Finally, summer has come to an end. It’s time to put away the barbecue tongs and pool noodles and get down to a few chores before the fall rainy season and freezing winter weather arrives. One of the most important projects you should attend to before the weather gets wild is basement waterproofing. This is especially the case if you have a New Year’s resolution to finish your basement to turn it into a playroom or home office, but it’s also a good idea to help keep your home in good condition and to prevent mold and mildew from developing.
On Guard Against Rainy Weather
We tend to think of basement leakage during rainy weather as being a function of excess water simply pouring from the sky and finding its way into our homes, but the truth is a bit more complicated than that. The ten-foot radius of soil around your home is extra absorbent because it was moved around and excavated when your home was being built. This means that it’s less packed and more porous, allowing water to collect and flow through more easily.
Add to this a deluge of water pouring off of your roof due to a clogged or poorly-designed gutter system and you’ve got a real problem. This flood of water will find its way down through cracks or weak areas in your basement walls.
Step one when it comes to basement waterproofing is to keep as much water away from your home as possible. This means keeping gutters cleaned, repaired, and draining properly. You may want to install an interior or exterior drain tile system to control the rainwater flow around your home.
Basement Waterproofing Repair
Once snowy weather hits, water seeping into the ground around your home is inevitable. Spring snowmelt will mean huge amounts of moisture, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re prepared well in advance. As homes age and settle, their foundations shift and crack. This results in areas where water can flow freely into your basement.
Before the wet season hits, it’s important to repair and seal up any foundation or basement cracks. After you’ve done this, you can install a dehumidifier in the room to help address any additional moisture. This will help keep your basement and all of its contents snug and dry no matter the weather.
Preparing to Finish Your Basement
If you’re thinking of finishing out your basement, keep in mind that you’ve got to take extra steps not only to address major leaks and moisture but to make sure there isn’t unnoticed seepage and condensation developing slowly over time. Failure to control moisture is one of the biggest basement remodeling mistakes people make when finishing out this part of their home.
Sometimes waterproofing your basement isn’t as simple as walking downstairs and pointing out obvious drips coming through a crack; condensation can be sneaky and can gather over a period of days or weeks. One trick to determine whether condensation is a problem before moving forward with a basement remodel is to cut out 2-foot squares of plastic sheeting and tape them down all around the basement floor. Let them stay in place for 14 days, then pull them up to see if moisture has developed. If it has, you need to take further steps to repair cracks or install drainage to direct water away from the outside of your home.
Once you have the moisture under control, you’ll be able to continue preparations for finishing out your basement. Even if a basement remodel isn’t on your radar in the near future, it’s a good idea to take care of basic basement waterproofing to maintain the value of your home, as well as the safety of your belongings and your family’s health.