Why you need it and how to do it
Do we really understand the impact basements have on our home and our health? To most of us, they’re just another room. A den, maybe. A hangout place for the family. Or a dark, damp storage place for the boiler and washing machine. The truth is, a basement makes a big difference to the condition of a house – and its occupants.
A leak in your basement can cause a great deal of damage. It can even negatively affect the resale value of your house. That’s the financial aspect. What it can also do is lead to a build-up of mold and cause short-circuits (and possibly fires) by bringing water into contact with electric wires.
The danger of damp basements – mold.
Mold must be tackled as soon as it’s detected. It tends to flourish in damp or wet environments (in this case, basements) and there is greater risk in a finished basement – it gives mold the opportunity to grow undetected in carpets, on panels and behind drywall. Mold has long-term implications on health. Dry mold spores are airborne and so, they won’t be confined to just your basement. Some of the health issues mold can cause are: upper respiratory tract infections, fatigue, headaches, coughs, allergies, eye irritation and deteriorating asthma.
Does your basement have a leak? Here are the warning signs.
Ideally, you don’t want to wake up one fine morning and go down to your basement to find it flooded. Luckily, there are plenty of signs to watch out for so you can fix the problem before it occurs. They include:
- Insects that thrive in damp or wet environments – spiders, water bugs and termites among them.
- Peeling or cracked paint on the walls.
- Discoloration, stains or cracks on the floors and walls.
- General dampness on the floors, walls and carpets.
- Damaged drywall or panels and signs of dry rot
- A musty odor or the presence of mildew or mold.
If you detect the presence of any of the above, it’s time to waterproof your basement. But you don’t need to worry. There are plenty of professionals who’ll be able to help you.
If you hire a professional to get your basement waterproofed, they’ll start by identifying different kinds of leaks. These may be window, wall, chimney, rod or beam leaks; cracks; window wells; mortar joints and/or drain tile obstructions. A professional will also know how to look for mold. They will be aware of the different types and the impact on your health. They will also be able to protect you from exposure to mold and, most importantly, help you get rid of it.
To summarize, an efficient waterproofing professional will get rid of the water in your basement permanently. They will look for the presence of mold and eliminate it. They will examine the foundation of your home and secure it, if need be. And then they will work towards appreciating the value of your home.
It sounds expensive. But it isn’t.
Many of these repairs are surprisingly affordable – although the cost depends on the extent of the damage. (Yet another good reason to get your basement checked sooner rather than later.) Contact verified professionals in your neighborhood, get quotes from them after they assess the damage and choose the one that offers you the best value for your money.
There are also several measures you can take to protect your basement from harm. They include:
- Keeping your basement windows above ground level and ensuring they have waterproof seals.
- Making sure the soil around the foundation of your house channels water away from the walls.
- Diverting water from drainage systems away from your house.
- Ensuring any water that falls on the roof of your house drains away efficiently.
- Keeping the gutters clean.
- Keeping mulch beds, if you have them, as high as possible.
Most basement-related problems are different. So are the solutions.
That’s why something that worked for your neighbor may not work for you. Find a waterproofing contractor who will design a system specifically for your problem. Don’t be afraid to assess different professionals while they assess your basement before choosing the one that’s right for you.
With a little bit of research and basic preemptive action, basement-related problems will never be your problem.