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6 Tips to Waterproof Your Basement

Waterproof a Basement 6 Tips

Have you ever wondered how to waterproof your basement? Even if your basement has never flooded, there is always a chance that it will. Basements are prone to flooding. They are built either partially or entirely underground, so the ground water level is often above the basement floor.

A flooded basement can be more than an inconvenience, it can also become a health hazard. Even after the water has been removed, and the area dried, there is still plenty of opportunity for mold. If your basement does flood, drying it as quickly as possible is critical, and special care should be taken to thoroughly dry the flooring and drywalls. You may find it necessary to replace your furnishings, such as couches, beds, etc. Being proactive and taking the necessary preventative steps will help prevent an expensive and frustrating nightmare. Here are 6 of our best basement waterproofing tips.


6 Tips to Waterproof Your Basement

Tip #1 – Sealants

The most common entry point for water is through cracks in the concrete of your foundation. The good news is that these cracks can be easily sealed from the inside of your home.

Special sealants can be injected into these cracks to seal off and prevent any potential moisture and leaks from seeping through. Many of the sealants come with multi-year warranties.

If you don’t have a foundation crack, you can use concrete waterproof coatings in your basement to permanently seal against potential floods, major leaks, dampness, and condensation problems.

Tip #2 – Rain Gutters 

Rain gutters channel roof water away from the foundation of a home. If not properly maintained, the gutters will fill with debris and water will “pour” from the sides and saturate the ground near your home. This excess water will run along the side of your foundation, and if there is a crack in the concrete, you will soon have unwanted water in your basement.

Clean your gutters in the Spring, and then install gutter guards to prevent leaf build-up from nearby trees. Waterproofing your basement is often doing simple steps outside that prevent water from building up around your foundation.

Tip #3 – Downspouts

As important as gutters are, if your downspouts are not properly placed, the truth is, you would be better off not having rain gutters! Downspouts collect the water from the gutters and disperse it onto the ground. If your downspouts are poorly located, the water will be collected and pool next to your home, it will then seep into the ground looking for cracks in your foundation. Without gutters, water will drain from all of the roof edges, and although, not ideal, it is a better scenario than a huge pool of water next to a downspout.

Install downspout extensions to move the water away from your house. Simply redirecting the water 4 inches away from your house will make a big difference. Keep in mind the further the water drains away from your foundation, the less chance it will seep into your basement . . . so don’t be afraid to add several feet of extension to your downspout.

Tip #4 – Grading

The soil around the foundation should slope away from your home. This will reduce the amount of water that comes in contact with the foundation, and as a result, help prevent leaking.

Most newly constructed homes are set on property where the yards are sloping away from the house. However, overtime, yards can lose this slop thru landscaping, settlement, home improvements (such as new decks), and even your neighbors property.

Sometimes, by just adding a few inches of dirt next to your foundation, you can change to direction of the slope and redirect the water.  A general rule of thumb is to keep the top of your landscaping soil a minimum of 6 inches below the top of your foundation, this helps to prevent damage to your siding. Other times, you may not be so lucky, and need to do more extensive slope repair.

If houses are built close to each other, and proper grading isn’t possible, a small trench can be dug to encourage the water to drain. The trench can be left unfilled, or a french drain installed.

Another option, although a little more work, is to build a more extensive drain system in the yard. Bury large corrugated plastic drain tubing a few inches underground, and direct the water to a better drainage location, such as the street.

Tip #5 – Check your Sprinkler System

If you have a sprinkler system for flowers or grass, make sure that water is not being sprayed at the house. Although, this may not be the sole cause of a leak, it certainly can make things worse.

Tip #6 – Install a Sump Pump

If you don’t already have a sump pump in your basement, installing one will likely solve your flooding problem. A sump pump collects the water inside your basement, and pumps the water outside, away from your home.

Before going to the expense and hassle of installing a sump pump, keep in mind that at least 95% of basement leaking is a result of issues with gutters, downspouts, and grading. By simply paying attention to where the water collects and drains, you can make a big impact in waterproofing your basement.

If you already have a sump pump in your basement you will need to maintain it on a regular basis to prevent blockages. Check your sump pump by pouring water into the sump pit. If the pump automatically starts, your sump pump is working.

If you find that your pump is running the majority of the time, many homeowners choose to have a back up sump pump installed as a safety precaution.