Basement Waterproofing: Protect Your Home From Moisture Damage
Basements have many benefits and advantages that make them appealing to homeowners. They maximize the use of square footage in a lot by providing an entire extra story, make it easier to access utilities like water heaters and pipes, and have even been shown to increase thermal efficiency by up to 10%; and that’s where basement waterproofing comes into play.
However, basements come with their own unique challenges that every homeowner or prospective buyer should be well aware of. One of the most important challenges that basement owners constantly face is the risk of water and moisture damage. It’s a problem that’s often insufficiently resolved or even entirely ignored, but comes with serious dangers that are better off prevented rather than dealt with directly!
What Causes Moisture Damage?
Basements are situated below ground level and have little access to ventilation. This creates an environment that is uniquely suited to the accumulation of moisture.
This moisture comes from three principal sources – rainwater or groundwater; internal sources of moisture like laundry appliances, bathrooms, and moisture from concrete; and humid air from the outside entering the basement and condensing.
Accumulating Water Around Foundation
Groundwater and rainwater accumulate within your basement if you have drainage that’s ineffective, which is otherwise supposed to lead water away from your foundations. They also build up if your gutters aren’t well-maintained and clogged, or not directed correctly.
On top of these, your ground surface is supposed to be designed to slope away from your foundation; if this isn’t done, then water will flow into the foundation and accumulate around the basement.
The result of this accumulation is a buildup of water pressure that gets heavier and heavier. Eventually, this water will find its way through cracks, or create their own cracks in your walls.
Water vapor can also diffuse through your foundation walls, depending on the pressure of the water vapor and the materials involved in your foundation construction.
Aside from water finding its way in liquid form, humid air saturated with water vapor can carry moisture into your basement, where it condenses upon finding a cooler surface. This air can come from outside or inside your home.
What Are The Risks Of Water Damage?
Water in your basement isn’t just a hassle or annoyance – it can pose major health and safety risks.
Physical Damage To Your Home
As liquid water accumulates around your basement, the pressure may create new cracks in your underground walls that can lead to compromised structural integrity, as well as even more water seepage.
Electricity and water don’t mix very well together, but that’s exactly what happens if you’re experiencing an uptick in moisture in your basement. This puts you at risk for an electrical shock with exposed wires and appliances or can result in a fire in case of a short.
Pests And Parasites
Water is the stuff of life, but there’s a lot of life out there that isn’t good for you. Parasites like dust mites and nasty creatures like cockroaches and rats will be attracted to damp, moist basements, and take up residence as unwanted tenants in your home.
A warm, moist environment is a perfect culture for all manner of bacterial colonies. As moisture seeps into your basement, they could start growing on wood or other organic surfaces and could spread disease around your home.
Another biological risk is mold, which can grow on pretty much anything that’s damp and moist. Mold can create a whole host of problems for residents, causing everything from headaches and respiratory infections to eye irritations and infections, rashes, and even permanent neurological damage.
Mold also makes furniture smell bad and can damage sensitive equipment like camera lenses.
How Can You Repair Water Damage?
Repairing water damage typically involves sealing cracks with sealants like epoxies.
For very small cracks, this can be done by applying simple off-the-shelf coatings and sealants directly to the visible cracks.
For much larger cracks, however, you’ll need to perform a crack injection, which involves forcing epoxy or polyurethane resins into cracks with pneumatic compressors. This is a more involved process that takes time and effort.
Repairing mold damage involves carefully scrubbing the walls to remove all traces of the colonies, and taking steps to completely dehumidify the basement.
If you were worried about damage previously, your could have got basement waterproofing services to counter this problem before it began.
How Can You Prevent Water Damage
Repairing damage as it arises is only a band-aid solution to the symptoms, and fails to address underlying conditions. Prevention of water damage to your basement is definitely more important and can help prevent many problems from arising.
Waterproof sheets made of PVC or composite materials can be applied to the walls of your basement to prevent water from coming in. They won’t stop the water from accumulating, but they can help further protect it from seepage.
Waterproof Paint And Coatings
You can add waterproof paint and coatings to your walls as an added layer of defense against the accumulation of moisture, but this won’t solve the problem by itself.
A dehumidifier can help prevent damage from humid air that blows into your basement and condenses into moisture. However, it shouldn’t be used in isolation, but rather in conjunction with other prevention methods.
Audit Your Drainage Systems
Take a look at the groundwater and rainwater drainage systems of your home and ensure they’re working as planned. Perform regular maintenance on your gutters as well. These are often the main cause of water damage getting in.
If you can’t prevent water from accumulating around your foundation, or if the methods needed to do this are too much of a hassle, you can install sump pumps to actively remove the water from the area. This will also allow you to get your basement waterproofing under control.
Keep Your Basement Dry
Moisture damage is no joke, and is best prevented rather than treated. Make sure that you take the necessary steps to address it, to avoid the risk of disease, fire, shock, and structural failure!
Of course, these things are often best left to the professionals, and if you’re looking for a way to treat your home in Fort Oglethorpe, TN, Allied Foundation and Crawlspace Solutions offers high-quality professional basement waterproofing services that will assure you of a nice, dry basement – and one that stays this way for a long time. Contact us now for a quote and a survey request.
For more on our basement waterproofing services, visit this page.