Your house has many enemies (termites, earthquakes, thunderstorms in cahoots with old trees), but one of the most powerful and frequent offenders is also one of the most ordinary: water. Water damage can cause mold, mildew, rust, rot, and other severe home damage. So if you’re building a new home or remodeling an old basement, learning how to waterproof your basement should be a primary concern. As much as we love and need water, we have to accept that water is our home’s archenemy. Scroll down to learn about the various ways you can prevent water from infiltrating your basement.
How to Waterproof Your Basement
FINDING THE CULPRIT
Many homes have excess water in the basement, but the key to your solution is knowing whether the water is coming from outside or inside the house. A quick and easy way to find out is to tape a square of aluminum foil to the wall and the floor. After a few days, check the foil. Is it wet on the outside? When you peel it off the wall or the floor, is it wet on the inside? Sometimes, both sides will be wet! Either way, this will help you figure out where to focus your attention.
Let’s start with the exterior. Walk around the perimeter of your house and look for these details:
- First, it’s important that the ground surrounding the basement slopes away from the foundation. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to add dirt to create a slope. Ideally, it should drop at least two inches per foot as you move away from the house.
- Second, the downspouts of your gutters should release rainwater at least five feet away from the foundation.
- Third, check out your plants. It’s not a good idea for plants to be located within a foot of your foundation.
- Finally, if you’re building a new home, consider installing a waterproof coating or membrane on or around the exterior of the foundation. This is the best time to do it, since the area around the foundation has already been excavated!
Now let’s head inside the house, to the basement and the foundation:
- First, check for holes and cracks in the foundation, and when you find them, repair them properly. Some holes can be quickly filled with an epoxy and cement formula (available at home improvement stores), but others will need to be cleaned out and carefully repaired with mortar.
- Next, look for gaps where the wall meets the floor, where water can seep inside. If you find any gaps, repair them with hydraulic cement.
- After that, you can waterproof the foundation walls using a waterproof coating or a sealer. These tend to cost $30-50 and will cover 100-200 square feet, depending on the product.
- Finally, you could also install a sump pump, which monitors and removes excess water.
Now that you’ve learned how to waterproof your basement, it’s time to get to it! If you’re planning to build a new home or renovate your old home and you live in southwest Missouri, give the Bailey Company a call. We’re a premium construction company based in Springfield, Missouri, and we’d be happy to tackle any home project you throw at us. You can reach us at 417-887-6177 or click here to request a free quote.
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