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Water in Basement - Step by Step Guide to Fixing It

Fix it now

There Is Water in My Basement!

Are you stuck with water in your basement and wondering what your next steps should be? This article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to dry your basement and keep it dry for the future.

Safety First

First, be sure to check if any electrical devices are still plugged into your basement walls. These can be dangerous when there is standing water in the basement, so be sure to stay away from those until the basement is dry.

Safety First: Water in Basement

Get the Water Out of Your Basement

Your first step is to get the water out of your basement.

Sump Pump

You can use a sump pump to drain the water out of the basement. Keep in mind that if you do use a sump pump, the water may just end up back in your home unless you drain it to a place that won't funnel down back into your home.

Sump Pump

Shop-Vac

Another option is to use a shop-vac to suction the water up. Make sure to dump far away from the foundation so it doesn't end up back in the house minutes or hours later.

Dry Out Your Basement

Once you have gotten any standing water out of your basement, you'll want to dry it out as much as possible.

Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is an excellent option for drying out your basement. Simply plug it in (to a safe outlet) and let it do its thing by drying out moisture from the air.

Prevent Mold

A dehumidifier can also help prevent mold, as the best way to prevent mold is to make sure no water remains. Along with a dehumidifier, you can purchase mold-reducing products that will stop mold from producing after water damage. Make sure to remove any damaged materials and furniture, as mold can grow on an assortment of surfaces.

Dry Your Furniture

If you decide to keep your furniture, make sure it has been completely dried. Again, you don't want mold to grow or for the wood structures to rot out from the water damage.

Dry Off Basement Furniture

Search For Damage

Water can cause a lot of damage. It's important to check to see how much damage has occurred and what damaged items you'd like to replace. Homeowners insurance oftentimes does not cover water damage that comes from a source outside of the home. It's best, however, to check with your homeowners insurance company to be safe.

Don't forget to check under carpeted areas and behind furniture!

If there was standing water, be sure to clean any items that were touched by the flood water, as it can oftentimes be dirty and even muddy.

Wood will sometimes need to be replaced, even if it doesn't seem wet from the outside. Wood can by dry on the outside and wet on the inside.

Diagnose How the Water Got In

After you have dried out your basement, it's vital to diagnose how the water came into your basement in the first place.

Sometimes it comes up through hydrostatic pressure from beneath your home's foundation, and other times it is heavy rains that cause the water table to rise too high surrounding your home. You may even see a pipe burst and cause a wet basement (homeowners insurance does cover this often). Or there are simply too many cracks in your basement floor that are letting water go straight through.

Whatever the case, be sure to figure out how the water came into your basement so you know how to come up with a battle plan for the future.

How Much Water in the Basement is Bad?

Prevent Water From Getting in Again

Once you figure out how water entered your basement, it's important to put measures in place so it doesn't happen again. Basement waterproofing systems come in several shapes and sizes. The best way to figure out which waterproofing system you need (if any at all) is to contact a professional waterproofing team to have it checked out. Oftentimes, basement waterproofing companies will offer free estimates, so it can't hurt to give one or two a call to look over your basement.

Flooding
Floor Repair
Foundation Repair
Mold
Wall Repair
Fix Moisture on Basement Stairs

The problem: moisture on your basement stairs

Nobody wants to see moisture on their basement stairs. The obvious reason is because your basement stairs are wet, and you need to walk up and down them. The other reason is that there could be deeper issues at hand. The water had to have come in from somewhere, the questions are "where did the water come from" and "will it continue to come in?"

Diagnose: Where is the water coming from?

Water can enter basements through many ways - walls, cracks in the floor, windows, cove joints, moisture coming up through the floor, and more. Diagnosing where the water is entering your basement is the first step in stopping these issues. An experienced professional will be able to diagnose these issues a lot quicker than the average homeowner, so we always recommend having a pro check it out just to be safe.

How do I keep water out of my basement stairs?

To keep water out of your basement stairs, you'll need to channel the water away from your home's foundation. This can include keeping the grade of your yard sloping away from your home, cleaning out gutters and downspouts so water doesn't overflow onto the ground, and a variety of other waterproofing techniques.

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Solutions:

Here are some of the most common ways to keep moisture off your basement stairs.

Clean your gutters

If your gutters have debris in them, they could overflow and spill onto the ground near your foundation. During the spring season and on rainy days, the soil could become oversaturated, and it won't have anywhere else to go but into your basement.

Slope of yard

If your yard is sloped downwards toward your home, the water will take the path of least resistance. So, again, when it rains or during melting season, the water will funnel into your home. If your stairs are near the wall, they could be left wet if untreated.

Caulking

Caulking is one of the best ways to waterproof the exterior or your basement. It is essentially a thick paint that doesn't let water through. It takes hard work and heavy equipment to apply, but it's worth it if it keeps water off your basement stairs.

Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers can also help keep moisture out of your basement and away from your stairs.

Fears: Dangers of Wet Basement Stairs

Slip and Falls

Wet basement stairs can lead to slips and falls. This is not good, given that basement floors are hard and not pleasant to land on.

Mold

Mold is a silent striker. It can sometimes be hidden, but it's there, and it is not healthy. Breathing in mold can be harmful to you and your family's health. Fix your moldy basement.

Wood Rotting

A little bit of water may not immediately rot the wood stairs, but after consistent exposure, the wood will decay and be left for dust after many years of moisture.

Mold
Floor Repair
Waterproofing
Leaking Basement Wall Repair

Does your basement wall leak water? In this article, you will find out why basement walls leak and how it can be stopped so it doesn't seep in the future.

How Do I know If My Basement Wall is Leaking?

Generally if your basement wall is wet, moldy, stained, or tends to have damp spots, it probably means that your wall is leaking. The most obvious case is water dripping down the sides of your basement walls, but it isn't always this cut and dry (no pun intended).

Why Is My Basement Wall Leaking?

Basement walls can leak because of water that builds up on the outside of your foundation. The water builds until it has nowhere else to go but into your basement. Cracks are not required for the water to enter your home!

How Does Water Get Through My Basement Wall?

Water can get through your basement wall through many sources.

Windows

If your basement windows are not sealed completely, or the moisture has gone through them, they can be a common leakage source in your basement. Generally if water is leaking through windows, you will see streaks directly underneath your windows in your basement's interior.

Moisture

As mentioned previously, water does not need large areas to seep through. Water can go through concrete as moisture and make your basement very wet, damp, and musty.

Cracks

The most obvious case of basement wall leakage is when there are cracks in your walls. These cracks leave plenty of room for the water to flow through to get into your basement.

How to Fix a Leaking Basement Wall

As with any basement leakage issue, it's important to find the true source of the problem before making a prescription to fix it.

DRY-UP Baseboard System

The DRY-UP waterproofing system is designed specifically for water that is leaking through your walls. It is a proven waterproofing system that does not require excavation your basement.

Baseboard Waterproofing Before & After

Exterior Wall Sealer

If water is coming in through the exterior of your foundation, an outside wall sealer will do the trick. It will keep water from penetrating the outside of your home's foundation. This technique does require the digging up of the soil surrounding your home's foundation, as that is the only way to put the sealer on.

Keep Water Away From Your Basement

Sometimes the issue is not in the basement itself, but outside the basement. For example, if you gutters are overflowing and causing water to build up near your foundation, clearing out the gutters could help fix that issue. Or if you water grass and flowers near your home, that could be why there is so much water near your foundation. Another common issue is the grading surrounding your foundation.

Keeping water away from your basement is the safest way to keep it out of your basement.

Wall Repair
Waterproofing
Can I Waterproof My Own Basement?

A common question homeowners will ask is whether or not they can waterproof their own basement.

Can I Do Basement Waterproofing Myself?

The answer: You may or may not be able to waterproof your own basement, as it depends on why your basement is leaking. This leads to the main issue - there is not just one fix for leaky basements.


The fix could be as simple as cleaning out your clogged up gutters to allow water to flow down through it rather than overflowing right down to the base of your home. Homeowners may be able to handle a task such as that.


The issue could also be water entering through cracks in your foundation, which could potentially require foundation repair work. Most homeowners cannot handle a task such as that.


It entirely depends on the situation, but most homeowners should not handle their own basement waterproofing.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Theses are questions you should ask yourself before attempting to waterproof your own basement:


  1. Am I sure of the source of the problem?
  2. Do I have the equipment to carry out the work?
  3. Can I do the work safely and in a timely manner?


If you answer no to any of those questions, the best solution is to hire a team of professionals who handle these types of jobs every single day.


Here is a list of pros and cons on waterproofing your own basement:


Pros

Save money

By waterproofing your own basement, you won’t have to pay to hire a crew to come in and take care of the work. You will need to pay for any material that is needed. Oftentimes waterproofing projects will need tools, machinery, and product in order to carry out the task.


Cons

Takes time

Basement waterproofing may take weeks or even months to carry out on your own. Again, this is dependent on what you are actually doing. It may only take a week to install a DRY-up baseboard system in your basement, but installing a drain tile system could be entirely different.


Drain tile repairs and installation require excavation. Then the debris needs to be carried out. After that the system can be installed. And finally you’ll need fresh cement laid out. Oh, and don’t forget about hooking it up to the sump pump (simplified version of the process).

Basement Excavation for a Drain Tile System


In the end, waterproofing projects can be a time-stealing matter, which not all homeowners will have the ability to put up with.


Dirty and hard work involved

Basement waterproofing can be exhausting work. It is not for the weak-hearted. You can be on your feet lifting heavy equipment or rolling wheelbarrows out of the basement for hours (and days) on end.


It is not uncommon for your clothes to be covered in dirt at the end of the day, as you could find yourself digging in the trenches.

Dirty Basement Repair Work


Lack of expertise

The biggest con of waterproofing your own basement is that you may not know exactly what needs to be done. This is a very serious issue!


If you believe the issue is a high water table under your home, but it turns out that there was actually a plumbing issue causing the water leakage, you could find yourself wasting a bunch of time and money carrying out the wrong work.


Now imagine a professional who has been in the industry for over 50 years. With that kind of experience, you can be confident knowing that he’s going to find the correct solution to your basement issues.


Risk of mistakes

Making a mistake while trying to waterproof your basement could cost you thousands in damages and put your home (and family!) at risk. Any waterproofing comes with risks, however, the risks are much lower if you have a team of quality pros on your side.


Lack of equipment

Basement repair equipment can be expensive. Not to mention exterior work can require big machinery to move dirt and heavy pieces.

Without the correct equipment, most repair and installation jobs would be unsuccessful and not possible.

Waterproofing
Is Waterproofing a Basement Worth It?

Before doing the work yourself or hiring a professional team to waterproof your basement, you want to know if it is worth the investment.


Is basement waterproofing worth the investment?

Basement waterproofing is well worth the investment. Although waterproofing your basement can come at an expense, the overall return on your investment and the immediate living quality improvements are well worth any costs that are associated with it.


Long lasting impacts

The best part about waterproofing your basement is that the results will last for years to come. It may be tempting to let the water leakage be and to just clean it up every time, but the problem may get worse over time. When you fix the problem at the source, you’ll no longer need to worry about future complications.


Benefits of waterproofing your basement

Add value to your home

If you ever decide to sell your home in the future, a big selling point will be that your home has no basement water issues. Nothing deters potential homebuyers away more than when you share that the basement had had water issues for years, and you’ve done nothing to take care of these issues.

Have a livable basement

Perhaps the most important benefit of fixing your basement water issues is the fact that you’ll be able to live down there. It no longer has to be just a storage area or the place that no one wants to be in. You won’t have to worry about mold anymore, and leakage during heavy rains and storms won’t be a factor.

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Improve air quality

Musky basements are human repellants. Living in unbreathable basements is also a hassle. Getting rid of water issues in your basement has the benefit of people being able to breathe clearly and not having to constantly worry about the health of your family and guests.

Reduced risk of repair damage

When water enters your basement, it can damage your house. Repairs to these damages may end up costing more in the long run than it would have been to simply fix the issues to begin with.

Walk on dry floors

Having dry floors means that you don’t have to worry about keeping items on it and getting wet. You may even be able to put a carpet down.

Keep furniture dry

With basement leakage issues, you not only have to worry about your foundation, basement walls, and floor wearing down, but you also need to consider your furniture and any appliances you keep in the basement. Water can cause damage to all of these items if not treated properly.

Tips & Tricks
Waterproofing
12 Questions to Ask a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

Avoid Hiring the Wrong Waterproofing Company

Here are the most crucial questions you should ask a waterproofing company before hiring them.

Asking these questions can help you avoid heartache and confusion in the future.

Quick List

  • Do you offer free estimates?
  • How much do your waterproofing services cost?
  • Is there a simple fix for my basement?
  • Do your services require excavation?
  • Is there a warranty provided with your services?
  • How much experience do your employees have waterproofing basements?
  • What products do you use to solve basement issues?
  • Can you provide images of previous jobs you've completed?
  • Can you refer me over to past customers of yours?
  • Are you insured?
  • Are you licensed in my state?
  • Do you provide short or long term fixes?

Full List of Questions to Ask Waterproofing Companies

Do you offer free estimates?

Most basement waterproofing companies will provide free estimates, but it's always a good idea to ask just in case. Oftentimes they will advertise this on their website. In some cases, a small amount of work will need to be completed in order to find the root of an issue and to give an accurate estimate. In this case, you may end up having to spend a little bit to receive the completed estimate.

We recommend finding companies that do provide free estimates, as you can ask a couple different companies until you find one that you like and are comfortable hiring.

How much do your waterproofing services cost?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but even so, it's important to remember to ask how much the waterproofing services cost.

One thing to keep in mind is that the cheapest solution is not always the best solution. You may fix the problem in the short-term, but if the cheap solution was not meant to hold off the problem in the future, you could find yourself paying even more to fix it a second time.

Is there a simple fix for my basement?

You want to make sure that the contractor is not overcomplicating the issue at hand. Your water leakage issue might simply be happening because there are no gutters installed on your home. Installing the gutters and throwing a few dehumidifiers in the basement may fix the water leakage issue when it rains without the need to install a large drain tile system along with sump pumps.

This isn't always the case, but it is always a great question to ask rather than paying for work that isn't absolutely necessary.

Do your services require excavation?

Excavation refers to digging up construction in order to get to or install a product in your basement or foundation. Generally when excavation is required the cost will go up as bigger and stronger equipment is needed. Be sure to ask how much needs to be dug up and where that will be taking place (interior or exterior).

Is there a warranty provided with your services?

Many waterproofing companies offer warranty on the products they provide, and some provide it on labor as well. It is a good idea to ask your contractor how long the warranty lasts and what the limit is on the warranty. There can be a claim limit amount written into the fine print.

Warranties are great in case something goes wrong with one of the products installed in your basement. If something breaks or stops working, a warranty may be able to cover any additional costs to replace the broken or non-functional equipment.

How much experience do your employees have waterproofing basements?

Each and every basement is different. Having workers that have experienced many different types of homes and basements can come in handy when you run into unusual issues. For example, if a worker runs into pipes while digging into the concrete and has not experienced this before, it may cause unneeded complications.

An experienced crew, however, will know exactly what to do when the unusual arises.

What products do you use to solve basement issues?

Believe it or not, not all basement repair products and solutions are equal. For example, there are many different types of egress window solutions out there, and the dry-up baseboard is a nifty solution to small leakage problems that many waterproofing companies overlook.

Again, this is another case where it is crucial to find products that will not only be a quick fix to your wet basement but that will be there in 5, 10, 20 and more years down the road.

Can you provide images of previous jobs you've completed?

Asking for images of previous completed jobs can be a great way to prove the legitimacy of a business and can also give you an idea of the type of work that they provide. It may also provide insight as to how much they clean up after the project has been completed. It is smart to find a waterproofing contractor that will clean up afterwards.

Can you refer me over to past customers of yours?

Companies that have been around for over 30 years will have hundreds, if not thousands, of past customers that are now enjoying their dry basements all year around. Ask those customers how their experience was working with the basement waterproofing contractor, and find out if they would hire the same company again a second time around.

Are you insured?

You will want to avoid hiring contractors that are not insured. This is a necessity because you will run into major issues if the project does not go as planned. Lawsuits will happen, and it will not end up pretty, so make sure the company has proper liability insurance. Be sure to ask about what type of insurance the company has and what exact situations it would and wouldn't cover.

Are you licensed in my state?

Different states have different laws about licenses. Be sure to check that the company has a proper license to be doing the work they are performing. Most are required to have licenses once they reach a certain project amount threshold.

Do you provide short or long term fixes?

This question may be last on the list, but it could be the most important question you ask. If you are going to fix a basement problem, why not fix it right the first time?

We always like to tell our customers that our solutions are "realistic". We use proven and tested products and solutions, and we have the experience to fix just about any basement water issue. Whichever company you decide to hire, make sure they are going to stand by their product and word.

Tips & Tricks
Best Basement Waterproofing Contractors in Minnesota

Find a Waterproofing Contractor in Minnesota

Looking for a basement waterproofing contractor?

This is the ultimate list of some of the best waterproofing companies in all of Minnesota.

How Was the List Made?

We looked at the services offered by each company, Google reviews left by their customers, and the overall authority of each business on the internet.

This list is not in any particular order and is designed to help give you the easiest selection.

List of Waterproofing Companies in Minnesota

1. Basement Water Controlled

Location: St. Cloud, MN

Services: Drain tile, sump pump, dry-up baseboard, egress windows, foundation repair, buckling wall repair

Highlight: Family-owned, free estimates

Founded: 1967

  • We would be remiss if we didn't mention that we not only provide waterproofing solutions, but that they are known as legendary amongst our customers. We simply like to refer to our services as "realistic".

2. My Complete Basement

Location: Rochester, MN

Services: French drains, sump pump, egress windows, insulation

Highlight: Member of International Basement Systems network

Founded: 1975

  • Complete Basement Systems provides the expert basement waterproofing & crawl space your home needs. Free, No-Obligation Estimate today.

3. Drew Gardner Concrete & Waterproofing

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Services: Concrete repair, waterproofing

Highlight: American Concrete Institute

Founded: 1949

  • Wet basement and concrete repair. Minneapolis concrete, Minneapolis waterproofing

4. Standard Water Control Systems

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Services: Basement waterproofing, crawl space, egress windows, discharge systems

Highlight: Over 1.6 million feet of drain tile installed

Founded: 1977

  • Providing basement environment solutions to homeowners.

5. Dean Bjorkstrand

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Services: Waterproofing & drainage, landscaping

Highlight: Only crew on this list that specializes in landscaping

Founded: 1983

  • Makes sure your landscaping doesn't get ruined from ineffective drainage. They also provide gutter cleaning services.

6. Rite-Way Waterproofing

Location: Lino Lakes, MN

Services: Polydrain, wall crack injections, gutter management, radon mitigation

Highlight: Transferrable warranty

Founded: 1965

  • Looking for a reliable drain tile installation system company? Rite-Way Waterproofing in Lino Lakes can help with drain tile and an assortment of other waterproofing issues.

7. Great Lakes Waterproofing

Location: St. Paul, MN

Services: Crawl spaces, retaining walls, Stairwells

Highlight: Drain tile, sump pump, epoxy, sump pump

Founded: (Over 30 years ago)

  • Great Lakes provides waterproofing for homes and an assortment of other outdoor and non-basement related services.

8. Midwest Egress

Location: Bloomington, MN

Services: Egress windows, other waterproofing

Highlight: Egress experts

Founded: Unknown (contractor has 18+ years of experience)

  • Fast services for egress window installation in the Twin Cities. They do provide other waterproofing services but specialize in egress windows.


9. Affordable Egress Windows & Basement Waterproofing INC

Location: Medina, MN

Services: Egress windows, basement waterproofing, radon mitigation

Highlight: Lead-safe, free estimates

Founded: 2009

  • Locally and family owned company that specializes in egress windows. Insured and a member of BBB.

10. DBS

Location: Duluth, MN

Services: Foundation repair, crawl space repair, concrete lifting and leveling

Highlight: Free estimates

Founded: 2012

  • DBS handles all things "basementy", including installations, finishing, and repairs.

11. Waterproofing Northeast

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Services: Drain tile, sump pump, radon mitigation

Highlight: 45+ five star reviews on Google

Founded: Unknown

  • Full service solutions for wet basements with a written lifetime guarantee.

12. AAA Reick's

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Services: Foundation repair, waterproofing systems

Highlight: Large service area

Founded: (Over 30 years ago)

  • AAA Reick's Waterproofing solves wet basement and landscape drainage issues.

13. MCF Waterproofing

Location: Rochester, MN

Services: Basement waterproofing, mold removal, exterior waterproofing

Highlight: 10+ five star customer reviews

Founded: 1975

  • Waterproofing experts specializing in mold removal.

14. Northern States Basement Systems

Location: Duluth, MN

Services: Waterproofing, foundation repair, sump pump

Highlight: Financing available

Founded: 1991

  • Northern States Basement Systems is the basement waterproofing and crawl space repair expert in the Greater Duluth-Superior Area.
Tips & Tricks
Waterproofing
Foundation Repair
How Much Does Basement Waterproofing Cost?

One of the most common questions we get from customers is “How much is waterproofing my basement going to cost?”

Skip to section:

  1. Cost of basement waterproofing services
  2. Example prices for waterproofing
  3. Is basement waterproofing worth it?
  4. Get a waterproofing estimate

Since the answer depends so heavily on each unique basement waterproofing need, it is a hard question to answer. Nevertheless, we will try to spell it out for you in different examples so you have a better understanding of our services and the costs associated with basement waterproofing.

Average Cost for Basement Waterproofing

The average cost of basement waterproofing services is around $5,000, but this can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of basement, which waterproofing method you use, and the size of the basement being worked on. Take a look at the examples below.

Over the years, we have learned the importance of basement waterproofing estimates. To ensure we provide the best service and most accurate price, it is imperative that the situation is assessed by one of our professional estimators before our company begins work on your house.

Please note that the numbers below represent only a small sample of actual basement waterproofing costs. An estimate from us is the best way to know what the work will cost.

Baseboard System

Approximate cost: $1,500 - $6,000

Time to complete: 1-2 days

Drain Tile System

Approximate cost: $3,000 - $20,000

Time to complete: 2-4 days

Wall Correction

Approximate cost: $5,000 - $20,000

Time to complete: 1-3 days

Foundation Repair

Approximate cost: $1,800 – $30,000

Time to complete: 1-5 days

Sump Pump Installation

Approximate cost: $1,500 - $3,500

Time to complete: 1 day

Radon Removal

Approximate cost: $1,200 – $2,400

Time to complete: 1 day

Egress Windows

Approximate cost: $3,500 - $6,000

Time to complete: 1 day

Basement Waterproofing Example Prices

How much does basement waterproofing cost? Here are some examples of typical basement flood/leaky problems we encounter:

Basement Flooding Example #1

  • Type of Home: Residential rambler with walkout basement
  • Location: In an area of frequent flooding
  • Year Built: Late 1980’s
  • Notes: Has a foundation that is in sandy soil. Owner has been experiencing basement flooding that is destroying their drywall and leaking under their carpet.
  • Cost for Example #1: $10,000
  • Water was found to be leaking through the cinder block foundation wall, as high as waist level. Damaged drywall was removed as well as all carpet.
  • Waterproofing Method: Drain tile system
  • Time to complete: 3 days

Basement Flooding Example #2

  • Type of Home: Residential split-level
  • Location: In an established neighborhood
  • Year Built: Late 1990’s
  • Notes: No gutters installed on house.  Owner noticed a moldy smell as well as damp carpet around the parameter of the basement.
  • Cost for Example #1: $4,000
  • Water was found to be leaking through only the base of the cinder block foundation wall, likely from poor drainage of rain water off of the roof. Damaged carpet and floor trim was removed.
  • Waterproofing Method: Baseboard waterproofing method
  • Time to complete: 1 day

Is Basement Waterproofing Worth It for the Cost?

Basement waterproofing may come at an expense, but it is well worth the value. Fixing the leaky basement issues can save you from having to spend time on it in the future, prevent damage to your interior, and save you money from having to hire again in the future.

We hope this information is helpful to you as you consider the cost of waterproofing your basement.  Remember, to ensure the best service and most accurate price from Basement Water Controlled, it is imperative that your particular situation is assessed by one of our professional estimators before our company begins work on your house.

Tips & Tricks
Waterproofing
Foundation Repair
Keep Your Basement Dry All Year Around!

Keeping your home’s basement dry all year around is important to keeping your home and family safe and healthy. A dry basement is one sign of a healthy basement. Or rather, a wet basement may be a sign of an unhealthy basement.

Let’s take a dive into how to keep your basement dry and what might be the cause of wet basements.

Skip to section:

  1. Understanding Why Basements Become Wet
  2. A Formula for Keeping Your Basement Dry
  3. Consequences of Not Keeping Your Basement Dry

First, let’s look at why some basements don’t stay dry.

Understanding Why Basements Become Wet

Not all basements are the same. Not all houses are the same. Each house fights off water from coming into its basement differently. Some have more water wanting to get in, while others simply don’t have the defenses put up to be able to fight off an attack from the water.

Water can also enter in different forms. Water vapor is the gaseous state of water, and it is invisible to the naked eye until it turns into the liquid form. Regular household activities can contribute to water vapor in basements. Liquid water can enter the basement through a variety of different ways as well.

Here are some of the most common reasons basements become wet:

There are a few different reasons that water might leak through your wall. It could be a plumbing issue, or leaks in the pipes inside your walls. Another common cause of this is hydrostatic pressure that forces water up from the soil into your home through the basement floor and walls.

If your basement leaks when it rains, this may mean that there are cracks in the wall. This is an easy way for water to enter in, especially in walls that have larger cracks.

Having a leaking basement wall could mean there are a number of underlying issues. It’s best to figure out where the source of the water is coming from before making any decisions or repairs.

  • Cracks in the floor

If there are cracks in your basement floor, it could absolutely lead to water entering your basement. Depending on the reason and size of the crack, it may need to be fixed before your basement can become dry again.

A high water table under your basement may lead to water coming up through cracks in the floor.

Smaller sized cracks may not need fixing, but if there is dampness near the floor crack, it may mean that there is a leaking issue that needs to be taken care of.

Larger cracks in the basement floor could mean issues with the home’s foundation and should be looked at by a professional.

Just like water entering through your walls, the static pressure under your home can cause the water from the soil to rise up and enter through your floor.

  • Damp spots

If there seem to be “random” damp spots in your basement, but not necessarily standing water, there could be an assortment of issues. For one, it could simply be a moisture problem from your dryer or central air conditioner not flowing properly. It could also be ineffective grading, and the water then presses into your basement, seeping through tiny cracks.

The same could be happening, except from below. Water can seep through cracks from the floor and cause damp spots on the surface above.

  • Precipitation

Heavy precipitation can lead to a few problems for basements. Water tables can rise, and the soil surrounding the foundation can fill with water. When the water builds up, it has no where to go except up into the basement.

  • High water table

If your home is near a lake, pond, swamp, ditch, or simply in a low lying area, when the water rises to a certain level, it will have nowhere else to go but into your home. If you have lived at this home for a good while, you might actually know how high that water source can get before your home starts taking on water.

Really, the only solution to keeping your home dry in this environment is a proper drainage system. Your home is simply in a targeted spot where pools of water lie just beneath the ground, and wet seasons will cause water to rise to high levels.

  • Gutters, downspouts not shooting water far enough

When precipitation comes down onto your house, and there are no gutters or downspouts, the water slides down the sides of your roof and falls onto the ground right next to your house. Heavy rains can cause pools to form around your home’s foundation. When the pools become large enough, they can enter into your home.

A Formula For Keeping Your Basement Dry

As we looked at above, there are numerous ways water can enter into your home. To keep your basement dry no matter the season, there are lots of solutions. It simply depends on which issue you are facing.

  • Proper drainage system

The drainage system is what takes the water that wants to get into your home and carries it out and away, so it can’t get in. Below are some common pieces of the dry basement system that will keep moisture out of your home.

There are a few different drain tile systems, but the main idea is that the drain tile collects water that surrounds your house and channels it away from the foundation.

Water coming through the walls generally call for the smaller drain tile system, whereas floor leaking issues require the larger drain tile system to be installed.

The baseboard system works great for smaller leakage issues. It is installed along the walls of your basement and, again, channels water away from the basement, sometimes through a sump pump. Holes are also sometimes drilled into the cement blocks to allow the water to exit.

The sump pump is a piece of the drainage system that collects water into a basin, and discharges the water away from the home’s foundation. The sump pumps can sense when the water level gets high, and it automatically pushes it out through its discharge line into a designated drainage area.

  • Landscape slope

As mentioned earlier, if water enters through your basement’s walls, it may mean that there isn’t enough slope in your landscaping. The solution here would be to build up a higher slope so that the water can funnel downwards and away from the house, as opposed to downwards into the house.

The water has to go somewhere, and if the slope is pointed towards your house, unfortunately that’s where it will go.

If your gutters are clogged, not working properly, or non-existent, water can pile up next to your house and leak through. To keep your basement dry, make sure your gutters are clear of debris and not clogging up.

When the downspout clogs up, it will overflow and fall directly down, saturating the soil and damaging the foundations walls.

Be sure to check and clean your gutters and downspouts.

  • Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers can also be a solution to keeping your basement dry. If there is condensation in the basement, a dehumidifier may fix this. However, it is important to note that a dehumidifier may not be a long-term solution to your problem.

Consequences of Not Keeping Your Basement Dry

There are some consequences that can occur if you don’t keep your basement dry.

  • Mold

Mold can accumulate very easily in damp areas. This makes the push for keeping your basement dry all year around so important.

  • Ruined furniture

Standing water could also cause damage to any furniture and items you have in your basement.

  • Further damage to walls and floor

Damage can compound and get worse with time. Even if your basement had lasted this long, it may just be one more heavy rainfall until a catastrophe happens.

In fact, winter may be the best time to waterproof.

What Does A Dry Basement Mean?

A dry basement means that you can have peace knowing that your family, furniture, and house are safe from water damage. Your dry basement system will kick water out, and it will protect your house from being invaded in the future.

Have Professionals Take a Look to Keep Your Basement Dry

Basement Water Controlled

If you are concerned that your home may have a recurring basement waterproofing issue that is causing harm to you, your family, or your home, get in touch with us right away. Our team will send a trained professional out to analyze the situation and give an estimate on what it will cost to fix the problem.

Our team is made up of several seasoned waterproofing experts that have been in the business for 10+ years. We’ve seen just about every wet basement issue you can think of, and we’ve kept a lot of basements dry over the years.

When you call our office during regular business hours, a team member will answer and help you schedule an estimate with one of our estimators. He will then come out and take a look at your basement issue and provide guidance on where to go from there.

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Basement Waterproofing in the Winter

Can You Waterproof a Basement in the Winter?

Yes, basement waterproofing can be done in the winter, even in below freezing temperatures. Drainage systems can be installed in basements, and foundations can be repaired despite the cold outside. As an added bonus, winter is a great time to get waterproofing done because waterproofing companies generally don't have a backlog of work during this season.

Basements Can Leak in the Winter

Even in the winter, basements can leak. A frozen ground does not mean that water can’t enter your basement. Water can even come from sticky snow accumulation that sits and waits for temperatures to rise so it can melt.

Winter Can Cause Cracking

Basement Floor Cracks in Winter

The cold weather in the North can cause pressure in the soil beneath the basement. This can lead to new cracks in your basement floor and walls, and those cracks can lead to water entering from runoff or high water tables.

Prepare for the Spring Melting Season

Getting a handle on your basement in the winter may be a better solution than waiting until damage comes to your home in warmer seasons when the snow melts. Winter may be the best time!

When the ground unfreezes, the snow will melt, turning ice and snow into water. This brings with it the same effect as a heavy rainfall.

The ground surrounding your house will take on all of that water that has been building up for 4+ months, and it could expand into your home if the drainage system is insufficient.

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Mold Issues in the Winter

Damp or wet basements are breeding grounds for mold to arise. This can lead to unsafe living conditions and musty basements, even in the winter.

We Specialize in Winter Waterproofing

Our team of trained and experienced experts have a solution for just about any waterproofing issue, even in the cold winter months.

Quick Service Without the Backlog

Many people think that Winter is not the right time to do home repairs, however, it is actually one of the best. Hiring a professional crew in the Winter will bump you to the front of the line, which will allow your home to be serviced very quickly.

Professional work done and done as scheduled – a WOW job!

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Did the job on a timely scale.

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