Basement waterproofing can be complicated and costly. This article will explain how to identify the cause of water leaking into your basement and what the best solutions are.
Leaking basement? Cracks, flooding, leaking walls or floors? Window wells flood or water flows over the top of the wall. These are some of the many symptoms that can occur during the process of basement waterproofing.
You probably don’t want water to seep beneath your home unless you have a plan to build a swimming pool. Although waterproofing is best done during new construction, it’s not possible to waterproof an older structure. You can protect your home from water damage with a few simple steps. These include inexpensive protections and expensive professional solutions. This article will help you choose the right basement waterproofing solution.
Problems caused by a wet basement
Basements, which are below the ground level, can feel damp due to unsealed concrete floors and walls that absorb water from the soil outside and transfer it into the basement’s interior. A basement with a little dampness can be corrected by installing fans to exhaust the exterior of the house and using moisture-resistant flooring. A leaky basement can be a problem. Water may seep through walls and floors.
Wood Rot and Water Damage
Basements are usually made of masonry (concrete or stone, block), which is resistant to water damage. However, water can still leak into basements where the foundation meets the wooden framing (sill plate). These leaks can cause damage to the rim joint and floor joists.
Today’s building codes require that basement floor plates and sometimes wall studs are made of pressure-treated wood. However, this is not a sure-fix. Standing water can still warp treated wood members, making them swell, disfigured, or even rot. Although it takes longer for treated wood rot to occur, eventually it will.
Mold and Mildew Development
Basements can also be naturally musty. However, homeowners should be alerted if there is a strong odor of mold. Mold and mildew thrive in a damp basement. While mildew is often seen as a white residue on the basement walls, mold can be found in black, green or dark brown.
While most basement mold isn’t what you would call “black mold”, or “toxic mold”, it should still be dealt with as though it were. Mold growth can cause health problems and should be eliminated. If left untreated, mold can spread through the air to other rooms.
Stored Items are at Risk
Basements are like attics in that they can be used to store valuable items or other things that are too precious to give away. These items could be placed on the basement floor. Even a tiny amount of puddling water could cause permanent damage to wood furniture legs. Even if books or furniture are kept off the basement floor, they can become damp from the humidity.
Reasons for a Wet Basement
Water and foundations don’t mix. Therefore, during construction, the builder should ensure that water drains away and not towards the basement. These are the main causes of a damp basement:
- Inadequate guttering or downspouts to direct the rain away from the foundation.
- Drain tile that is blocked or not present. Drain tile should be placed around the basement perimeter in order to drain water away when a new basement is constructed.
- Incorrect yard grade. For proper water drainage, a yard should be sloped at least 2 percent from the foundation.
- High water table in the area due to rock shelves.
Fixing a wet basement
Basement waterproofing can be expensive and, depending on the source of the water, may cost quite a lot. A larger project might be required if a DIY solution is not possible. However, basement waterproofing repairs are an investment in your home’s value. Prices can vary depending on how extensive the repairs are and the labor cost.
- Expect to pay $200-$300 per linear foot if the basement needs to be excavated.
- New drain tiles can be installed at a cost of about $100 per foot after the excavation.
- Sump pumps are used to pump water to the surface. They can be installed for as little as $1,500 to $3,000.
- The cost of interior waterproofing could exceed $10,000, and may include the installation of an internal drainage system.
- Structural Repairs can increase the cost as well.
Basement Waterproofing Techniques
How the water is getting into a basement, how it will be used, and the homeowner’s budget are all factors that determine the best solution. There are some fixes that are cheaper than others and some that are impossible due to the original construction of the house. Basement waterproofing options vary. Before making any major changes, a structural engineer or foundation contractor should inspect the basement. If flooding is actually occurring, the first step should dry the basement and then make repairs.
Exterior Basement Waterproofing Fixes
Exterior basement walls can be waterproofed from the outside. This involves removing all soil from the foundation’s exterior and installing drain tile at the foundation’s base.
Most likely, you will need a permit to start digging. Some building authorities may only allow licensed contractors to do the job. It is risky to dig a 7-foot or 8-foot deep trench around your foundation. Timing is crucial. Otherwise, you might end up with a waterlogged trench that must be dug out before any work can begin.
External basement waterproofing using drain tile requires the installation of a sump pit, where the water will collect and be pumped to the surface via a sump pump. A sump pit can be installed either inside or beneath the basement floor. It is usually located below a window well.
You or your contractor should repair, patch, and seal exterior foundation walls while the drain tile is being installed. You can patch large cracks using a mortar-based product. Once dry, roll, brush or spray an exterior masonry sealant. This is a costly project that can range from $10,000-$30,000 but it will stop leaks.
Interior Basement Waterproofing Fixes
If exterior excavation is not possible or the leakage is very minimal, interior remedies may be a good option. A basement that is not only damp but has fine cracks can be an ideal candidate for interior sealing. Interior masonry sealants can only be used on unpainted concrete walls. If your walls have been painted, sealants won’t make good contact with them and the results will likely be poor. These sealants are available in one- to five-gallon buckets and require a heavy-duty brush and roller to apply. They can be as expensive as $50 to $500 for 100 feet of wall treatment, depending on the quality of the product and how many coats are needed.
You may consider installing an interior floor drainage system if the walls are cracked or have large cracks. The process is similar to installing exterior drain tiles, except that excavation is limited to the basement floor’s perimeter. You can do this job yourself if you are able to use a concrete saw and/or a jackhammer. However, it is labor-intensive and messy. The installation involves digging a trench through the basement walls and filling it with a quality interior drainage system. Next, a sump pit is installed for water collection. Finally, concrete is poured into the trench so that only a narrow grate remains beneath. To direct water down to the grate, a plastic vapor barrier is typically installed on the surface of the walls. The cost of installing the trench drain, sump pit, and vapor barrier typically costs several thousands of dollars. However, it is possible to save some money by doing the work yourself.
You don’t always have to waterproof your basement completely, but you should take steps to protect it from water. Attach downspout extensions to direct rainwater away from your home and install gutters. To raise the soil level around your foundation, if your yard slopes less than 2 percent, add topsoil. Install waterproof window well covers for basement windows that aren’t used for egress.
Problems are always created by water that pools near the foundation. Clay soil that is prone to swelling when wet can cause lateral pressure on exterior foundation walls. This could increase the likelihood of cracking or shifting. The foundation can also be damaged by frost heave from freeze-thaw cycles. Remember that water and basements are not compatible. You can make sure your basement and your home are dry and safe if you take steps to keep water from entering your foundation.
FAQs about Basement Waterproofing Methods
Q. How long does basement waterproofing last?
While inexpensive fixes can last a very short time, more expensive repairs such as excavation and installation of drain tile as well as interior drainage and waterproofing solutions should last the entire life of the structure.
Q. Does insurance cover basement waterproofing
Basement waterproofing is often not covered. However, flood damage may be covered. Because policies are different, talk to your agent.
Q. How much does it cost for a basement to be waterproofed?
Although the final cost of waterproofing will vary depending on the type, it is generally $3 to $9 per square feet, or $4,118 for 1,000 sq.
Q. Does basement waterproofing increase the home’s value?
If the basement is dry, waterproofing it can significantly increase the home’s worth.
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