Wet Basement Repair: Start With Obvious Solutions
A dry basement for work, hobbies, storage, and extra living space is an asset to any home. On the other hand, a wet, damp, musty basement taints the value of the entire house as an investment, and is a source of continuing annoyance and frustration for a homeowner.
The best general advice to anyone attempting to eliminate unwanted water from a basement is that all cures and options should be fully researched.
From the Better Business Bureau, ”A homeowner who examines the full range of possible causes and potential remedies will be far more likely to obtain effective and lasting repairs than one who settles for the first, easiest, or least expensive method proposed as a solution.”
Look For Obvious Solutions
The cause of a damp or wet basement can be minor, readily apparent, and easily corrected. Here are some probable causes and possible solutions:
Problem: The source of water in the basement can’t be identified.
Solution: To determine whether the water is seeping in from the outside or condensing inside, tape a twelve-inch square of aluminum foil to a wall that is prone to dampness, sealing all four sides as airtight as possible. In a day or two, if the side of the foil against the wall is wet, the problem is seepage. If the outside is wet, it’s condensation.
Problem: Lawns that are flat or slope toward the house permit surface water (rain and melting snow) to drain down against basement walls. Water enters through cracks or other openings in the walls and causes wet spots on the walls or standing water on the floor.
Solution: Slope the ground away from the outside foundation (about one inch per foot). Extend the slope for at least ten feet. Seed it with a good lawn grass. Sodding is a common practice and prevents the washing away of newly graded areas during heavy rains.
Where a large area of land slopes toward the house, surface drainage should be intercepted and redirected some distance from the house. Dig a shallow, half-round drainage ditch or depression designed to route the water around the house. Sod the ditch or plant grass in it. If even a shallow ditch is objectionable, drainage tiles, with one or more catch basins at low spots, may be installed.
Problem: Defective, clogged, or nonexistent gutters and downspouts allow roof water to form puddles, or wet soil near or against basement walls, and enter through cracks or openings in the masonry.
Solution: Install gutters and downspouts wherever needed. Keep them free of debris. Where leaves and twigs from nearby trees may collect in a gutter, install a basket-shaped wire strainer over the downspout outlet or place screening across the length of the gutter. Repair gutters and downspouts as soon as the need appears. To prevent concentration of water at the point of discharge, use a concrete gutter or splash block to carry the water away at a slope of one inch per foot. Also, consider extending downspouts from rain gutters away from the outside foundation.
Roof water can also be piped underground to a storm drain, dry well, or surface outlet fifteen feet or more from the house.
Problem: Dense shrubbery and other plantings around the basement walls prevent good ventilation.
Solution: Trim heavy growths of shrubbery so that soil gets more sunlight and dries quicker. When digging up the plantings, remove any pieces of masonry, mortar, or other material buried near the house after the basement was excavated.
Problem: Unprotected basement window wells act like cisterns during heavy storms, permitting water to seep in around window frames and below windows.
Solution: Windows or parts of windows below grade should be protected by metal or masonry window wells, with bottoms consisting of gravel to permit good drainage. Clear plastic bubbles are available to cover the entire window well like an awning.
Problem: Atmospheric moisture produces condensation on cool surfaces in the basement, particularly walls, floors, and cold water pipes.
Solution: Insulate the water pipes. Promote good ventilation–sunlight and free movement of air can quickly dry out a basement. Ventilation should be regulated according to the weather conditions. During hot, humid weather or long rainy spells, windows should be closed because the outside air will probably contain more moisture than the basement air. Heat the basement during the winter. During hot weather, use air conditioning to cool and dehumidify the air.
Problem: Leaky plumbing or other sources of moisture–such as clothes hung to dry on basement lines–increase humidity in the air, causing condensation.
Solution: Repair plumbing promptly, open windows or dry clothes in an automatic dryer vented outdoors. If the problem persists, experiment with using a large-capacity dehumidifier to eliminate condensation. Try borrowing one from a friend or neighbor before investing in what may turn out to be the wrong remedy.
If you are of need of major basement waterproofing or slab repairs contact Reliable Contractor Services.
The investment you make in having your basement waterproofed will be repaid by increased property value, a new living space, and healthier living conditions. Should you decide to sell your home, it will be to your advantage to have a dry, usable basement. Our Cleveland and Northeast Ohio waterproofing experts offer a 10-year warranty against water leakage in areas waterproofed.
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Why is important to know your contractor?
• There are weekend warriors and the other hand there are licensed, bonded, insured and accredited contractors. If you want it done twice, hire the weekend warrior!
• Most all of the licensed, bonded and insured contractors are good, but some are better than others. We recommend that you the customer ask a lot of detailed questions.
• When hiring a licensed contractor, they are held to higher standards (especially ones state licensed).
• Lower cost contractors are usually the worst decision. Please be sure to ask why they are lower than other quotes and check their references. Check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and local authorities to see to determine the contractor’s reputation.
With over 25 years of experience, we at Reliable Contractor Services are committed to offering our customers the most effective solution to your problem at the fairest price possible.
Reliable Contractor Services, the Cleveland Ohio wet basement repair experts.