Nearly 42% of standalone houses in the U.S. have either full or partial basements. These areas are quite popular among homeowners and can add value to your home. However, they are vulnerable to moisture. Let’s delve into the world of basements and what you can do to protect yours.
What Is a Basement?
A basement is a part of a building that is partially or fully below the ground. Most homeowners use it as a utility space for the breaker panel, fuse box, boiler, and air conditioning.
The below-ground nature of basements makes them prone to dampness and musty air, which creates the perfect breeding ground for pests and allergens. Thanks to advancements in waterproofing, homeowners can now use basements for more than just storage.
Basements allow homeowners to maximize the square footage of the main living area. This is particularly helpful for large families. It makes a home that much more attractive to potential buyers when listed on the market. Other advantages of basements include cooler rooms during the summer and safe space during extreme weather.
Aside from water damage, basements that are hardly used don’t offer much use except as a utility space. Homeowners, especially those with mobility issues, end up paying for unused space.
Types of Basement Construction
Since water leaks and moisture are a major concern for homeowners, having basic knowledge of the types of basement construction is helpful. Here is what you need to know.
This is a very common type of basement construction, preferred for its simplicity and sturdiness. It starts with pouring footing for the foundation. Forms hold the walls in place to ensure they dry properly, resulting in a strong structure.
When water leaks into poured concrete walls, it’s usually along the joints between the floors and walls. Cracks may also develop in the walls, allowing water to seep into the basement over time.
Some builders opt to save time and money with precast panels. They are foundation walls cast somewhere else and shipped to the building site for installation.
They are made from high-strength, low-water concrete mix. This makes them extremely resistant to water damage in the long run.
Concrete blocks and masonry also are extremely popular, as they are the most affordable option for basement constructions. They take less time to construct than poured concrete basements, and the walls are reinforced with steel rebar.
Concrete blocks are more susceptible to water leaks, which occur along floor and wall joints. Water may also seep through the mortar that holds the blocks together. These blocks can hold water long after it seeps in, even after the surrounding soil dries.
Stone or Clay Tile Walls
The foundation walls in some historic homes are made from stone or clay tiles. While generally strong, these materials are rudimentary.
They are highly susceptible to water seepage, especially stone walls that have a lot of cracks and openings. If your home has a stone or clay tile basement, you need an interior drain system to address excessive seepage.
Basement Drainage Considerations
You must protect your basement from water damage. That said, here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to addressing basement drainage and waterproofing.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Every basement is different and requires an approach that’s just as unique. There is no one cookie-cutter solution to every water problem. Sometimes, an interior system is all you need, and other times, both interior and exterior systems are paramount.
Deal with Humidity Issues
While most moisture damage is associated with water in liquid form, excess humidity and condensation can be just as dangerous. Consider installing a dehumidifier to supplement the drainage and waterproofing system.
Drainage Is a Must
It’s always a good idea to stop water from seeping into the basement in the first place. As such, you must deal with exterior drainage issues before the basement interior. The surrounding soil should grade away from the house.
Install gutters and ensure existing gutters and downspouts are in good condition. Ensure your garden’s irrigation system doesn’t add to the problem by pointing the sprinklers away from the foundation.
Waterproofing Your Basement
When the time comes to find a basement waterproofing expert in Missouri, contact Foundation Recovery Systems for a free waterproofing inspection and quote. We have been waterproofing homes and business premises for many years and we know what works best.