Owning a home with a basement can be a blessing and a challenge.
When things are going well, that extra basement space is a handy source of storage, a place to stash the kids for playtime and a boost to the eventual resale value of your home.
But when things start to go south down under, suddenly that same basement space is just one more source of stress in an already stressful life.
Remembering one key fact can help you navigate those first scary signs of a basement leak: given enough time, most basements will eventually leak.
You can prepare for that day by learning about the three types of basement waterproofing so you know who to call and what to ask for when the need arises.
Why Do Basements Leak?
There is something inherently different about having a room that sits below the ground surface of your home. Instead of air, this part of your home is surrounded by soil with its ever-shifting moisture content.
Environmental conditions below the ground floor of your home can also be quite different. It is typically both more humid and lower in temperature than the other rooms above the surface.
As well, while the portion of your home from the ground floor up may be made of drywall, brick, wood, vinyl or some combination thereof, the portion from the ground floor down is almost always made out of poured concrete or concrete bricks.
Concrete is naturally quite porous, which means it lets water through to a greater degree than most other materials used in home construction. Like it or not, know it or not, the concrete used to create your basement is always letting in the tiniest molecules of moisture here and there, although in most cases this is no cause for concern.
It is concerning when that moisture finds a wider fissure, gap, crack or crevice to seep through. Because your basement is built below ground level, moisture will often trickle in from the top down as well as seep up through the soil below.
While concrete is quite durable overall, over time and with continued exposure to shifting soil, pressure from tree roots, changing water table levels and other factors, it will start to degrade. That is when larger fissures or cracks can form in the concrete walls or flooring and let in moisture.
As well, over time, inbuilt window wells and weeping tiles can get clogged, damaged or broken and stop doing their job of routing water away from your basement.
Warning Signs of Basement Moisture
There are several early warning signs that moisture is beginning to invade your basement space.
There are certain seasons each year that bring more moisture and thus more humidity. But if you notice your basement feels consistently more humid than usual, this can be a sign that moisture is beginning to invade through micro-fissures and cracks in the concrete.
Efflorescence is a white, powdery dust that forms when water evaporates and leaves its mineral salt passengers behind.
When the walls or floor start to take on a sheen, you see condensation on windows or the surfaces feel somewhat damp, this is another sign of a moisture invasion.
Of course, any standing water is cause for concern, especially if your sump system never seems to fully shut off or you actually see moving water in your basement.
2 Types of Basement Waterproofing
There are two basic methods for waterproofing a basement.
Exterior basement waterproofing
Exterior basement waterproofing is typically cost-prohibitive as well as highly invasive for an existing home.
If you are in the process of constructing a new home, however, exterior basement waterproofing can be done as your basement is being built.
Interior basement waterproofing
Interior basement waterproofing is both affordable and much less invasive than exterior waterproofing. It is the method of choice for nearly all existing homes and can be done whether or not your basement is finished.
Interior basement waterproofing can involve a number of fixes depending on the cause of the basement leak.
For example, if you have a visible crack in the wall or floor, filling the crack is the first step towards preventing future moisture seepage.
Improving existing drainage systems is another key to the success of interior basement waterproofing. This can mean repairing blocked or damaged window wells, installing a French drain and a back-up sump pump system, improving gutters and downspout routing outside your home, and landscaping to guide moisture runoff away from your basement.
Sealants are another key element in interior basement waterproofing. Different types of sealants can be used depending on the moisture issue you are experiencing and its location.
In most cases, a full interior basement waterproofing job can be completed in just a day or two with minimal disruption to your daily life.
Affordable Basement Waterproofing Is Just a Call Away
Many homeowners are reluctant to contact a basement waterproofing professional for fear of hearing bad news, and this is totally understandable.
However, basement waterproofing issues do not generally resolve themselves. Rather, in our long experience, we have found they typically just get worse.
So if there is one ironclad guarantee we can offer you, it is this: Your basement waterproofing job will always be more affordable if you do it now rather than putting it off until there’s a worse problem.
The good news is that we won’t charge you a thing to come out, take a look, diagnose the problem and generate an estimate to waterproof your basement.
Once you know what is wrong, you can make plans to fix it, whether you decide to do it today, next week or next year.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.