There are two thoughts that pop into the head of the average homeowner when he or she discovers water in the basement:
“I have to move stuff before it gets ruined!”
“How much is this going to cost to fix?”
Moving furniture, carpets and other belongings away from seepage is a great idea so we’ll just wait while you do that…
OK, now that the rug is rolled up and the couch is safely up on blocks, let’s talk about that cost thing.
Believe it or not, a great number of wet basements can be fixed or prevented by taking a few simple and inexpensive steps. Of course, once the seepage has occurred you’ll have to clean up the water and repair or replace any damaged goods but, aside from that, it’s pretty easy and inexpensive to ensure that it won’t happen again.
Inexpensive Ways to Fix a Wet Basement
One of the most important and most often overlooked sources of wet basements is nowhere near the basement at all – it’s on the roof.
1. Clean Your Gutters — In most parts of the country with significant rainfall, homes are equipped with rain gutters. The purpose of the gutters, of course, is to capture the rain water that falls on the roof and convey it to downspouts. Were there no gutters, water would cascade off the edge of the roof and land on the soil right next to the house. The water would quickly soak into that soil, causing it to swell and the accompanying pressure, either below or alongside the foundation, would force water into the basement through any available opening.
When your gutters are clogged and water is prevented from entering them, they might as well not be there at all. Considering that a one-inch rainfall dumps 600 gallons of water per 1000 square feet on your roof, that’s a lot of water pouring down around the foundation.
2. Extend Your Downspouts – Even if your gutters are as clean as the proverbial whistle, they won’t do much good if the downspouts into which they empty are merely straight pipes that end a few inches above the ground at each corner of the house. In fact considering that the downspouts typically concentrate the water into four discharge spots, they can create a worse problem than clogged gutters by dumping one-quarter of all that rain water at each corner of the foundation.
Extending your downspouts with cheap products from the big box store won’t do much either, because they won’t get water past the 10-foot zone around the foundation that is particularly vulnerable, but they are also prone to falling off and malfunctioning. Only an underground extension that leads to a bubbler pot, drywell or drainage ditch will really do the job.
These extensions, installed by a professional, are surprisingly cost-effective and can prevent multiple times their cost in damage and aggravation.
3. Replace Your Sump Pump – A sump pump is the heart of any basement waterproofing system because, functioning properly, it will remove water from around the foundation and eject water that enters the basement from cracks or other sources. A perfect example of “out of sight, out of mind,” a sump pump only reminds of its presence when it breaks, so the smart homeowner will test the sump pump from time to time and replace it when shows signs of malfunction.
Depending on the size of the home and the requirements for the pump, a sump pump installed by a professional can be replaced at a reasonable cost, often only in the hundreds of dollars. Even sophisticated back-up sump pumps can be implemented at a surprisingly affordable price.
As for cleaning gutters, you’re pretty much on your own (or have it done by a handyman) but it’s a pretty easy job for most homeowners.
When it comes to downspout extensions and sump pumps, you’ll need the advice and services of a professional basement waterproofing contractor that understands both the role of exterior water management and the importance of a sump pump in keeping your basement dry. At U.S. Waterproofing, we been keeping basements dry with sump pumps, underground downspout extensions and other basement waterproofing techniques since 1957 and have more than 300,000 satisfied customers on our books. Why not ask for our free advice?
Want to know more about inexpensive ways to fix your wet basement? Please post your questions in the Comments box below.