There are plenty of good reasons to take on regular maintenance tasks in and around your home. Repairing small problems prevents them from turning into bigger problems. Staying on top of maintenance helps your home function better and maintains a healthier living environment. Regular care makes your home and property look better.
Another reason for keeping your home well maintained is to prevent common basement seepage problems that can become serious if left unchecked. There are a lot of places on the average home where water can make its way in, many of which the average homeowner might never think about. In previous articles, we’ve discussed some of the more obvious ones, like keeping gutters clean and extending downspouts away from the foundation but there are a number of others not quite so obvious.
What Home Maintenance Projects will help Prevent Basement Water Problems?
Caulking is King – Even though we’ve said several times that caulk is not intended for use as a basement waterproofing material, it’s a pretty great substance for keeping out water in other parts of the house. Applying a good quality, waterproof, paintable caulk to any exterior spots where there are gaps or deteriorating caulk will prevent water from entering and save on energy costs as well. This will include:
Windows, especially in nail or screw holes and where window trim meets siding;
Doors, around exterior molding and below sill; and,
Siding, including butt joints, nails holes and cracks.
Tuck Pointing Masonry Walls – If your house is built or clad with brick or stone, one of the main sources of water infiltration is through damaged mortar joints. In tuck pointing, or repointing as it is sometimes called, damaged mortar is removed from joints between masonry units and replaced with fresh mortar that is tooled to promote water run-off. Tuck pointing can also be done on brick chimneys regardless of how the rest of the house is constructed. Tuck pointing is generally not a do-it-yourself job but is best handled by an experienced professional.
Sealing Porous Masonry – Old-fashioned clay brick, split-face masonry block and some other masonry units commonly used in home construction are more likely to absorb water than other types, like cement blocks (CMU) and concrete bricks. These absorbent masonry materials should be regularly sealed with a clear masonry sealer that can be applied easily with a brush or sprayer. This will prevent water from wicking through the masonry into the basement or above-ground construction.
Landscaping Carefully – Attractive landscaping can help beautify any home but if maintained improperly can cause water to accumulate and eventually infiltrate the foundation. Be careful when grading planting beds next to the house so that rain water is not forced to run back toward the foundation. Don’t pile up absorbent materials like mulch, chips or peat moss next to the foundation and don’t over–water the plants because whatever doesn’t get absorbed by the roots will end up sitting next to the foundation and will find its way into the basement.
With the exception of tuck pointing, none of these projects is difficult and can be handled by the homeowner. (Although a more involved process, tuck pointing, when done properly, should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most homeowners.) What is true of each of these, however, is that they will contribute greatly to keeping water out of your basement and out of your home entirely.
If you need help in figuring out what you can do to prevent water infiltration into your home, ask a basement waterproofing professional. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have solved water seepage problems for more than 300,000 homeowners since our founding in 1957 and we offer free advice on maintaining a watertight home and a dry basement. Just ask.