Many older homes and even some new constructions, have problems with water in their basement. Poor construction can be blamed on the new homes that have problems with water, but older homes seem to have a share of basement issues that are attributed to the age of the house. Old pipes that leak or break are a constant reminder to the homeowner to inspect their homes regularly, and do yearly maintenance to the home. Driveways that slant towards the foundation of the home, is a disaster waiting to happen. Leveling a driveway is a fairly inexpensive home repair that can save you thousands down the road.
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Is a French drain the way to go?
I’m shopping around for a system that will flood-proof my basement.
During periods of heavy rain we get one to two inches of floodwater in
our basement. The water comes in where the floor joins the wall. A
contractor estimated that it would cost $3,700 to cut a trench around
the perimeter, and put in a sump and pump. Does this sound like a fair
price to you? And is there an alternative method of flood-proofing,
such as a sealant?
— Mike, Katy, Texas
French drain and sump pump system will work. I don’t know the size of your basement but $3,700 sounds very fair.
Despite the title of this blog post I don’t think there is any such thing as a waterproof basement – only more and less waterproof basements. The reality is that water always goes where it is most welcome (kinda like money) – from wet to dry and from high to low. If there is even the slightest fissure in your basement walls or floor water is going to get in and water is the bane of every homeowner. It destroys everything it touches and creates a welcoming environment for mold.
Go back 50 or more years and people in Chicago didn’t worry too much about waterproof basements because a basement wasn’t really a living area. It was just a place for accessing and storing your home’s guts. As long as it didn’t fill with water you were fine and usually a simple drain or a sump pump in a corner kept it from filling with water.
Then people started converting these basements to recreational areas with modest finishes – maybe some cheap wood-looking paneling, linoleum flooring, and a moveable bar. But eventually the whole movement evolved to the point where now pretty much every new construction home in Chicago has a completely finished basement with carpeting or tile, drywall, nice trim, and filled with nice furnishings and electronics. When your basement looks like this you have to keep all traces of water out.
Waterproofing your basement is all about minimizing, if not totally preventing, the entry of water from the outside environment. This can then be enhanced further by the application of interior basement waterproofing technologies.
The basement is the strongest part of any home. However, it is also one of the most often neglected parts.
It is prone to water damage primarily because of its proximity to ground water. When the rainy season comes, the basement often receives the brunt of water damage. Before your basement get severely undermined by water damage, you need to make it waterproof. Here are the top 5 basement waterproofing tips for the household.
1. Check Your House’s Plumbing Network. – Even before you buy and apply waterproofing products, it is important to make sure that you don’t have any plumbing fixture that is leaking or is already damaged or worn out. Sometimes, you don’t need the rain to flood your basement. A faulty or broken pipe or plumbing can have the same effect. If you are not sure what to look for, having a professional plumber and basement waterproofing experts check it out first is always a good idea.