OK, so we’re the basement waterproofing experts. We make our living by keeping our customers’ basements dry and their homes healthy. The work we do, for the most part, can’t (or shouldn’t) be done by a homeowner because they just don’t have the skills, tools or materials to do it right.
However, there are many things that homeowners can do to keep water out of their basement that are really simple home maintenance projects. Who knows, if you do them regularly and do them well, you might never have to call us. We’ll miss you but we’ll be happy that you have a dry basement.
Here are 4 Things you can do to Prevent Basement Seepage Problems
Clean Your Gutters – Many basement water problems start on the roof. Just one inch of rain will dump 1000 - 1500 gallons of water on the roof of a typical home and all that water has to go somewhere. The rain gutters on your home are designed to collect that water and carry it to downspouts. If the gutters are clogged with leaves, pine needles or other debris, water will run right over the gutter and end up soaking into the ground next to your foundation. If there is any kind of opening – a crack, leaky window, cove joint – that water is going to end up in the basement.
Manage your Downspout Discharge – Even if your gutters are clean as a whistle, rain water may still be a problem if your downspouts are wrong. As I said, there’s a lot of water coming off your roof in a heavy rain and if the downspouts discharge right next to your house, it’s dumping water around your foundation that will end up in the basement. You can buy above-ground extensions for your downspouts at the hardware store that will carry the rain water away from your foundation but you may not like their appearance or long-term performance. If you want something more attractive and permanent, maybe you should call the basement waterproofing company after all and ask about underground downspout extensions.
Make Sure Your Sump Pump is Working – Your sump pump is a crucial weapon in the fight to keep your basement dry, so better make sure it’s working properly. Despite some overstated warranty claims, the average working life of a sump pump is 5 – 10 years. During periods of little or no rain, like the summer of 2012, a sump pump failure may go unnoticed for a long time. It’s a good idea to occasionally use a hose or a bucket to fill the sump basin enough to trip the switch on the sump pump. If it kicks on and empties the basin, you can be pretty sure it will work the next time it rains. If not, well, you know who to call.
Watch Your Grading and Landscaping – Every homeowner wants to beautify the outside of his or her home with landscaping but few realize that doing it improperly can increase the chances of basement seepage. Here are a few examples of yard drainage issues:
- Grading that slopes toward the foundation – This sounds like kind of a no-brainer but it happens more often than you’d think. Don’t let it happen to you.
- Planting trees close to the house – This may be OK when the trees are small but over time they will clog gutters with their leaves and extensive root systems may damage exterior drain tile and cause soil problems that can actually result in damage to your foundation.
- Oversized edging or berms around planting beds – These can act as dikes and hold water in close to the foundation, saturating the soil around it.
These tips are particularly important in this dry, hot summer because the current drought may be causing cracks and other openings in your foundation. Anything you can do to prevent water problems when the rains come will help a lot.
We’re always happy to see that our U.S. Waterproofing customers are taking good care of their homes and doing what they can to prevent water in their basement. Even the best-maintained homes will have water problems sometimes and if and when that happens to your home, why not ask for our free advice?