When it comes to anticipating basement leaks, the home insurance industry statistics speak for themselves: a whopping 98 percent of basements throughout North America will experience some type of water leak during their lifespan.
However, even with the costs of a typical water damage repair claim now nearing $7,000 per incident (over and above any insurance premiums already paid), surprisingly few homeowners take the steps required to do preventive interior basement waterproofing.
Should you invest in interior basement waterproofing? Is it really necessary? For that matter, does it actually work? Will it increase your home’s value when you are ready to sell? Will your insurance cover it? Is basement waterproofing worth it?
These five questions represent the most commonly asked questions about basement waterproofing. In this post, find out the answers so you can take any necessary advance steps to protect your home and basement from water damage.
1. Is basement waterproofing necessary?
The simple answer to this question is “yes.” However, there are some cases when it makes more sense to make basement waterproofing a priority.
If you are living in a new-construction home with exterior damp-proofing protection in place, you can probably afford to delay doing any interior waterproofing in your basement.
In the same way, if you have never seen even the slightest hint of elevated humidity, efflorescence (evaporated mineral salts that water leaves behind) or damp in your basement, perhaps tackling waterproofing isn’t so urgent.
But in the vast majority of cases, due to the nature of concrete and the uniqueness of the basement space itself, you likely already have minor issues with water seepage unfolding – in fact, it is a 98 percent likelihood.
This makes basement waterproofing both necessary and eminently practical to preserve the integrity of your basement.
2. Does basement waterproofing work?
This question is a little more complicated to answer because the answer depends fully on the type of waterproofing treatment you choose.
There are lots of different options, but basically all options fall into one of two categories: exterior or interior basement waterproofing.
From here, treatments are classified as either temporary or permanent (for the lifespan of the system installed).
Temporary sealants such as waterproofing paint are focused on damp-proofing, which basically means airborne moisture isn’t going to be able to easily penetrate and get through into your basement.
But these temporary treatments tend to break down all too quickly and before you know it you have humid air, seepage and leaks forming.
The better approach is to invest in interior basement waterproofing that focuses on true waterproofing (not damp-proofing) that protects your basement space completely and permanently.
Affordable basement waterproofing often takes a multi-faceted approach to seal walls, floors joints and joists, insulate against humidity and dampness, fix any existing known fissures or cracks in your basement walls or flooring, improve drainage and exterior grading and install a sump backup system.
This comprehensive yet affordable preventive approach to basement waterproofing does work and it is considered permanent for the life of the system.
3. Does basement waterproofing increase home value?
The answer to this question is a straightforward yes.
According to recent statistics, you can readily expect a return on your basement waterproofing investment of up to 30 percent when it comes time to sell your home.
Unlike other trendy or time-sensitive upgrades that are often largely cosmetic in nature, interior basement waterproofing is a classic, necessary, preventive upgrade that will never not be valued or valuable.
But best of all, waterproofing your basement may also lower your home insurance premiums starting on the day of project completion.
To this end, it is always smart to talk with your insurer and let them know about your upcoming basement waterproofing project to learn how much of a discount on premiums this will net you.
4. Is basement waterproofing covered by insurance?
This question doesn’t have a single yes or no answer because it really depends on your insurer and the specific terms of your home insurance policy.
The default answer here would be “no,” unless your home insurance policy specifically states otherwise or you have purchased an optional rider that covers basement waterproofing.
However, your homeowners insurance policy may cover certain repairs that fall under the umbrella of comprehensive preventive basement maintenance. Ask your insurer about coverage for installation of a backup sump pump system, leak repairs, improved drainage and grading.
If your home has a history of issues with dampness or moisture in the basement that have not been properly addressed, you may find yourself with a major leak on your hands only to have your home insurance deny the claim. Here, it makes sense to talk with your insurer and review possible scenarios in advance to choose the most economical preventive maintenance approach.
5. Is basement waterproofing really worth it?
The answer to this final question is a simple and straightforward "yes."
No matter how you look at it, nearly all basements will develop a moisture problem at some point, and most basic home insurance policies will not cover major repairs that were not addressed before they formed or when they were minor.
Plus, as mentioned earlier, you stand to gain up to a 30 percent return on investment on your preventive basement waterproofing when it comes time to sell your home. Most importantly, you enjoy instant peace of mind starting the day your interior basement waterproofing job is completed.
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