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Basement Waterproofing Myths

Myth #1: Newer Homes Do Not Need Basement Waterproofing

The age of your home does not dictate whether you need a basement waterproofing solution.

The same issues that arise with older homes (water level, heavy rains, yard grading, etc.) can also lead to problems in newer construction.

Myth #2: A Dehumidifier is Enough

Dehumidifiers can absolutely be helpful, and we even recommend it in some cases.

However, dehumidifiers will not be the be-all end-all solution for a lot of basement water issues.

Moisture can enter a basement and stay there even when a dehumidifier is present.

Myth #3: Basement Waterproofing Is Not Worth It

There are most definitely costs associated with basement waterproofing. There's no denial.

However, consider the cost ramifications if you don't waterproof your basement, and then flooding occurs.

The cost could be far greater and the damage more severe. Basement waterproofing is in fact worth it.

Myth #4: All Waterproofing Methods Are Equally Effective

There is not just one waterproofing method. There are an assortment of sources of basement leakage issues.

Each will require a specific solution.

For example, larger basement issues will typically require a drain tile system. Smaller issues may require holes to be drilled in the cement blocks but no excavation.

Myth #5: Mold Cannot Grow in Non-Flooded Basements

Surprising to many homeowners, mold can grow in seemingly low-moisture basements.

Once it starts to grow, it compiles and multiplies.

Myth #6: DIY Methods Work as Well as Professional Methods

Social media sites may have you believing that the solution to your leaky basement is a quick drive to your local hardware store and a do-it-yourself hack.

However, there are lots of situations that simply need a professional's touch.

Excavation is sometimes required (more on that later), and heavy equipment as well.

Myth #7: Basement Waterproofing is Just Sealing Cracks

The goal of waterproofing is not simply to keep 100% of water out of your home.

In fact, the French drain system is installed knowing that water will enter the basement, but also with the idea that it will be escorted out immediately.

Sealant can absolutely be a useful tool when used in the correct situations!

Myth #8: It Is Best to Wait Until There is a Problem Before Waterproofing

Pushing your basement waterproofing work off until a problem occurs is a bad idea.

First, you never know when flooding will occur.

Second, the cost and damage could be worse if you let it sit and wait for flooding to occur.

Myth #9: All Basement Waterproofing Requires Excavation

Some basement waterproofing solutions do in fact require excavation.

However, many people are surprised to hear that not all waterproofing solutions require excavation.

One example that we offer is the Dry-Up Baseboard, which we will use in certain scenarios.

Myth #10: All Home Insurance Policies Cover Waterproofing Expenses

Home insurance policies typically do not cover basement waterproofing.

Really?? Really.

This is considered a preventative maintenance measure, meaning that homeowners are responsible and expected to prevent the flooding by maintaining and servicing any issues that arise.

Myth #11: All Waterproofing Contractors Provide the Same Solutions

Not all waterproofing contractors provide the same solutions or the same customer service.

We've inspected basements that had unsuccessful waterproofing attempts many times.

Sometimes basement contractors will try to save a few bucks by using low quality materials and cutting corners.

This ends up hurting the homeowner later on down the road.

Myth #12: Sealants Will Fix All Your Basement Leakage Problems

There is a time and place for outside wall sealants to be used.

However, to assume that a sealant will fix your basement water problems is a misstep.

Moisture can still enter through other source even if sealant is applied.

Myth #13: Heavy Rains Are The Only Reason for Basement Flooding

Heavy rains are one of the most common causes of basement flooding.

But not all flooding occurs from heavy rains. Here are some other examples of leakage sources:

Myth #14: Waterproofing is Only For Homes Below Ground Level

Lots of homes above ground level will flood every year.

As mentioned before, the causes of basement waterproofing vary from home to home.

Poor construction or just a very heavy rainstorm can be the culprit.

Myth #15: Small Leaks Will Not Get Worse Over Time

We mentioned earlier that newer homes can be infiltrated by water.

However, it's not a coincidence that older homes are a bit more likely to have wet basement issues.

Foundations can wear down over time and small cracks in your floor and walls can increase in size.

Myth #16: It Is Cheaper to Fix Damage Than to Waterproof Now

This is wrong for multiple reasons.

First, you will still need to pay to fix the waterproofing issues after the damage occurs.

Second, you'll need to pay to replace whatever has been damaged.

Myth #17: It Is Too Late to Waterproof My Basement

Even older homes can be waterproofed. Some situations are trickier than others, but we do our best to put ourselves in your shoes and be as helpful as possible.

Floor Repair
Foundation Repair
Basement Flooded? Here's a Checklist For You

Your basement flooded. Now what?

Here is our easy to use checklist to clean up and prepare for the next time water tries to enter your basement.

1. Safety First

Before entering your flooded basement, turn off the electricity so you don't get electrocuted.

Make sure the basement is safe before entering.

2. Find the Source of the Floods

It's important to find where the water is entering your basement from.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the exact source, as the water can pile up without an obvious source.

If you can find the source, it may save you time and energy in the future, as you'll know what needs to be done to fix the issue.

3. Take Pictures and Video for Insurance Claims

Not everyone will have flood insurance.

However, it can still be a good idea to take photos and a video of your flooded basement.

You can use this for your insurance claim or to show a waterproofing company that may do work for you in the future.

4. Remove Standing Water

The longer the water stays in your basement, the more damage it can create.

Don't put yourself at risk to remove the water, however you can use a few different tools to remove the water:

  • a submersible pump - there are pumps designed for this
  • a vacuum - be sure to check if your vacuum is wet safe
  • bucket and a mop - sometimes a good 'ol fashioned mop is the best route
  • towels - if you don't have too much water, lots of towels may help
  • shop vac - again, make sure it is wet safe

5. File an Insurance Claim

First, you'll need to review your insurance policy to see if you have flood insurance. Not everyone does.

Once you file a claim, you'll need to schedule an inspection. Be sure to have lots of documentation.

If you qualify, you'll then be able to get estimates to clean up/fix the issues.

6. Throw Out Wet or Broken Items

So long as there are no insurance contingencies, you will probably want to throw out wet or broken items, boxes, carpet, and furniture.

Some may be able to be dried out, but you'll want to keep a close eye on them for mold. It's a good idea to clean those out thoroughly and dry them.

7. Clean Your Basement

Once the water is cleaned up, you'll then need to clean.

You can use disinfectant to clean the walls and floor to remove any bacteria and mold residue.

8. Check Out the Electrical Systems

If your electrical systems were submerged, you may need to replace those.

Only inspect these if you know what you're doing! If you need to, it may be a good idea to hire an electrician to handle this.

9. Dry Out Your Basement

If your basement has windows, opening those will help ventilate your basement.

Adding in a dehumidifier will also help dry out your basement. An ideal humidity level is below 50% generally.

10. Watch For Mold

Mold can grow extremely fast after flooding takes place.

You may not always be able to see it either.

11. Fix the Leakage Problems

One of the most important steps you can take is to prevent this from happening again in the future.

Water can enter your basement through an assortment of ways: the wall, floor, cove joint, hydrostatic pressure, or even through broken pipes.

12. Replace Ruined Carpet, Drywall, Ceilings

After you fix the basement leakage problems, you can then start replacing some of the other broken items.

13. Inspect Vents/HVAC Systems

Sometimes water can find its way into HVAC vents and filters.

Be sure to inspect these so that mold does not start building up. Remember, these are flowing through your house, so you want to keep these clean.

14. Set Up a Flood Monitoring System

There are several flood monitoring systems on the market.

One of the products we install is the battery backup sump pump.

If electricity goes out, the battery will turn on and send a warning alarm whistle to alert you.

15. Hire Professionals

Throughout this process, you may need to hire professionals. Request a couple estimates, and find a team you can trust.

We have a guide on how to hire the best basement waterproofing professionals near you.

Floor Repair
Tips & Tricks
My Basement Walls are Leaning! How Can I Fix It?

Walls leaning in your basement? Here's your guide to figuring out what needs to be done.

What Causes Leaning Walls in Basements?

Hydrostatic pressure

You may be surprised to hear, but your leaning basement wall may actually be caused by unresolved water issues in and around your basement.

Basically hydrostatic pressure (water) can build up surrounding your house. When this happens, it puts weight (or pressure) on your basement walls.

This is not always the case.

Poor build

The issue could also be poor construction or simply signs of an aged house.


If you live in the northern U.S., you're not unfamiliar with freezing temperatures. This can cause the soil to expand and put more pressure on the walls.

Whatever the case, when pressure builds up on the walls, they have no where left except to lean or bow or buckle.

Can Leaning Basement Wall Be Fixed?

Good news

The good news is that in many cases the answer is yes.

Like most basement repair issues, each case needs to be examined by an expert. But fixes are absolutely doable in many cases.

Bad news

The bad news is that it's not always an easy fix. It can require heavy equipment and/or materials.

There are some products on the market which now allow us to be able to fix this issue without needing to excavate, but again, it depends on your particular situation and how significant the walls are leaning.

How Much Basement Wall Leaning is Acceptable?

It's never a pretty sight to see your wall starting to lean.

Our recommendation is to get it checked out by a professional whenever you see cracking or bending, even just as a precaution.

Leaning walls do not correct themselves.

The thinner your wall is, the less bowing it can handle. There are some general percentage rules of thumb for how far a wall will be able to lean before serious damage occurs.

But in reality, it's best to get them checked out by professionals.

Fixes to Leaning Basement Walls

Below are the most common fixes to leaning basement walls.

Gorilla Wall Brace

If your leaning wall calls for the gorilla wall braces, then you are in for a treat!

Gorilla Wall Braces Set up in a Basement

This system is used on concrete walls (block or poured) and requires minimal obstruction and excavation.

Time of installation is also quite low.

Wall Anchor System

There are several different wall anchor systems on the market today.

Wall Anchor System on a Leaning Basement Wall

This is one of the most common solutions for leaning walls today.

Excavation is generally required for the wall anchors system.

Exterior Wall Braces

The outside wall brace are great for relieving pressure on basement walls.

Outside Wall Braces on a Leaning Basement Wall

These work great when there is pressure being placed on the wall. The exterior wall braces counteract that pressure.

Excavation is required for the exterior wall braces.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Leaning Walls

Wall corrections vary greatly. Common prices are anywhere from $5,000 - $30,000.

Here are things to consider:

  • Is heavy equipment required
  • Is excavation required
  • Cost of goods
  • Man power to complete the work
Foundation Repair
Wall Repair
11 Reasons Why You Should Install Egress Windows

Curious whether egress window installation is right for you or if it's even worth it?

Here are 11 reasons to install egress windows.

Keep Your Family Safe (Emergency Exit)

Hopefully you won't need to use it, but In case of an emergency, such as a fire, your family will have a safety exit to leave the house.

Egress windows are designed to leave room for people to climb through when the emergency arises, which leads to the next reason.

Comply With Building Codes

In most areas, egress windows are required where habitable or where rooms are used for sleeping purposes.

So whether you bought an older house without egress windows, or you are building a new home, you'll need to check with your city to make sure your windows are up to code.

Increase Home Value

It's a sweet sound to new homeowners when they hear that they won't have a ton of issues to fix once they move into their new house.

It should also be great news to hear that properly installed egress windows will immediately bring the value of your house up.

There are calculators online to figure out how much increase an egress window brings to a home, but estimates suggest $10K+ when windows are installed.

Increase Daylight

Most of us have been to homes where the basement seems like a dark cave lit by a single candle.

They remind us of dark, damp, and musty areas where we never want to visit again.

Egress windows can increase window space, which allows more sunlight to enter. This will allow you to use your electric lights as complementary lights rather than the only source of light.

Prevent Water Damage

When egress windows are installed properly with good covers or alongside a solid waterproofing system, you won't need to worry about that basement flooding again.

Basement flooding can bring an assortment of issues, such as water damage, mold, foundation failure, and so much more. Part of the solution is simply installing great egress windows.

Improve Air Quality

In the summer, you can open the egress window to allow some fresh air to enter the basement.

This can improve ventilation and makes your basement a more enjoyable place to live and invite guests into.

Not to mention the decreased airborne allergens you will be exposed to (mold, dust, debris, etc.).

Enhance the Aesthetics

Let's be honest, basements just look better with clean egress windows installed.

Those tiny windows cannot compete with the full sized egress window.

And it's not just on the interior; the exterior will look much better with a white window alongside stone, brick, or wood.

Keep Pests Out

The egress windows generally come with a window well, and if installed properly, will help keep pests out.

This compounds the fact that egress windows will assist in keeping your basement dry, which in return will keep the bugs that like moist areas away.

It's a win-win scenario!

Reduce Insurance Premium

We recommend checking with your own insurance provider, but in some cases, you will have less out-of-pocket money in the case of a disaster.

Some insurance companies will look to see if you did your part to stop the disaster from happening, such as maintenance and proper equipment.

This means that installing egress windows now can in return save you lots of money down the road.

Make Your Basement Livable

Making your basement code compliant, adding extra light, and decreasing the risk of disasters will make your basement livable.

So if you have a growing family a or multiple families living in the same house, egress windows are perfect for you.y

Decrease Home Energy Bill

A properly installed egress window can play a part in helping maintain heat and air in your house as opposed to improperly installed windows.

Some windows may not be sealed well and could let air seep in or out.

Signs of Water Damage in Your Basement - How to Detect and What To Do

Below are the most common signs of basement water damage, how you can detect them, and what you should do to resolve them.

We recommend consulting with a professional to mitigate basement damage issues.

Water stains

Stains can sometimes be seen on the floor and other times in the walls. These are pretty obvious in some cases and in others less severe. One part of the wall or floor will look darker than the others, and you may even see mold residue start to build up in corners, the cove joint, or on basement stairs.


When we see water stains on the wall, generally we recommend the baseboard waterproofing system. When the stains are on the floor, it may mean a drain tile system will be necessary.

Standing Water

This is an obvious one, but is it also a very serious concern. If there is standing water in your basement, your first step is to clear the basement of water.

The longer the water sits on the ground, the higher chance damage will occur.


There could be an assortment of issues when you see standing water in your basement. Water could be coming from the floor or walls, and the issue may be with the gutters and downspouts, poor yard slope, or just a high water table that needs a better drainage system.

Damp or Wet Areas

Even if you don't see standing water, dampness can be a cause for concern. Oftentimes homeowners will recognize certain areas in their basement that tend to be more damp than others and recognize those spots as in need of mitigation. Pay attention to whether this is a one time event or if the issue has persisted several times. It may give a clue to the culprit.


This may be a basement humidity issue that can at least be partially resolved through a dehumidifier, but oftentimes it will involve installing a waterproofing system like the Dry-up Baseboard or a French drain system.

Mold or Mildew Growth

Mold cannot exist without moisture. That means if you see or smell mold in your basement, there is moisture lurking around, even if you can't see or feel it. If this is the case for you, it could mean your home's foundation was built on low ground, and the water surrounding the basement has consistently made its way through.


In the case where mold is present but standing or visible is not, we recommend a dehumidifier as well as checking to make sure the gutters are working properly. It may require a check of your yard's grade.

Rotting Wood

Homes can be built with wood support beams that extend from the ground vertically up to the ceiling. Age can be a factor in decaying or rotting wood, but water in your basement can also be a problem.


Generally these beams are found in the center of a basement, so if your walls show no sign of damage, it could mean the moisture levels are too high for your basement, or water is making its way up through the floor. In that case, we may recommend a floor drainage system, but more info is probably needed to verify the source of moisture.

Peeling Wallpaper or Paint

If your wallpaper or paint on your basement is wall is peeling, it could be from water issues. Sometimes water will seep through cracks in the wall or in corners and ruin your paint or wallpaper. It may seem frustrating, but a good way to look at this is you now know there's a basement water issue, and these issues will make it easier to find the source of the problem.


Exterior sealing can be done at times to resolve this issue. It may also require some yard grade work to ensure that water doesn't continue to funnel towards your basement's walls.


If you see a salty-like or powdery substance covering your basement walls or floor, it could mean damage has or is occurring to your basement from too much moisture getting in.


In this case, there could be an assortment of causes similar to ones mentioned previously. At times, an outside wall sealer will resolve this issue.

Rust or Corrosion

Rust can appear in areas of your basement, but again, moisture must be present. Various metals, including pipes, furnaces, support beams, window frames, and drainage systems can accumulate rust.


Sometimes rust and corrosion is just the normal life cycle of some items. However, there are some instances where rust may be a sign of leaks, faulty drainage systems and improper ventilation. This is one you may need to consult with a pro contractor about.

Bubbling Drywall

Bubbling drywall is typically caused by moisture intrusion in your basement. The integrity of the drywall is lost when moisture saturates it.


Check to make sure you don't have any leaky pipes in your basement. If there was a recent flooding, this may be the culprit and a new drainage system may be necessary. Improper humidity levels could also be the cause.

Cracks in Walls or Floor

If your basement is starting to see (or has had for many years) cracks in the wall or floor, oftentimes it has to do with water issues.


In floors, sometimes hydrostatic pressure will push upwards and cause cracks. Depending on the size of the cracks, a French drain may be needed.

Deteriorating Concrete

Concrete can deteriorate over time. It's important to identify the cause before taking action.


Freeze-thaw cycles can be the culprit in colder climates, like Minnesota. If your basement is exposed, it can deteriorate the concrete. A fresh floor may be necessary depending on the severity.

Sweating Windows

Are your windows (maybe egress) dripping water on a summer day? Typically this happens when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface.


Improve ventilation. Typically this is not a structural issue, but it can lead to mold growth. Check your humidity levels as well.

Warped or Buckling Floor

Leaning walls and warped floors are oftentimes an issue with moisture being absorbed into the structures. Over time, it can lead to structures that lack the integrity to stay upright.


A basement wall brace may be in order as well as a drainage system to make sure the issues don't persist.

Stained or Deteriorating Carpet

Carpet in a basement is not always a good idea, especially if moisture is present. The carpet can deteriorate, and it may even allow for mold to grow.


Removing the carpets is oftentimes required. Then you will need to dry out the area and keep it dry. Dehumidifiers can help, but it may be recommended to keep the floor bare without carpet in the future.

Rotten Cardboard Boxes

Ever entered into a basement to move some boxes, and the box crumbles in your hands? This could have been a past concern from where the box once sat, but if there are lots of damaged boxes, it may mean that your basement is the culprit.


Before coming to a resolution, it's important to identify why the cardboard boxes are rotten. Was there flooding? Is it simply too high humidity levels? A new drainage system may be necessary.

Insect or Pest Activity

Some insects and pests are attracted to moisture, such as mosquitos, cockroaches, spiders, flies, ants, crickets, and more.


While pest control may be required, it's important to track down where there is moisture in your basement. That's the first step, and the second step would be to figure out how they water got in. Only then could a full resolution be found.

High Humidity Levels

Humid basements are not comfortable. But outside of the comfort, they can be a sign of water damage in your basement. Or rather, they can lead to it.


Installing a dehumidifier is important, but a drainage system may also be necessary.

Visible Water Leaks

Another obvious one here, but visible water leaks will generally to water damage. Water and basements typically don't go together well.


Figure out where the leaks are coming from. Identify a drainage or waterproofing system that will stop the leaks in the future.

Sump Pump Constantly Running

If your sump pump is constantly running, it may be a sign you need a new sump pump. It may also be a sign that water damage is occurring, and the sump pump is alerting you of that.


Check to see if the pump is working properly. If it is, there is a basement leak issue that needs to be fixed. This could be a floor or wall leak, or it could be an exterior issue.

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Floor Repair
Foundation Repair
Signs That Your Sump Pump Needs Replacing

Below are signs that your sump pump may need replacing. Contact a professional if you are unsure.


If you hear unusual noises from your sump pump, there may be cause for concern. Unusual noises could mean an assortment of issues, many of which we will cover below.

It's best to monitor the sump pump to ensure it is working correctly if you do hear noises.

Too Much Water

Sometimes, even a working sump pump may not be able to handle heavy water flow in your basement.

This could be a sign that your current sump pump needs to be upgraded, or that you need to install a new drain tile or baseboard system to assist.

Constantly Running

A constantly running sump pump is going to wear the machine down a lot quicker than normal.

If you just had heavy rains or a long, snowy winter, it may make sense for the sump pump to run without stopping for a period of time.

However, if that short period of time turns to a long period of time, or there hasn't been an unusual amount of water fall, then there's a good chance the sump pump is not working correctly.

Over 10 Years Old

How long do sump pumps last?

Sump pumps do not last forever. Like all other home tools and appliances, sump pumps have a shelf life.

Sump pumps typically last 8 to 10 years. Even when they are maintained well, they probably won't last much longer, but this can be fixed with a replacement.

Not Installed Correctly

Sometimes sump pumps are not installed correctly from the get-go.

In fact, it may have been installed incorrectly, and you may not even know it for some time.

When heavy rains strike your basement, the sump pump isn't able to handle the water and shows signs that it was not installed correctly.

Doesn't Run Even When Level Rises

Sump pumps come with a float that tells the system when to turn on and flush water out.

When that system is broken, the sump pump won't turn on.

Your sump pump not turning on could also mean an assortment of others issues, such as a power or electrical issue.

Repairing Often

If you need to repair or replace parts on your sump pump constantly, it may give you a better return on your investment to simply replace the entire system.

It will also give you some peace of mind not having to worry about it every spring of in heavy rains!

Frozen Discharge Channels

Sump pumps that are not surrounded by good insulation can become frozen and build up an ice dam.

When that happens, the water flowing out has no place to go except back into the sump bucket (and possibly into the basement!).

Frequent Tripping

If you sump pump is turning on and off frequently, it is best to monitor the situation.

It could simply be an electrical or float issue. It could also mean that there is too much water for the sump system to handle.

In that case, a new basement waterproofing system may be in order.

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Water is Flooding Your Basement

If too much water is piling up in your sump pump (or is even overflowing out), then it is probably time to replace the sump pump.

There could be another problem, such as a blockage or power problem, which we will discuss later in this article, but it could also mean the sump pump is ready to be replaced.

Float Switch Issues

As mentioned earlier, the float switch can prevent the pump from functioning correctly.

There can also be pressure problems that lead to the pump not turning on or off as intended.

Rusty Sump Pump

Rust on or near your sump pump is not usual, but it can happen.

The constant running of water can lead to rust and even holes in your system.


When sump pumps are overused, they can overheat and wear down.

Replacing the system may be an option, but in reality, the new system may end up overheating as well.

We recommend fixing the problem at its source rather than just the symptoms of the problem. Overheating may simply be a symptom.

Contact a professional to identify the source of your basement water problems.

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Mold Growth

Mold and basements are common pairings. With lots of water flowing through sump pumps, and being that they are located in basements, mold can accumulate.

If you see mold around your sump pump, it may mean that the system is not draining water as it should, and it needs replacing.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are not good, especially in sump pumps.

If your sump pump leaks water, the channels need to be replaced or the sump pump itself.

Not Powering

If you sump pump is not powering, the system itself may be dead.

It could also mean that there is an electrical issue.

Backup System Not Working

Sump pumps can come with backup power.

If your backup system is not working, the trigger may be broken, or the backup power unit may be dead as well.

Clogged Sump Pump

If you sump pump constantly clogs, a replacement may be in order.

It does depend if the clog is in the channel pipes or in the sump pump itself.

How to Keep Your Basement Fresh and Clean

Are you dealing with any of the following issues:

  • My basement doesn't smell fresh
  • Mold is growing in my basement
  • Basement gets dirty quickly

Let's identify some possible solutions for these issues.

Keep it dry

A dry basement is a safe basement - in most circumstances. Keeping the basement dry will deter mold growth and some types of cement or foundation failures, but this is not true in all circumstances.

Keep it ventilated

Air flow is important for keeping basements fresh. Some solutions to this are fans to allow air to circulate. As long as the air can enter and exit in the right places this will help with the circulation. Dehumidifiers may also help with ventilation. Exhaust vents are also sometimes installed in basements to allow air to move throughout the house.

Keep the humidity under control

Dehumidifiers can help with the humidity, as mentioned before. You can read more about humidity and find out if your basement is too humid in our article below: 

Fix any leaks

Leaks can be a culprit of basement dirtiness. These leaks can be from multiple sources, such as the floor, walls, and even plumbing pipes.

Clean mold residue

If there is any mold accumulation in your basement currently, clean it out thoroughly. Remove any items that have mold growth and make sure to clean the surrounding areas thoroughly. Mold can infiltrate items in your basement, even if you can't see it. Allowing some mold to remain may allow it to come back in greater numbers in the future.

It's also important to remember that even if you do clean up the mold currently sitting in your basement, your basement may not stay fresh and clean for long. If the environment is ripe for mold growth, then that is exactly what will happen again if the environment isn't fixed. Waterproofing solutions may be in order if this is the case.

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Remove any junk

If you have old boxes, furniture, or other stuff in your basement, it can be difficult to see mold behind the mess. Oftentimes this allows for mold to grow without us catching it first. Removing old items in your basement may not necessarily fix all the mold issues, but it will allow you to catch it if mold growth starts to take place.

Another option is to organize your basement so that everything is seeable in case you need to inspect items for mold in the future.

Clean regularly

Cleaning regularly is a spectacular idea for your basement. If you are using water to clean the basement, be sure it gets dried up when you finish so that it doesn't add to any mold or must issues.

For obvious reasons cleaning dirt, dust, and other residue makes for a fresh basement. As an added bonus, unwanted fungal growth will be stopped at its source so it doesn't take over the basement.

Clean your dryer vent

Dryer vents can be a surprising basement attacker. The vents can either accumulate moisture or add moisture to other areas, and by now you probably are aware, moisture isn't a good ingredient in the basement. Two things should happen with the dryer vent:

  • Clean it if it requires cleaning. It's not a bad idea to check up on it everyone once in a while.
  • Take note of where the vent exit is. Does that area typically get more moisture than other areas of the basement? If so, this may be an issue in the future.

We hope this list was helpful, and you should now be well on your way to having a clean and fresh basement.

Tips & Tricks
21 Ways to Utilize Your Basement Space

Here are 21 ideas (and a bonus) for the best ways you can make use of your extra basement space.

1. Game room

Turn your extra basement space into a game room, whether it be video games or traditional arcade games. You could even bring a pool and ping pong table into the space, although those do take up more space. Air hockey would be a great addition. You could even combine this with a home theater, which we'll get to next on this list.

2. Home theater

Put up some sound panels on the ways, install a TV, bring in some comfy chairs or couches, and you have yourself a theater experience - in your home! You no longer need to spend $50+ to go to the movies because you can bring the movies to your basement. Don't forget your snacks, which you can store in your kitchen. See more about that next on the list.

3. Leave it empty, moldy & wet

Unfortunately, this is too common in basements, and most of us know someone who has this problem. Our goal is to rid basements of moisture and to allow you to make use of your basement.

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4. Kitchen & bar

An extra kitchen would be handy, wouldn't it? You can install a bar, sink, fridge, and cabinets to store snacks and more. This is great for parties and to invite guests over when the upstairs is unavailable.

5. Storage

If you have a lot of extra "stuff", using your basement as a storage locker may be a good idea. It's important to know, however, that if you have water problems in your basement, any boxes or other items you store may be ruined. Or worse, mold may accumulate on your items.

6. Work station

Do you work on projects regularly? Have you run out of garage space for those projects? You can always use your basement as a work station. Set up a work bench and some shelves on the wall to hold your tools, and you have a good start to your basement work shop.

7. Storm shelter

Depending on where you live, the basement is oftentimes the safest place to go when tornadoes or other natural disasters occur. In the case of extreme emergencies, you can always store food, water, and other survival resources in an area of your basement.

8. Home office

Basements are great for home offices. They also don't have to be super elaborate. Find a small (or large) area, put up a desk, and you have an office!

9. Living room

For larger families, or when you don't have a living room in the upstairs, the basement a great place to put one. You can put a TV in front of some couches, and it will look great alongside a kitchen & bar. The basement doesn't even need to be all that large, either! Small living rooms work great as well as larger ones.

10. Wine cellar

Have lots of drinks to store but nowhere to put them? Purchase a large rack (or build one yourself), and then you can store all your drinks in the basement. It's even better if you can set the climate or if you have a cellar in the basement specifically designed for drinks to be stored in.

11. Guest bedrooms

If you have relatives over somewhat frequently or just want to have an extra room in case of an emergency, you can always put one or more guest bedrooms in the basement. It's a good idea to also have a bathroom and shower in the basement to go along with the rooms, but they aren't absolutely necessary.

12. Apartment unit

Splitting up a multi-family home with an apartment in the basement is a smart play. You can deck it out to act just like a finished home with all the amenities that you'd see in a full-sized home. Or it's great to have the grandparents live on the main floor while the next generation sleeps in the basement.

13. Kids play area

There's no need to messy up the main level with all of your kids' toys. Instead, put a play area downstairs where they can make all the mess they want, and no one (expect you) will ever know what's down there. You could even go all out and make a jungle gym down in the basement or a foam pit for the kids to play in.

14. Home gym

Basements are excellent spaces for home gyms. Depending on the height of the ceiling, you could put barbell racks, dumbbells, ellipticals, mats, medicine balls, running machines, and more! If your basement floor is built for it, you could even put a mat down to drop your heavy weights onto without worrying about the noise level.

15. Laundry room

Speaking of noise levels, if you put your laundry room downstairs in the basement, you won't need to worry about the swishing and swooshing of your clothes being washed anymore. You will also have more room to organize the clothes once they are washed and dried. A smart idea is to set up shelves and dedicate a slot for each person's basket.

16. Hot tub & sauna

This is the dream basement for many people - a hot tub or sauna! You will want to make sure that the room is set up to hold any water spillage and the moisture that will inevitably steam onto the ceiling and walls. Any water not taken into account could cause damage to your basement area.

17. Music studio

If you have recording equipment, the basement is a smart place to put up some sound panels on the walls and create that album you've always wanted to. Or even if you don't wish to record, you could put a piano down there, or put up some guitars on the walls, and pull them down when you're ready for a quick jam session.

18. Arts & craft room

Another idea is to use the basement for art projects. Are you into drawing? Painting? Sculpting? Another type of craft? Make the basement into an arts and craft room, and you no longer have to set up the space every time you want to let loose on a creative project.

19. Library

Do you own lots of books? Or maybe you want to, but you keep ending up having to throw out old ones because you're out of space. Put up some big shelves on the basement walls, and you can even organize them however you wish. It's your own personal library.

20. Video & photography studio

Videography and photography become bigger parts of people's lives year after year. You can use your basement as a studio to take a new family photo each year. Use a green screen, or you can set up new and unique backgrounds each time you want to take new photos or videos. Or you can build your personal brand with a unique set up behind the camera.

21. Pantry room

When you don't have space in your upstairs, the basement is a phenomenal place to store canned foods and other foods that won't go bad quickly.

Bonus. Freezer room

A freezer room is a great extra place to have when you find yourself storing lots of meat and frozen foods for longer periods of time. You can use a room in your basement to stock two or more freezers so you no longer need to worry about running out of space.

Tips & Tricks
How to Hire a Basement Contractor (Homeowner Guide)

In this article we outline the essential steps you should go through when hiring a basement contractor to avoid losing money, time, and your basement.

What to Look for in Basement Contractor

There are some red flags to avoid in basement contractors and also some positives to look for.

Positive reviews online

Check on Google, Yelp, and Facebook to see how customers have reviewed the contractor in the past. Look specifically for contractors that didn't finish the job or ghosted the customer.

Complaints on BBB

Sometimes (not always) complaints can be made via the Better Business Bureau or other local review platforms. It's always a good idea to check these as well before hiring a basement contractor.

Quality of work

If the business has pictures of the work they have completed in the past, be sure to check those out, and make sure it is up to par for your needs. Sometimes customers will post pictures on Google as well where you can see the quality of work by the professional.

Signs of a Good Basement Contractor

What makes a good basement contractor?


When you call the company, do they do what they say they will at the time they said they would do it? Have they been honest in all their quotes and processes before you hire them. These can be a tell-tale sign of whether you should hire the contractors of not.

Clear communication

Do they keep you in the loop of what is happening at all times of your project? Sometimes contractors can go through extremely busy seasons, so it may take a few days to get back to you. But when they do, is everything provided that was promised?


This may go without saying, but it is also important to be sure that the basement contractor you hire is well-versed in basement "things". Have they been in business for 5+ years, or did they just open up shop this year? Generally the company that has been in business for longer has more to lose, so they are more likely to provide you with the best service.


Does the contractor have an official license? In most cases it is required by law, and it's suspicious in general not to have one.


It's always a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes awry. If they contractor breaks something on your house or property, are they insured to cover those expenses and to what extent?


Sometimes products go bad (and it's not always the fault of the contractors). For example, if the basement contractor you hired installs a drainage system, and then the system breaks in a year, will you be able to have the company come out and replace the faulty product. Oftentimes basement companies will have a process for submitting warranty claims, so check to see if the one you are potentially hiring does as well.

Questions to Ask Basement Contractors

Make sure you have several questions lined up to ask your contractor!

How to Hire a Basement Contractor You Can Trust

And without further ado, here are the best tips we can offer on how to hire the best basement contractor.

1. Do Research Online

Make sure to do diligent research online before hiring a basement contractor. Find a list of the best basement contractors in your area and mark off contractors until there is only one left. This includes reading online reviews, checking out past work they've done, timeline, and budget. Also, it's important to remember that cheapest is not always the best. Sometimes the cheapest do the poorest quality work. Not always, but it's something to keep in mind.

2. Ask Friends for Recommendations

If your friends are homeowners as well, chances are they (or something they know) have gone through basement foundation or water leakage issues in the past. If so, they may know a basement contractor they trust. Reach out by word of mouth or on social media to see if anyone has any recommendations. This can be the best way of finding a crew for you, as you will probably trust your friends more than strangers online.

3. Watch Out for Basement "Salesmen"

Salesmen are oftentimes paid on commission. Large companies will oftentimes send out salesman to "sell" you their services rather than finding out the root problem in your basement and figuring out realistic solutions to fix them. Pride yourself on finding a company that provides "realistic" solutions to real basement problems.

4. Get Quotes (for Free)

Any basement contractor that comes out to check on your problems will send out a quote soon after they leave. Gather a few quotes from different professionals. Most will give these out for free, so feel free to ask two or three different basement companies to provide quotes!

5. Compare The Contractor Quotes

Again, it's important to remember that cheapest isn't always best, but you now can evaluate the pros and cons of each of your quotes. List out what is important to you and your family, and decide based on that.

6. Ask About License, Insurance, and Warranties Provided

Before making the decision to bring a basement contractor into your home, be sure to ask about their licenses, insurance, and warranties. This can save you headaches in the future big time!

7. Hire The Basement Water Controlled Team

Our team prides ourselves on living out these qualities. We'd love to help you reach your basement goals, and keep your home safe and dry for good.

Tips & Tricks
Foundation Repair
Improper Yard Slope is Causing Basement Flooding

Can improper lawn slope cause basement flooding issues?

Yes, improper lawn slope can cause basement flooding issues. In fact, poor yard drainage is a common culprit to basement leakage issues. Instead of rain flowing down and away from your foundation, your yard acts as a funnel and brings water into your home.

This is especially frustrating when heavy rains occur. The rain falls onto your yard and rolls down towards your foundation.

How to fix improper lawn slope flooding issues

The first step is to verify that this is the culprit to your basement leakage issues. There could be other issues involved, such as gutters and downspouts clogging or not pushing water far enough away.

In order to fix the lawn slope issues, you will need to make sure that the highest point of the yard is closest to your home, and that it has a funnel downwards and away from your home. This requires heavy equipment and machinery. This is not a one man with a shovel kind of job.

We always recommend consulting with a professional before making any changes to your yard, as the work done may not actual help solve the root issues.

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Backfill issues

As mentioned before, your basement flooding issues may not be the grading at all. It could be due to the fact that there are gaps in your soil that are allowing water to seep through and run up alongside your foundation walls or floor. The solution to this is backfilling dirt into these open areas in your soil. Again, we recommend hiring a professional to figure out which issue it is you are dealing with.

How much should by yard slope down?

As a percentage, you generally want your yard slope to be at least 3%. It can definitely be higher than that, but anything lower than that may be risky.

How can I tell if my yard needs more slope?

A good idea the next time it rains heavily is to take a peek outside your home's foundation. If there is standing water, it may mean that your yard needs to be re-graded. It could also shed light on some of the other issues mentioned earlier, but either way, standing water next to your foundation is not good news.

When is the best time to regrade my yard?

The best time in the midwest to regrade yards is summer through fall. The ground is the softest, and it will also allow you to lay grass seed or sod before it gets cold again.

Should I add dirt or remove dirt to get proper slopeage?

This is a tough question to answer without seeing each case individually. Oftentimes fixing yard slope issues involves a bit of both - adding to the top and removing from the bottom, and then leveling it out. This is another time we would recommend consulting a professional before digging in. It may save yourself a lot of headaches.

The Basement Water Controlled Team
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