“Boy, I am sure glad my basement came with an owner’s manual and maintenance instructions,” said no new homeowner, ever!
A basement can be a mysterious thing, especially if you have inherited one along with a home purchase and you have never had a basement before.
At first, the basement can seem like just a handy place to store extra stuff or convert into a playroom for your kids or teens.
But then strange things start occurring. You begin to notice an unfamiliar odour. Or your sump pump never seems to shut off. Or the walls always seem just the faintest bit moist. What is going on?
In this post, we talk about what basement waterproofing is, how it works and why it makes good sense as a preventative maintenance strategy.
Why Waterproof Your Basement?
This is a valid question. Why should you waterproof your basement, especially if you haven’t yet noticed any warning signs of potential moisture issues?
One excellent reason is that, at least to hear the American Society of Home Inspectors tell it, there is a 60 percent chance your basement will eventually leak anyway!
With statistics like these, and especially if you live in an older home, taking a preventative approach to sealing up your basement space can end up saving you a significant amount.
There are all kinds of preventative maintenance strategies to keep outside moisture such as rainfall, groundwater and runoff from melting snow and watering the lawn from finding its way into your basement.
Foundation slope, landscaping, gutters, rain barrels, sump pumps and other aides are all fine and good as part of your backup plan. But the only guaranteed way to keep water from getting into your basement is to seal it off completely.
3 Common Basement Water Issues
Water can find its way into your basement in some pretty surprising ways. However, some ways are much more common (and predictable) than others.
Sweating, runoff and groundwater seepage are three of the most common basement water issues many homeowners face. However, given that all will produce some level of moisture inside your basement, it can sometimes be quite challenging to tell one from the others without input from a professional.
You know you have an issue with sweating, sometimes referred to as condensation, when your walls, floors or windows start to look and feel as if they’ve just finished a marathon.
You may see exposed pipes start to discolour or rust. Walls may feel moist and filmy or even develop visible droplets of water. Sometimes wet patches on floors or carpets. When this has gone on for long enough, you may notice a telltale musty or “dirty gym socks” odour.
Runoff is the term used when moisture from outside your basement begins to find its way into your basement, courtesy of micro-cracks and fissures you may not even be able to see.
In winter, one of the most common causes of runoff is melting snow and ice. In summer, watering the lawn is a major cause. Storms can cause runoff all year.
One way to tell if your basement water problem is from runoff is to notice when the moisture increases. If it always seems to increase after a storm or lawn watering, suspect runoff.
In some areas where the groundwater (water table) is naturally high or naturally-occurring underground spring water is present, basement seepage can be a real source of concern.
While seepage can get worse during seasonal storms and lawn watering as well as any time there is a pipe leak, one key sign that tells you seepage may be the issue is if the water does not ever seem to completely disappear even during long dry periods.
Diagnosing the Cause for Basement Water Leaks
It’s easy enough to diagnose water in the basement. Before, your basement space was nice and dry. Now it is damp, humid, moist or even downright wet.
However, accurately diagnosing the cause of basement water leaks can take some expert sleuthing! In some cases, it may even require calling the city to inquire about ground water levels or local topography surrounding your property.
Obtaining an accurate diagnosis can be important for long-term planning purposes, including calculating your home’s potential resale value.
But in the short term, what needs to happen right away is to keep more water from damaging your basement and, potentially, your home’s structure. Basement waterproofing is the hands-down best solution to the problem of persistent moisture anywhere inside your basement.
Basement Waterproofing Options
Of course, it will never be the right moment to add “basement waterproofing” to your home maintenance budget! And truthfully, we haven’t yet had a client who was truly excited about spending their hard-earned cash on waterproofing their basement.
But it is important to know that basement waterproofing can be accomplished affordably—and doing it before a problem occurs or when the issue is still minor can be vastly more economical than having to perform major moisture-related basement or foundation repairs.
We offer a variety of options to suit different needs and budgets. Sometimes all that is required is to seal up cracks and do some strategic rerouting of your home’s existing gutter, downspout and drainage system.
Other times, adding extra insulation and repairing window seals and well drains may be the right approach to reroute incoming moisture away from your basement.
Still other times, we may recommend installing a backup system to support your existing sump pump.
Our most popular and permanent option is to waterproof the inside of your basement. Our basement waterproofing service guarantees no further moisture will be able to penetrate your basement and damage your home or possessions.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664 if you suspect your basement may have a leak.