Waterproofing your basement is a must, especially if you live in a humid, rainy or cold climate. Water damage in the basement may not only cause damage to your home, it can lead to mold and mildew which is detrimental to your health. Whether you are hiring a professional to waterproof your basement or you plan on doing the task yourself, there are several things to keep in mind. Consider the following list of dos and don'ts for keeping your basement dry:
1. DO Invest in a Dehumidifier for Your Basement
If your basement is prone to high levels of humidity and condensation, you should consider installing a dehumidifier in the area. A dehumidifier will reduce the humidity and moisture, and it is a good measure to take when waterproofing the basement. Even if you already have a waterproofing system in place, a dehumidifier may add extra protection. Because a concrete basement is porous and absorbs moisture from soil, humidification is important.
2. DON'T Allow Your Rain Gutters to Become Dirty or Clogged
Surprisingly, a major cause of basement flooding is due to rain gutters that have become clogged with dirt and debris. While many homeowners focus on interior causes of basement flooding, you need to examine the outside of your home when waterproofing the basement. For instance, the rainwater that flows into your gutters need a place to drain away from your home's foundation. If the gutters are clogged or dirty, water may pool near the foundation of your home. When this occurs, cracks in the foundation may eventually develop, leading to an accumulation of water in the basement.
For safety reasons and to ensure a proper job, it's a good idea to enlist the services of a professional to clean your gutters. If you prefer to do the job yourself, you'll need to wear protective gloves, climb a ladder and clean out the debris with some type of tool, such as a garden trowel. Pay attention to any leaves and twigs inside the gutters and have a bucket handy on the ground to drop the mess in. Remove the downspouts to clean them as well, then reattach them to extend several feet from the house. As a final measure, flush out the gutters with your garden hose to ensure water flows freely.
3. DO Be Sure the Foundation Soil Slopes Away from the House
Have a look at the soil that surrounds your home's foundation. Is it slopping outward, away from the building? If not, rainwater may accumulate against the walls of the foundation and seep through your basement. Also, never use sand as grading in place of soil. Sand allows water to flow through which may easily lead to basement flooding.
In addition, you might want to avoid landscaping with edging alongside flowerbeds, as the timber or stone edge may pull the soil close to the foundation. This may prevent proper drainage.
4. DON'T Ignore a Leaking Water Heater
If your water heater is located in the basement, inspect it regularly for signs of leakage. Even a small leak left undetected may cause water damage. For extra precaution, consider encasing the water system. An encasement or containment system for your water heater can prevent flooding in the event of a leak. As added protection, consider a water leakage alarm to alert you to a leak.
5. DO Seal Off Basement Foundation Cracks Before They Worsen
A permanent concrete waterproofing sealer will penetrate deep into the concrete and seal off water that might otherwise infiltrate into your basement. For your basement floor, use a water based acrylic sealant that is non-toxic and safe. If you use a solvent based sealant, you'll need to wear a protective mask and provide adequate ventilation, as the fumes are strong. If you are unfamiliar with waterproofing sealant techniques and products, it's best to consult services like John's Waterproofing.