Whether you use your basement as a living area, a storage area, or both – it’s important to note that your basement is more than just a basement; it’s your home’s foundation. Often, water issues in your basement create foundation issues to your entire home.
In addition to keeping your home structurally sound, here are 7 reasons to waterproof your basement and how to do it.
For more information on the cause of basement water damage, visit this blog post: 13 Reasons Your Basement is Leaking Water
Reasons to Waterproof Your Basement:
1. Eliminates Moisture
The more moisture you have in your basement, the more likely you will generate mold and mildew. The increased moisture in your basement also creates the ideal environment for mold to grow. Mold is another cause of health problems. It can cause throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, eye irritation and even skin irritation.
2. Protects Your Valuables
The most common storage area in any home is the basement. This will often include items that are very valuable or have significant importance to your family. But when water gets into your basement, it doesn’t really care how valuable your possessions are. Water spreads quickly and does damage just as fast.
3. Protects Foundation and Structural Integrity of Your Home
Do you see any cracks, spalling or acid damage in addition to the water damage? This could be a sign that you also have a foundation repair problem on your hands.
Spalling is when the concrete starts to chip. This can be caused by high pressure and water damage. While sometimes this is nothing more than an easy cosmetic fix, it can be a sign that you have a serious waterproofing issue that will lead to a foundation problem.
Acid damage is typically seen as a brown or rust colored stain on basement wall or floor. The stain is caused by water being pushed through the concrete foundation. The concrete acts like a filter and cleans the water as it passes through. This leaves behind those brown stains which are the minerals found in the ground water. Over time acid damage can weaken your basement foundation.
The increased humidity can also lead to wood rot on floor joists and any other exposed wood. As the wood rots it looses its strength and you may end up with sagging floors or even a collapsed basement ceiling.
4. Reduce Risk of Damage in the Event of Weather Events
Heavy rains and flash flooding are not uncommon here in Indiana. This spring we have already had several instances of heavy rain. Flash flooding, in particular, is the perfect recipe for basement water damage.
The large amount of water all at once has trouble draining properly into the ground and will quickly find any gaps or opportunities to make its way into your home.
This past winter is another example of weather causing water damage to basements. We set record low temperatures and record high accumulation of snow. The first thing that most people think about in terms of water damage is rain – but melting snow can present just as much – or more – danger.
With a frozen solid ground and 6″ of snow suddenly melting on one warmer day, the snow melt desperately seeks a place to drain. With a basement that is not properly waterproofed, the snow melt is happy to find its way inside your home.
5. Avoids Allergy and Asthma Problems
Dust mites thrive in high humidity living spaces with soft surfaces, like your living room couch or bed. And as you probably already know, dust mites are one of the leading causes of allergies and asthma problems.
If you have a basement water problem, that water has to go somewhere. As the water evaporates it rises through the rest of your home, increasing the indoor humidity. When that humidity level increases, you are attracting insects and pests that love damp, moist environments.
6. Reduce Energy Costs
The high humidity caused by your waterproofing problem doesn’t just effect your health, it can increase your electric bill.
As you’ve experienced in the humid summer months, it costs more to cool humid air. The same goes for heating humid air. That basement humidity could be costing you as much as 10-15% more on your electric bill.
7. Increases the Value of Your Home
If those aren’t reason enough to waterproof your basement then restoring your property value should be. Basement waterproofing problems could decrease your property value up to 20%.
A properly waterproofed basement can be finished, which can increase your property value and maximize your comfortable living space. It’s even cheaper to finish your basement then to add an addition to your home.
How to Waterproof Your Basement
The first step in waterproofing your basement is to identify the source of the leak. More than 90% of wet basements leak water from the walls and the joint where the floor and wall meet. But given the opportunity, water will find various ways to get into your home. In this diagram, we illustrate several different ways that water can penetrate your basement and create water damage:
Exterior Waterproofing Systems
Depending on the source of the problem, you may need an exterior waterproofing solution or an indoor waterproofing solution. For example, waterproofing a structure from the exterior is the only method the International Building Code recognizes as adequate to prevent structural damage caused by water intrusion. On the other hand, the water may be coming from a source that is only prevented through an interior waterproofing system.
In exterior waterproofing systems, you begin with excavating to the bottom sides of the footings. Once excavated, the walls are then sealed with a waterproofing membrane and new drainage (weeping tiles) are placed at the side of the footing.
Interior Waterproofing Systems & Sump Pumps
The idea for most interior basement waterproofing systems is to create a function for water to not enter your basement, but also a design to remove it, in case it does.
At the very least, every basement should have a properly functioning sump pump and back-up sump pump, regardless of whether you’ve opted to have an interior or exterior waterproofing system installed in your basement.
A sump pump is your first and most important line of defense. However, your sump pump can fail for various reasons from power failure to improper installation or product defects and anything in between. Additionally, large amounts of water drainage can be too much for a sump pump to handle and for these reasons, a properly installed waterproofing system from your local professional waterproofing company is important to have if you want to protect your basement, your foundation and your valuable possessions in your home.
Make Plans to Waterproof Your Basement
We’ve listed here 7 major reasons to look into a waterproofing system for your basement. You may even have your own reasons to add. Whether it’s eliminating moisture and mold or just protecting your home and its contents, there’s no good reason to put off waterproofing your basement until after it creates damage to your home.
Get a free inspection and estimate for waterproofing your basement.