A basement flood spells disaster for any homeowner. Unless you’ve tried to convert the storage space into a rec room or spare bedroom, you probably don’t go down to the basement often. Out of sight, out of mind applies to both basements and leaks. Minor to moderate leaks can go on for days or weeks before they’re noticed. If you want to prevent flooding, follow this advice but also keep checking. Vigilance is a big part of prevention.
1. Use interior waterproof sealant and coating
The most common basement flood is caused by water seeping through cracks in the home’s foundation. Fortunately, these cracks are very easy to seal. Many brands of sealant come with long warranties, and if applied correctly have a very long effective life. A skilled DIYer might be able to seal the most obvious cracks themselves. However, getting a repairman or contractor to come down to your basement and do it for you, is a better idea. To prevent flooding you have to get every crack, and small ones can be difficult to find.
In addition to sealing cracks, painting your concrete with a waterproof coating is a good way to cover your bases. You can prevent flooding by making it impossible for water to pass through the concrete itself. This remedy will also last several years at the minimum, but resealing the basement should be something that’s on your home improvement radar every few years.
2. Exterior waterproofing
Exterior waterproofing is very similar to interior waterproofing. Some homeowners choose to do only one or the other, but if you live in an area with common floods, you can’t be too careful. This is a major home improvement project, however.
First, excavate the area around your house. Once the exterior walls of the basement are clear, seal the outside in much the same way you can seal the interior. Next, apply sealant to cracks and then a waterproof coating to the concrete. Unlike interior waterproofing, a professional contractor should be called in. This is major work aiming to prevent flooding; it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Before returning the earth back to it’s original place, around your home’s walls, install a drainage system so that the water collecting around your basement’s exterior walls has somewhere to go.
3. Install a sump pump
Lastly, install a sump pump in your basement. This pump will collect the water that’s managed to get inside and move it elsewhere. It’s not a great front line of defense, but it’s better to have a pump if your basement is unlikely to ever become truly waterproof, whether due to age or the nature of the ground your house is built on.
To prevent flooding, follow this advice as closely as you can. These major home projects can be a little expensive to complete, but they pale in comparison to water-damage restoration costs. It’s cheaper to pay to seal your basement than to deal with mold infestations, wet rot in the insulation and walls, and other problems that come from leaving your basement defenseless.