5 Steps to Waterproof Your Basement

A wet basement often leads to structural damage. You may find that bugs move into wet drywall and wood. Mold can grow in carpet and behind finished walls, leading to serious illness among your family members. Keeping water out of your basement will protect your clan and protect your investment.

Add a Sump Pump

The first step in quality basement waterproofing is adding a sump pump if there is any chance of seepage from under your basement floor. Depending on where you live, do be aware that building codes can be quite strict in terms of the form of the sump pump you buy and the electrical outlet. If your home is older, you may need to bring in an electrician and may need an electrical upgrade to put in a GFI outlet. Sump pumps come with a stand that you can use to customize the height; measure the hole depth to make sure our stand will work. Finally, if you live in a region that is prone to rough weather and plumbing, make sure you have a battery backup.

Seal Everything

Seal the basement, inside and out. Professionals with 58 Foundations indicate that every leaky basement can benefit from a waterproof seal around the outside. Maintaining a waterproof basement may only require you to dig down past the sill plate. If your basement walls are dry but the basement is leaking around the windows, replacing those may be what you need.

Watch Your Landscaping and Drainage

If your house has grass right up to the foundation and slopes down from the house into the yard, make sure you don't put in a flower bed next to the foundation. Busting through that sod will invite run-off to soak down against your foundation wall. In addition to monitoring your landscaping, make sure you also have a spot for your sump pump to push water into the yard that won't direct the water right back against your foundation.

Clean and Patch

If your foundation is square and the walls aren't moving, you can clean and patch the concrete. Use protective gear for your lungs, skin and eyes, then brush away dirt and old paint. Clean the concrete with a scrub brush, warm water and dish soap. If there's a chance there's mold, use bleach at the ratio of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. Use fans; this concentration of bleach will be tough to breathe. Rinse with a clean brush and more water, then let the walls dry before patching the cracks.

Get Professional Help

If there are any cracks that are big enough that dirt is coming through, or if the walls are not true and straight, you will probably need to get them braced and have a waterproof layer of concrete poured between the braces. Depending on your region, you may be able to stabilize the walls with steel beams, or you may be able to get an anchoring company to come out and straighten the walls over time.