How To Handle Water in the Basement
There is a ferocious thunderstorm going on outside, and you are hoping that your basement will stay dry. As the storm rages on, you take a look into your basement, and you see water already coming in and accumulating. What do you do to handle the water? How can you prevent water from getting into your basement in the future? People who live in areas known for flooding, especially those who live below the water table in their area, need to understand how to handle water in the basement when it happens and how to minimize water damage in the future.
How does water get into your basement in the first place? Water has a way of finding holes and cracks in areas where none seemed evident before. Water will flow for several feet just to find a way into your basement. Some of the more common ways that water gets into a basement are through a crack in the basement wall, through the basement window, up through openings in the basement floor, or at the seams where the basement floor and wall meet. Water can erode your foundation and destabilize your home. It can also expand and contract with the weather to cause cracks in your concrete. If you do not take care of the leak in your basement, it could start to cause problems with the entire foundation of your home and create thousands of dollars in damage. Water in the basement can also create mold, which can spread quickly throughout your home. You could lose everything you have stored in your basement to water damage as well.
To prevent water from getting into your basement, you need to take care of issues inside and outside the basement walls. To waterproof the interior of your basement, you need to fill in all of the cracks in the concrete and then apply at least one coat of a clear basement waterproofing solution. To help the outside of your basement, you need to grade the land around the foundation of your home so that water flows into the yard and not into the basement. You should also put important home appliances such as your furnace and water heater up on concrete blocks, just in case water still gets in. If you do get water in your basement, then you can use a powerful workshop vacuum to pump the water out. Large fans can be put in place to dry the concrete and circulate the air in the basement to help prevent mold from forming. When you do remove water from your basement, you should open the windows to increase ventilation to dry the basement floor. (Of course, you should wait until the rain has stopped before opening the windows.)
Water is incredibly persistent and predictable. Once water finds a path into your basement, it will continue to use the same path until you close it up. In that way, water makes it a little easier to protect your basement and its contents from flooding. But if you do not take the necessary steps to waterproof your basement, then you are exposing your home and your possessions to potential water damage. Once the water gets in, getting rid of it quickly and efficiently is critical in limiting the amount of damage to your home. It is important to remember that you may not initially see all of the damage that water is doing as it flows into your basement: Mold can form in places that you would never suspect, and then that mold will grow until it becomes a health hazard to you and your family. You may have to pay a contractor to help you waterproof your basement, but the investment is well worth it in the end.
Written By: Lynn Taylor