Benefits of Basement Waterproofing
Water in your basement can lead to a variety of problems, including:
- Structural Damage
- Mold and Mildew Growth
- Increased Energy Costs
- Cracks in the Foundation
- Structural Damage
- Mold and Mildew Growth
- Increased Energy Costs
- Cracks in the Foundation
- Un used space for Storage
- Ruined Finished Basements
Basement waterproofing is extremely beneficial to the home owner, especially those in the Lehigh Valley, Poconos, & all of the Eastern Pa & South Jersey areas where rain and snow can bring with them major water problems for the basement and foundation. And, these problems are becoming more prevalent in the North East and Mid-Atlantic regions as increasing rain and snow falls hit the areas each spring, winter and fall.
Basement waterproofing prevents or fixes these problems and can benefit the home owner in four major ways:
1. Waterproofing Increase Home Value
For most people, their home is their biggest investment. They take great pride in the home and the amount of money and work that they’ve put into it. Studies by realtors have shown that simply waterproofing your basement drives your home’s value up by 25% or more! This can be a significant amount of money earned on your investment and will far outweigh the initial costs of having the job done.
Those who choose not to waterproof can expect a serious drop in asking price when it comes time to sell.
2.Waterproofing Keeps Mold From Growing In Your Basement
Mold Spores are everywhere and they grow on any organic surface, given the right conditions. For Mold growth to happen, mold spores require organic material such as drywall, paper boxes or wood furniture for the mold spore to grow and colonize into mold.
Mold growth also requires moisture, warmth and oxygen. The one thing that a homeowner can control is the moisture. By eliminating moisture out of the equation by waterproofing and controlling relative humidity with proper dehumidification and ventilation, mold spores will not grow in your basement environment. Mold and mildew love to make themselves at home in your basement. If it is dark and has any signs of water or water damages, chances are it has mold and/or mildew. Sadly, many homeowners simply accept the mold and mildew as part of having a basement.
However, the truth is that both mold and mildew are very dangerous to your health! Mold, especially black mold, can be fatal. Children and pets are at higher risks to exposure. Mold spreads and reproduces with air-borne spores. These spores get into the air in the home and will make their way upstairs into the main air circulation of the home. You and your family then breathe in this air and the spores get into your lungs and respiratory system. Considering that mold has been linked to a variety of maladies including asthma, sinus infections and even cancer, it’s a wise move to make sure that mold is killed and kept out of the home.
Waterproofing your basement offers a permanent solution to mold and mildew. Unlike commercial cleaners that simply remove mold on a very short-term basis, waterproofing protects your home for good. This is because waterproofing removes water from the basement. And with proper dehumidification mold spores cannot grow and ruin great space that your family can use for either storage, play space or finished space. When water & moisture goes, so does mold because mold lives and grows on moisture. And, getting back to #1, homes with any signs of mold will sell for much less than those without.
3. Basement Waterproofing Increases Living Space
A wet, moldy, musty, stinky basement is no place to live. When you waterproof and make your basement dry and clean, it can then be used for more than just a place to dump your old boxes. Finished, dry basements can be converted into:
- Play room for the kids
- Home gym
- Entertainment room
- Home office
The possibilities are endless and you can literally transform your musty old basement into a fresh, dry brand-new floor in your home.
4. Waterproofing Protects Your Home’s Foundation
Whenever water gets into your basement, whether from snow or rain, it has the potential to weaken your foundation. Rain water is quite corrosive and acidic. When water travels thru soil that is acidic, the acidic water that sits inside a block wall foundation can literally “eat away” the concrete block walls and make them weaker over time. It all starts with general dampness at the lower walls. White powder starts to appear on the walls which is called efflorescence. This is the first sign that you have a moisture problem which can escalate rather quickly into foundation issues and of course water issues inside the basement. Water that gets inside the walls of your basement can ruin the entire foundation.
Waterproofing insures that water will not be able to permeate the walls and ruin your home’s foundation. This keeps the foundation strong and damage-free.
For poured concrete walls, cracks can appear over time which tells the homeowner that shifting has occurred and caused the wall to separate or crack. Cracks leaking or non-leaking, need to be fixed right away to prevent more foundation damage in the future.
When you are suffering from the following issues:
- Standing Water on Floor
- Wall Seepage
- Mold and/or Mildew
- Musty Odors
- Damp Spots on Walls
- White Chalky Substance on Walls
- Deterioration of Carpet or Wood
- Peeling Paint
- Cracked Basement Walls
- Rust on Appliances or Furniture
- Dry Rot Along Basement Walls
- Underground Window Well Leakage
- Stair/Entryway LeakageBowing or Bulging Walls
Why correct the problem?
- Increased Home Value
- Warmer dryer basement year round
- Increased living and recreation area
- A fresher, more attractive home
- A cleaner, healthier environment
- Peace of Mind
Basement Waterproofing may also help with the following issues:
Why fix your wet basement with Basement Waterproofing?
1. HEALTH AND WELL BEING: Wet basements can lead to mold and mildew problems that may have serious health concerns for you or your family.
2. DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME: Rotted wood, soaked insulation, deteriorated carpets and ruined appliances are all inevitable results of having wet basement problems.
3. TERMITES AND CARPENTER ANTS: These moisture loving insects find your basement leaks irresistible! Whether you have light basement flooding or a simple leak, the wetness creates the perfect environment and breeding grounds for these most unwelcome guests. Water bugs, centipedes and spiders also enjoy homes with basement water problems.
The truth is, most insect control services won’t even give you a guarantee on their services without repairing the problem first.
4. ELECTRICAL WIRING CONCERNS: Moisture and water inside your walls and insulation are perfect conductors of electrical currents. Moist electrical outlets and plugs can set up a real threat of electrical shock.
5. HOME VALUE: Studies have shown that a basement water problem can reduce the value of a home by 25% or more. The increased value resulting from waterproofing far outweighs the cost of process.
How does water get in my basement?
Why do basements get wet?
In order to prevent wet basements, it is important to understand where the water is coming from.
- Surface water running down foundation walls
- Groundwater in water-saturated soils being pushed into the basement by hydrostatic and/or lateral pressure
When homeowners experience wet basements for the first time, it is imperative to determine if the water problems are going to reoccur or if it was a one-time event. Essential to solving this question is determining where the water is coming from.
Controlling surface water
- If this is the first time for basement water problems, the first thing to check for is surface water draining down next to the foundations. Water coming in at one location and only at the exterior foundation wall are typical indications of surface water problems. Here are some things to look for:
- Keeping gutters clean of debris should be a part of every homeowner’s routine maintenance program. Depending on the surrounding trees, gutter cleaning may be required a few times a year. Products are available to prevent leaves from getting into the gutters.
- Are gutters overflowing because there are not enough downspouts on the house? If you don’t mind getting wet, you can do a self-check (your gutters must be cleaned out first). After at least 15 minutes of heavy rain, check your gutters. If you see any water overflowing, you have a problem. Any water over flowing out of the gutters is running down next to the house foundations. Even if the water is not getting into the basement, it could be causing unseen problems like eroding soil from under the house footings, which can lead to cracking of walls and ceilings. The easiest solutions to overflowing gutters are to either add another downspout on that run of gutter or to increase the size of the downspout. The best solution between these two is probably adding another downspout because the second downspout can act as a back-up if the other gets blocked. However, if you choose to replace the existing downspout with a larger one, make sure the contractor increases the size of the corresponding hole in the gutter. It doesn’t do much good to install a larger downspout if the gutter hole is left small.
- Do the downspouts extend at least 10 feet from the home? While many homeowners do not like downspouts extending out this far, 10 feet is the minimum distance needed to discharge water coming off your roof far enough away from the house. Be careful not to discharge downspouts too close to your neighbor’s property. Most towns and cities have ordinances that prevent downspouts from discharging too close to the property line and causing water problems for neighbors. Your local building safety or inspections department can provide you with the minimum distance.
- Do the downspouts drain into the footing tile system? It was common practice in the first half of the 20th century to have the downspouts draining into the footing tile system around the house. Vertical tiles were installed up from the footing tile system at each downspout location and the downspout was inserted into the open end of the tile. Sometimes the gaps around the down spout were mortared shut. Having the water from the roof drain down next to the footings can add to hydrostatic pressure problems, especially if the footing tile is leaking or blocked. This can occur over time due to soil movement or damage from tree roots. If the downspouts are draining into the footing tile system, the downspouts should be modified so they drain onto the ground and discharge at least 10 feet from the house. The vertical tile should be capped with a preformed cap or concrete.
- Are there any paved areas next to the house that slope toward the house? Sometimes paving settles over time and water flow can change direction towards the house. If this is the case, the paving should be removed and replaced so it slopes away from the home.
- At paved areas that abut the house, is there sealant in the joint at the pavement-house wall intersection, and if so, is it cracked? Sealant sometimes cracks over time due to age or incorrect installation. If the sealant is cracked, the cracked sealant must be removed and replaced with new.
- Is the ground around the home sloping away from the home at least 10 feet? Look for any depressions in the ground next to the home foundation walls. If any are found, fill in with dirt so the water drains away from the house. Use a clay-type soil that sheds water instead of sandy soil that allows water to soak into the ground. Make sure that at least eight inches is kept between the top of the earth and any wood or stucco on the house. If this cannot be done, the house may have been built too low and to correct it may be too expensive to be feasible.
- Are there any hills sloping down toward the house that may be the source of the water? If this is the case, a civil engineer may be required to analyze the situation and determine the appropriate solutions.
- Is there a lawn/shrub irrigation system discharging too much water next to the house? Avoid placing lawn irrigation next to the house. If this cannot be avoided, instruct the installer to limit the amount of water dispersed next to the house. Make sure the irrigation system includes a working rainstat so the system does not turn on when there has already been plenty of rain for the plants and lawn.
Controlling subsurface groundwater
If no surface water sources are found, then the source of the water is likely subsurface groundwater under hydrostatic pressure. Unfortunately, subsurface groundwater problems are more difficult and more expensive to fix than surface groundwater problems. When the groundwater levels outside the basement rises above the level of the floor, the basement acts like a boat in a pond. If a boat is sitting in water, water will leak in through any open cracks or holes. It works the same way with a basement. Hydrostatic pressure can push water through hairline cracks. Symptoms of this are water coming up through cracks in the basement concrete floor or water coming in at multiple locations. If you have an older house within town and the house has a basement with no sump pump, it is likely the perimeter foundation drain system connects directly into the city storm sewer system. If the level of the basement is below the street level, there is the potential of storm water backing up in the city storm sewer system and being pushed into the perimeter foundation drain system. This can saturate the soils around the house at the basement level with storm water under hydrostatic pressure, causing water to leak in. Another source of subsurface groundwater is an underground spring. No matter where it is coming from, the best way to control subsurface groundwater is to install some type of perimeter drain system to relieve hydrostatic pressure. The groundwater is pushed into the drain system and not into areas where it can damage carpets, walls or belongings. The water drains by gravity into a sump pit where a sump pump discharges it out of the house. There are two basic types of drain systems for wet basements. One is a perimeter above-slab gutter system installed at the base of the exterior foundation walls on top of the floor slab. It doubles as a base material for the wall. The other type of drainage system is a below slab perimeter drainage system. The below slab system requires the partial removal of the concrete floor slab and installation of drainage pipe making it more expensive than the base gutter system. It is believed that an under-floor drainage system is better because the under-floor drains are believed to relieve the hydrostatic pressure before the water reaches the bottom of the floor slab.