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Reinforce Basement Walls to Keep it Dry

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Studies show that over 70-percent of houses in the U.S. have mold damage or water problems in the basement!

The numbers in the Philadelphia region are probably a bit higher, especially in NJ and at the Jersey shore, where high tides, acidic rain water, and poor drainage often contribute to wet, mold basements.

And, even if your home is fairly new, you’re not safe. Improper backfilling and semi-organic building materials attract mold like a magnet. Waterproofing your basement is really the key to solving this problem.

  • Your basement can flood for a plethora of reasons from excess rain fall to to much clay in the soil around the home to shoddy construction. Many non experts recommend having a “drainage ditch” dug near the foundation. Many home owners simply listen and have the ditch put in…only to find the problem getting worse.

If this has happened to you, please do the following:

1. Have a professional basement contractor install a waterproofing system in your basement or foundation.

2. Get those drainage trenches removed asap!


What’s a drainage trench?

Drainage ditches are literally ditches that are built under the home to carry water away from your home’s foundation and basement. It’s become popular with contractors to install these trenches in new homes because of the frequently occurring basement water problems that are popping up in homes both new and old.

Drainage ditches for basement waterproofingThese drainage systems are dug around the perimeter of the foundation and aim to take the water away from the home and into a sump pump of sorts, thus reducing the pressure on the walls and floor of your basement. The problem is that the theory doesn’t hold up in the real world. In fact, it can lead to an even bigger mess! The water is never truly channeled away nd leads to a buildup around the home. The water mixes with clay soil, which has poor drainage, and it expands, putting a ton of pressure on the outer basement and foundation walls.

Foundation and basement walls typically are beams (vertical) that support a horizontal load (pressure, weight, etc) that increases the deeper you dig.

In order for this system to remain strong and in place, the foundation must have support at both ends. Drainage trenches can dump the water back into the places that the foundation needs the most support!

Typically, most trenches are usually 1 inch wide or more, it is pretty likely that the excessive movement caused by the water being drained will completely destroy (by the acidic nature of rain water and the friction caused by movement) the cinder block or cement walls. This can lead to very expensive results in the form of cracks, leaks, flooding and massive structural damages.

  • Once there is damage to the walls, big problems occur. Flooding, leaks, mold and mildew growth and even total failure of the foundation can occur fairly quickly.

Once you have the contractor remove the trenches, then a lot of the stress that your basement and foundation are under will disappear. The contractor will add the reinforcement beams that will give the walls and floor a ton of support. They dig and re-tamp the ground, remove a lot of the clay and this too relieves even more stress on your basement. As you can see, all of this combined leads to a much dryer basement.

Continue to protect your now-dry basement by having downspouts carry the water from the gutters far away from your home. Add a dehumidifier in your basement as well to suck up any excess moisture before mold can take root.

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