Keys to Fixing Wet Basements

A wet basement is something thousands of homeowners contend with but none look forward to fixing. Water entering the basement can be an expensive repair job, and it seems like few homes are impervious to water infiltration.

Water can enter a basement or crawlspace in a number of ways, seeping through the floor if the surrounding ground is constantly saturated or entering through cracks in the foundation walls. Leaky basement windows could cause water to enter, while improperly draining downspouts and gutters may cause water to pool around the home's foundation and enter the home.

A wet basement can decrease a home's value and potential damage what's in the home. Standing water in a basement can also pose health hazards, such as mold and mildew growth, and can prove a breeding ground for insects that like moist conditions.

There are a number of techniques used to combat basement water issues. A waterproofing company can help homeowners ascertain what method will be best for the type of water issue they have.

* Find the source of water. Sometimes water remediation requires minimal effort or simple solutions. It may be a grading issue on the property or landscaping that is causing water to pool around the home's foundation. Fixing these issues can alleviate water in the basement.

* Create a barrier. A dampness or water issue may be remediated by creating a barrier between the water and the inside of the home. Waterproofing paints and sealants can be applied to both the outside and inside walls of a basement. However, waterproofing application on the outside of the home may cause disruption to landscaping and the need for excavation to reach foundation walls. Inside application is easier, but eventually the product may need to be reapplied if water pressure causes the sealant to blister or peel off. A plastic vapor barrier can be installed in crawlspaces that have vented concrete or dirt floors. This will help to protect against moisture in the space.

* Install drains. Various drainage systems are designed to help with basement water issues. Depending on the drain, it may be installed at the perimeter of the basement interior or on the exterior of the home. The drains are designed to capture water from the ground and direct it far away from the foundation. Drains can gradually become clogged with sediment and dirt and may need to be cleaned or replaced. Newer innovations in basement drainage systems that alleviate clogging issues are available through reputable businesses.

* Use a sump pump. For other water issues, a sump pump can help gather groundwater in a sump pit and pump it out and away from the home. It's a good idea to have a backup source of power for the sump pump because if the power goes out, the sump pump will be rendered useless.

Water is the No. 1 enemy of basements and crawlspaces. It behooves the homeowner to take fast action to correct water issues in the lowest part of the home to ensure comfort and safety.

Waterproofing a basement is generally not a do-it-yourself job. It requires the expertise of a trained contractor who will do a quality job.