Many homes are plagued with water leakage in the basement. This persistent problem creates moldy, wet basements, and the risk of damaging stored furniture and other items. If your home has a wet basement, here are some ideas that will help you fix the problem.
The very first action you should take is to check for sources of surface water collection and runoff. Begin by checking the gutters around your house. Inspect the gutters for signs of disrepair and clogging. Gutters that are cracked or packed with leaves or other debris can overflow during heavy rains.
This overflowing water saturates the ground surrounding the foundation walls and water begins to seep into the basement. It is therefore important that all gutters be kept clean and in good condition. Position downspouts away from the foundation and if necessary, attach corrugated plastic pipes to direct water away from the house. The pipes can remain on the surface of the ground or they may be buried and conveyed into underground drains or runoff areas.
Check your home’s foundation for visible cracks on the outside. Caulk these cracks with a sealer to prevent water from seeping in. The sealer will also prevent the water from freezing and expanding the existing cracks. Next, check the inside of your basement for breaches or any signs of cracking. If you do discover cracks, you can apply special hydraulic cement to patch and seal the area.
The hydraulic cement is paintable and offers mildew protection. You can purchase hydraulic cement at most hardware or building supply stores. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to apply and perform the patching. Before you begin the sealing work, wear protective accessories, i.e., safety glasses and gloves.
After all visible cracks have been patched; you can also waterproof the basement walls and floor to block out any additional moisture. Some of this moisture is not readily visible and can seep through porous building material. Waterproofing products are available in many varied applications. Several are premixed while others need to be mixed.
Some have different bases and formulations but they all work to seal out moisture from the basement walls and floor. Before you apply a waterproofing product, clean the walls and floor of any build-up, dirt or mold by scrubbing thoroughly. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses. Open doors and windows to provide adequate ventilation and follow the product guidelines for application.
Sometimes a wet basement problem is caused from a rising water table. This means that during heavy rains the ground is saturated and the water level rises above the basement floor. The water seeks an escape route and inadvertently channels into the basement. If you suspect this as being the case with your basement, you can install a sump pump to continuously pump the excess water outside.
You can also place drains around the inside borders of the walls. Another solution to the problem is to hire a bulldozer operator to dig a trench around the foundation. After the trench is dug, apply a sealer to the outside of the foundation walls. Install drains along the footing to channel the excess water away from the house.
Finally, investigate the way your landscaping lies against the position of your house. If at all possible grade the area around your house to make the land slope away from the foundation. You might also want to consider installing an underground drainage system.
Most wet basement problems can be easily solved without great expense. Once you access and determine the source of the leakage, you can implement one or all of the given suggestions to alleviate the problem.