Basements often bring a bit of fear into the minds of a homeowner. On one hand, they can be a great addition to a home, giving you additional storage space, room to add an extra bedroom, entertainment room, workout room, and much more. The options are endless. But one thing that comes with the added benefits of a basement, is the knowledge that they can often be a risk for problems with water leaks, feel damp, or smell moldy or musty due to water issues can be unnerving. It can make homeowners cringe at the thought of owning a home with a basement, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you know some steps you can take to waterproof your basement to help prevent leaks, then you can start to enjoy your basement and use it in whatever way you want without constant fear that you will one day wake up to a basement full of water, and damaged property. We’ve put a list together of ten tips to help you water proof your basement, so here we go, basement waterproofing: ten tips you need to know.
1.Seal the rim joist
Gaps of any kind in the construction of a home are obvious openings that can allow for unwanted entries for a number of things. When it comes to basements, gaps around rim joist and the sill plates allow for air leakage, and with air leaks comes moisture. Any kind of moisture that enters in through gaps can further lead to bigger leaks, so you will want to be sure that all gaps are sealed tight and do not allow for any air or moisture to enter. If you decide you want to tackle the task yourself, you will want to use a low-shrink sealant or an approved mortar to do the job.
2. Create a slope outside basement wall by adding dirt
The grade of your yard outside your basement walls is a very important part of leak prevention. When it rains, water runs in the direction of the slope of your property. If you have the ground outside of your basement walls sloped toward your basement, then of course, the water will run directly toward your basement and over time, it will find its way in. If your property is not naturally sloped away from the foundation of your home and basement walls, you will want to bring in dirt and create a slope that runs the opposite way of your home’s foundation. You may need to hire someone for the job if it requires a lot of dirt and re-grading of the property to make sure you get the job done correctly.
3. Upgrade old appliances
Over time, furnaces and hot water heaters can all start to malfunction. Everything gets old and begins to have mechanical issues, and when it comes to furnaces and hot water heaters, which are many times, found in the basement, around seven years of age, these issues often go hand-in-hand with leaking problems. One way to help waterproof your basement is to keep these appliances maintained on a regular basis, and after about ten years of age, you will want to consider replacing them altogether so that you have newer, more efficient, and more reliable mechanical plumbing products in your home.
4. Wetbars, bathrooms, sinks, and other basement plumbing
Because basements are located at such a low level, and some lower than others, having certain plumbing elements in the basement have the potential to create water issues if they are not installed with certain precautions. If you plan to put in a wet bar or bathroom in the basement, you will want to be sure you know if the same pipes that carry the water and waste from your home are accessible for the basement plumbing or does the basement sit too low to connect the new plumbing elements to it? If the basement is too low, your new basement plumbing features will require pumps to help prevent water leak issues.
5. Sump pumps
If your basement were to start collecting water for any reason, you want to know that it can be easily removed before it has the potential to cause substantial flooding or cause any damage to your home’s integrity. Sump pumps are little pumps that are placed in the lowest part of your basement and are used to pump water out of the basement, and away from your home. Most sump pumps will turn on automatically when water starts to accumulate in the pump pit and most homes, especially new construction homes with a basement, are required to have a sump pump installed.
6. Add a sealant to the inside walls
Although sealants aren’t always 100% reliable for waterproofing your basement, contractors still recommend adding a sealant to the inside of concrete walls to help prevent water leaks in basements. When a waterproof sealant is used in combination with other waterproofing methods, it can be quite effective to help keep water out.
7. Check gutters and downspouts
Something that many homeowners neglect to do on a regular basis is clean and repair gutter systems and downspouts. The gutter system is designed to help protect homes from water damage and leaks by catching water and leading it on a path that ultimately leads it away from the home through the downspouts. When gutters and downspouts aren’t properly cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, they can get clogged or damaged by debris and will not be able to do their job of protecting your home. Instead, damaged or clogged gutters can encourage water leaks and damage to your home, especially in basements.
8. Drylok walls
If you have concrete walls that you plan to maybe one day, drywall, add a layer of drylok to the concrete walls before you move forward with any basement finishing projects on the walls. Drylok will help to seal the walls and keep water from seeping through the cracks and crevices. Drylok also works on crawlspace walls to help water from getting through.
9. Add a drain around your home’s perimeter
This can be a bit of an expensive method of waterproofing your basement, but it’s one of the best, according to many contractors. Adding a trench or perimeter drain will require excavating around the home and the drain is put under ground. This is a pretty involved ordeal and it can be disruptive to your life while the process is going on, but if you can handle the cost and the disruption of the machinery and backhoe, then you will have a great waterproofing system in place for your basement.
10. Create a slope against your home’s foundation using dirt
Adding dirt against the foundation of your home and creating a slope that runs away from your home helps to keep rain, snow, and other forms of water from being able to accumulate and pool up close to the home. When water is allowed to collect and sit close to your home’s foundation, it has the ability to make its way into your home, particularly into basements since they are the lowest part of the home. If you aren’t sure what the best way is to add fill dirt and create a proper grade for your home’s specific ground level and dimensions, you can hire someone to do the job who can make sure the right materials and correct measure of sloping is done so that water doesn’t accumulate around the foundation, but always flows away from your home.
Finding the right waterproofing methods for your basement is important in order for them to work properly and truly keep the water out. Talk to a licensed contractor in your area to help determine which methods will work best for your home and your budget before you embark on costly waterproofing projects that may not be the best options for your home.