of backbreaking work. Materials to do an average basement will cost $600 to $1,000. Expect to spend $3,000 to $8,000 for a professionally installed system in a standard-size basement.
Install Drainage Mats for a Warmer, Drier Floor
Plastic drainage mats, or dimple mats, allow air to circulate under the flooring and provide a moisture barrier. They also provide an insulating layer of air that separates the floor from cold concrete, reducing the potential for moisture damage from condensation or water vapour migrating through the concrete.
How to Stop Basement Flooding: Install a Sump Pump
Installing a basement drainage system is filthy, backbreaking work, but it’s not complicated. With a little instruction from our drain tile experts, you can do a first-class basement drainage job. And DIY pays off big: Pros charge $5,000 to $8,000 for a typical basement drainage job (120 linear feet of drain tile). You can install yours for less than $1,500 in materials and tool rentals. Here’s how to do the whole job.
How to Keep Water Away From House Foundation: Inspect and Take Notes
You’ll need to do a thorough check of the ground around your foundation. For this, you’ll need a 4-ft. level, a tape measure and a notepad. First, draw a simple sketch of your house and yard on your notepad. Then use the level to check the slope of the ground around your foundation. Look for areas of sunken soil, garden beds with edging that protrude to form a dam, and ground that slopes toward the house. Make notes on your sketch with arrows to show which way the ground slopes. This step will help you develop a plan for redirecting the water away from the foundation.
How to Keep Water Away From House Foundation
If your basement leaks after heavy rains or after snow melts, making sure water is diverted away from your foundation may solve the problem. It’s common for the soil alongside your house to settle over time, creating a moat that collects runoff and directs it down your foundation wall and into the basement. Lawn edging and gravel along the foundation can make things worse. Solve the problem by creating a 6-ft.-wide slope that drops about 4 in. away from the foundation. For extra insurance, cover the sloping soil with a layer of 6-mil poly. Then hide the poly with mulch, gravel or a layer of soil covered with grass. This will keep water from soaking in near the foundation.
How to Keep Water Away From House Foundation: Add Gutters and Downspout Extenders
If your basement leaks after it rains and you don’t have gutters, consider adding them. Gutters catch the rain and channel it to the downspouts, which direct it away from the house. Whether you’re installing new gutters or already have them, be sure the downspouts have 4- to 6-ft. horizontal extensions to move the water away from the house.
How to Stop Water Seepage in your Basement
One of the most common problems in homes that have basements is water seeping inside and pooling on the floor. Several things cause a basement to get wet. Wet basements usually occur after heavy rains or during the winter months. In many cases, especially in older homes, there is not a foolproof answer to repair the problem. Several solutions are available to reduce the amount of moisture that comes into your home.
Review the walls where the water enters the basement. Determine if the water is along a single wall entirely underground, along multiple walls or on one side of the house.
Check for cracks in the foundation walls. Apply a construction-grade epoxy during the months walls remain dry, to seal up the cracks. Apply the epoxy with a caulking gun. Squeeze the epoxy deep into the cracks to create a tight bond.
Repair or replace damaged gutters to prevent water from pooling next to your house. Gutters are often the main source of the problem because they lead to drainage issues. Place cement splash pads under downspouts to carry water away at least five feet away from your foundation.
Create a slope away from the outside foundation of your home. Add dirt next to the outside basement wall, so that is slopes down two inches for every foot. Create a gentle slope away from your home’s foundation to prevent water from pooling.
Apply a layer of waterproofing on the inside of your basement walls. Spray the waterproofing in an even application. Hold the spray at least 10 inches away from the basement walls and spray from side-to-side until the wall is covered. Spray one wall at a time. Allow it to dry completely for two to three days before spraying another wall. Spray waterproofing in the dry months to ensure a secure bond.
Check out our Melbourne internal waterproofing services here.
Hire a professional to inject an external waterproofing around the surface of your foundation if all else fails. The waterproofing seals up areas underground that allows water seepage.
In this blog, we looked at each of the aspects related to water seeping inside your basement. From monitoring it to the precautions, everything has been taken care of in the blog. Moreover, we offer answers to the commonly asked questions related to basement waterproofing.