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Wait! Do These 5 Things Before You Finish Your Basement

basement finishing

Whether your vision for your basement space is to create an apartment you can rent to earn extra cash or develop a recreation room or something else, if you can dream it, you can likely do it!

But what you don’t want to do is start the hard work of finishing out your basement before you address the ever-present threat of moisture.

The simple truth is that basements are always more likely to suffer from moisture issues, whether it be from overly humid air or outright flooding.

Here, learn about five critical tasks you need to do before you proceed to finish out your basement space.

Save $43,000 in Flooded Basement Repairs

According to a recent report issued by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the average flooded basement in Canada costs the average homeowner a whopping $43,000 to repair.

While making these repairs becomes unavoidable after the fact, in theory, this is never money well spent.

We say this because there is so much you can do now that costs so much less to protect your basement against the possibility of flooding.

Unless your particular insurer has specifically issued you a rider to cover overland flooding, you can’t expect the typical homeowners insurance policy to cover you for a flooded basement.

With climate change bringing ever more severe weather events throughout Canada, it can be smart to talk with your broker now about adding flood insurance to your homeowners policy.

Another smart choice is to take the steps we are about to outline here to protect your basement against flooding.

Five Key Tasks to Do Before Finishing Your Basement

We strongly encourage you to take the time to attend to these five critical tasks before moving along to add extra bells and whistles to your basement space.

When you do, you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your basement is as protected from moisture and flooding as you can possibly make it!

1. Test for Moisture Throughout Your Basement

You can test for moisture in several different ways. One easy way is to purchase a simple, cheap tool from your local home store called a hygrometer that takes instant humidity readings from the air. Your goal is to keep humidity between 30 and 50 percent on a consistent basis to prevent mould and mildew.

Another good way to test for moisture but will take a bit longer is to take a length of plastic tarp and cut it into half-meter lengths. Tape some on the floor and some on the walls.

Check every week to see if you see moisture above or below the sheets. Moisture above means you have too much humidity in the air. Moisture below means you have water seeping up through your basement walls or floor.

2. Install Interior Basement Waterproofing

Most basements have a natural issue with humidity and slow moisture seepage. This is simply the nature of basements, which experience hydrostatic pressure from the surrounding soil, water table and watering runoff that your above-ground space never will.

Interior basement waterproofing is an easy and fast treatment that can be applied to guard against moisture damage from outside seepage. Affordable basement waterproofing is one of the best ways to guard against rot, mould, mildew, pests and leaks.

3. Run Your Sump Pump System Through Its Paces

If you have just installed a brand-new sump pump system, you probably feel pretty confident it will work for you when you need it. But what about when the power goes out – do you have a backup system that will keep it running during an outage?

If you have an older sump pump, installing a backup is not just a great safeguard against flooding during power outages but it can also help to extend the useful life of your existing sump pump.

4. Reevaluate Your Grading, Drainage System & Window Wells

Extreme weather isn’t the only reason basements flood each year. One of the most common issues with basement flooding is actually caused by improper grading (landscaping), blocked or damaged window wells and an inadequate home drainage system.

Without sufficient drainage around your house, the water won’t have anywhere else to go but down toward your basement. Taking the time to clean out blocked window wells, add downspout extensions and refresh the landscape grading around your foundation can direct excess water away naturally.

5. Ensure Adequate Ventilation & Install Safety Alarms

An essential safety precaution before finishing out your basement space is to guard against the buildup of toxic chemicals such as radon and carbon monoxide.

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is present naturally in the soil throughout Canada, is responsible for 16 percent of annual lung cancer cases.

Carbon monoxide, an odourless, colourless gas that is produced during incomplete combustion, kills an estimated 50 people every year throughout Canada.

Scheduling a safety inspection and preventative maintenance for all major appliances and systems located in your basement can also guard against fire and health risks.

Schedule a Free, Easy Inspection and Quote

We get calls every day from customers who truly regret not taking the time to complete the five steps we’ve just outlined here before finishing or renovating their basement.

As tempting as it is to save money or just forge ahead with the fun work, you have plenty of options for first creating a safe and secure, humidity-balanced, water-resistant, functional and beautiful basement space that are likely more affordable than you realize.

Here at Omni Foundation Systems, we are happy to provide you with a complete site inspection and free no-obligation quote for foundation, crawl space or basement waterproofing or repair.

Get in Touch

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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