Does your basement have a musty smell? Have you noticed water stains or moisture in your Virginia basement? Homeowners need to tackle these problems before finishing a basement. And if water problems show up in your finished basement area, quick, decisive action limits damages and expenses.
Follow these top five tips on keeping your basement dry.
Tip # 1 – Check Your Grading
Many basement water problems stem from grading issues. Rain water and melted snow should run away from the foundation, otherwise this water will find a way into your basement and wreak havoc. Take a walk around your home and look closely at the landscape around the foundation. Does it slope inward? Is it flat?
A proper slope grades away from the house at a gentle angle and can often be supplemented with gravel or other aggregates the improve drainage. Make sure that driveways and patios are installed on a slight slope as well, directing water away from the house.
Tip # 2 – Consider Sealing the Concrete
Ideally done in the preliminary stages of a Virginia basement renovation, applying concrete sealer is a simple process. Most quality products are affordable and go on like a paint. Sealers do not stand up to water pressure, but will keep away moisture and condensation that naturally seeps through porous concrete.
Some products are installed on the outer wall of a concrete foundation. If this makes more sense than ripping down existing walls to apply a concrete sealer indoors, opt for a rubber membrane that will cover the cracks and deterioration found in most foundations.
Tip # 3 – Install Longer Drainpipes
Improperly sized drainpipes or inadequate gutters often result in water in the basement, especially when combined with poor grading. Check that your downspouts extend at least 10 feet from the foundation, sloping downward and into a swale or drywell.
If you do not have gutters, consider installing a drainage system for surface water coming off the roof. Use a plastic liner buried a few inches into the ground, covered in gravel and extending at least 8 feet from the foundation.
Some homeowners opt to install rain barrels at the end of their drainpipes. Be sure that these barrels are emptied on a regular basis, to prevent overflow.
Tip # 4 – Repair and Seal Windows
Windows present an easy entrance for water. Inspect the sill and frame for cracks and gaps. Often a high quality caulking can repair these issues, but you may want to have your Virginia contractor install new windows. This project can also improve energy efficiency and create a more comfortable basement living area.
If the windows are aged, cracked or warped, replacement is the best option. Repairs with sealants should work for windows in decent shape, and help you to avoid potential basement water problems.
Tip # 5 – Invest in a Dehumidifier
As much as you do to prevent water from entering your basement, it will inevitably find a way in. Invest in a reliable dehumidifier to reduce moisture and lessen the chance of mold and mildew growth. You may only use this equipment during hot weather or when you detect a musty odor, but it acts as an indispensable tool against water damage in your Virginia basement.