Basements, sadly, are subject to a number of negative stereotypes i.e. they are dark, dreary, damp and humid. Well, you can take care of the dark, dreariness with a few well thought out design flourishes, but the damp and humid part is a little more challenging. Waterproofing is imperative if you are going to use your basement as any type of occupied space.
The process of waterproofing involves a combination of sealing and finding drainage solutions. If you start too late, you will also have to include water damage restoration in this process. When properly protected from water, your basement can function just like any other part of your house.
Understanding Water Leakage
The first step towards any recovery is admitting you have a problem, and a water leakage problem is no different. Usually leakage is caused by a number of different factors. As your home ages, your basement begins to settle and form tiny cracks and fissures in the walls and floors. These tiny openings can let water into the space. Basement walls and floors are made out of concrete, which is a porous material. Also, most basements are built below the water table so the ground water causes hydrostatic pressure, which pushes on the basement walls and can soak through the pores and cracks in the concrete. Other leakage may also occur at the footers where the walls and floors meet. This is usually because the hydrostatic pressure is pushing on the basement walls with more force than it is pushing on the floors. This causes the walls to start cracking slightly at the footer, and it allows water in to the basement.
Devising a Plan
In order to devise a game plan for fixing your leaky basement, it is helpful to understand the basics of water seepage. Cracks in the floors, walls, and joints must be sealed as soon as they are visible. You can also seal the entire interior of your basement (walls and floors) to prevent water from being wicked to the inside space. Slightly more drastic measures can also be taken. You can install French drains, sump pumps, and drainage systems that are on the exterior, interior, or below the slab. All of these systems help reduce the hydrostatic pressure on the basement walls, which cause the majority of basement leakage.
Call in a Basement Waterproofing Contractor
When it comes to waterproofing your basement, you are better off letting the pros handle the job. You might be tempted to tackle the project yourself, but note that fewer then 20% of homeowners are successful at waterproofing their own basements. With odds like these, it is wise to call in a professional basement waterproofing contractor. This professional will have the skills necessary to identify the source of the seepage, and determine the best way for addressing the problem. Hiring a professional before trying it yourself will end up saving you time and money in the long run. A dry basement is a pleasant basement, so save money somewhere else and call in a pro.
Waterproofing Sounds Great, But What do I do in the Meantime?
Every basement that is going to be renovated should have waterproofing, but not every homeowner is able to do this right away. The process can be time consuming expensive, and require some major construction. Some homeowners are trying to figure out what they should do about the water that is already in their basements. A good solution for people in this situation is calling in a water damage restoration specialist who also offers drying services. Though having a little water in the basement may not seem like a serious issue, leaky basements often lead to mold, mildew, fungus and loss of structural integrity. For this reason, it is preferable to have your basement thoroughly dried out by a professional before you have any major work done. These damage restoration specialists employ the use of water pumps, vacuums, dehumidifiers and industrial strength fans.
Your home is too important to risk having a deteriorated foundation, so it is wise to invest in quality waterproofing. While your hobbies may change and your decorating tastes may evolve, you will always appreciate a waterproof basement.