Whether the basement is the place you store your boxes full of life time collections of keepsakes and memories or that cozy space for hobbies or leisure, having it flood is not going to be a happy occasion. Here are some great tips on waterproofing a basement, preventing basement leaks and flood proofing. Sealing basement walls is great, but make sure you’re not defeating your own efforts.
Solutions for Waterproofing a Basement
Is water coming over the top of the foundation wall? If you see this, you need an outside inspection. Draw a diagram of the inside layout of the basement, with the basement leaks marked. Go outside to see where any basement leaks are located on the exterior of the house. Look for the following things:
- Gutters spilling over due to blockage
- Gutter downspouts dumping large volumes of water in the area
- Water build-up for any reason
- Ground surface pitched towards the area
- Outside surface soil level higher than the top of the foundation
- Deck or porch outside in the problem area
Consider These Solutions:
1. Clogged Rain Gutters – Thoroughly clean out gutters. Clogged rain gutters can dump large amounts of water alongside your foundation. Clean them twice a year. Be especially vigilant after the autumn leaves have fallen. You can get utter guards to keep leaves out of your rain gutters.
2. Down Spouts – Make sure downspouts have watertight fittings, that they extend 10 or 15 feet out from the house and empty onto land sloped away from the house. You shouldn’t bury downspouts underground or connect them to a dry well. If you have underground pipes to remove rain water, ensure a good pitch for gravity flow and that they empty out down slope to “daylight”. Make sure the end of the pipe is visible and cleared. A back flow valve prevents entry by small animals.
3. Low Spots Near Foundation – If the original backfill settles, leaving low spots for water accumulating, you’ll need to fill them in with top soil and plant grass to prevent erosion. Remember to pitch the surface away from your home. You should not, however, fill in dirt higher than the top of your foundation walls. That would just get you into other kinds of problems.
4. Yard Pitched Towards the Home – If the ground surface is the surrounding area is pitched toward your house, rain water from your yard will concentrate at your foundation. This can cause water to spill over your foundation between the sill plates. It also makes the soil alongside your foundation wet and heavy. This condition can lead to buckling walls. In this eventuality, you’ll want to hire a landscaper to re-grade the surface and shift the pitch.
5. Outside Soil Level Higher than the Foundation – Not only is this going to give you basement leaks, but it will invite insect infestation problems. This also can lead to wood rot which creates the great danger of termites. Wood rot is yet another concern. Most building codes prohibit this practice but, it is none the less, a common problem. This is another situation that requires professional landscaping.
6. Decks and Porches – If your basement leak is in the same area as your deck, chances are the deck wasn’t flashed properly with the homes siding. When this happens proper of sealing basement walls will be defeated by water running over the deck boards and the sill plate on top of the foundation. This is another potential wood rot and termite situation. A siding contractor will need to remove a couple courses of your siding and probably remove the deck boards touching the house walls. After the flashing has been properly installed, the the siding and deck boards can be replace.
Hope these 6 solutions for waterproofing a basement give you the flood proofing protection you need to enjoy your basement, however you choose to use it.