How to Keep Your Basement Water Proof

Chicago basement waterproofing

When I was a kid, we lived in a house with a converted basement. I was sitting down there, playing a game one afternoon when all of sudden it sounded like a water fall was coming into the basement. I looked over to where the sound was coming from and sure enough, coming from an area near the ceiling, there was water gushing into the basement. I ran upstairs and my dad was in the patio, frantically trying to get our above ground pool to stop pouring water over the top. I guess a side of the pool had broken and fallen over. I told him about the basement and he instructed me to shove towels up against the vent outside that led to the basement. Later I found out that the vent wasn’t supposed to just empty into the basement. There must have been a broken pipe that coincidentally happened about the same time as the broken pool. How’s that for luck? Well, it resulted in weeks of damage control and foundation repair services in the basement and was not a fun time for my poor parents. So, how do we avoid basement leaks? Basement water proofing is important especially if you live in a humid area because it doesn’t take a leak to build up mold and mildew. A hairline fracture or crack could let in too much moisture. Let’s take a look at some ways to implement basement water proofing.

  1. The first thing you want to do is check around the outside of your house. The ground should slope away from the house instead of towards it. Many times, as a house sits, it can begin to sink into the dirt a little, causing the house to be level with the surrounding dirt or sometimes even lower. You can create a slope by adding more dirt; about two inches per each foot that you move away.

  2. Gutters should always be kept clean and clear and downspouts that give out water should discharge no less than five feet away from the foundation of your home. Foundation repair contractors advise even more than five feet if you have the room for it so that your basement water proofing techniques don’t back fire if there is a strong wind or storm.

  3. You never want shrubs or plants too near to the foundation of you house. The problem here is that if the roots rot, it can make a pathway for water to follow which will lead to the foundation. Plants should be no less than a foot away from the house and should also be on a downward slope that points away from the house.

  4. You can use something like Drylok in basement water proofing. While it is not a water sealer, it is a water proof. Products like these will dry as part of the wall and act like concrete in order to seal out any moisture.

  5. All cracks and breaks in walls and pipes should be fixed immediately. If a crack goes through to the outside, it’s easy for water to get in. The water could actually expand the crack and make it worse.

  6. You could even go as far as installing a sump if you feel it will be helpful. This is basically a pump that goes in a hole in your basement floor. The sump tracks the amount of moisture in it and once the water is at a certain level, it discharges it outside, away from the foundation of the house. You will want a professional to install a sump however, as it requires quite a bit of work to make the hole, place the liner, write the sump and create plumbing to the outside.

Taking the necessary precautions to ensure that you basement stays dry is a crucial investment that you will not regret. It’s important to the integrity of your home because the basement is right at the foundation of the entire structure of the home. If the basement gets wet it could compromise the whole house. The small steps that you have to take to keep it dry is nothing compared to the work that would need to be done if something like a flood or even a leak were to happen.

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