At some point during your tenure as a homeowner, your basement is probably going to leak. Missouri is known, after all, for its variable weather – one heavy rain may be all it takes for seepage to appear. Unfortunately, this isn’t a harmless problem. Water seepage can cause all sorts of problems in your basement, threatening your health, the health of your home, and your bank account.
The good news is that you can work to prevent your basement from leaking. The different waterproofing solutions your local contractors make available to you will help you keep your belongings safe from Missouri’s heavier rains.
How Does Water Get Into Your Basement?
How, though, does water get into your basement in the first place?
Your basement, no matter how secure, has a couple of weak points that water can take advantage of. These include:
- Window wells – If you have gutter windows, then water will gather in the wells after it rains, no matter how light or heavy the storm was. If you haven’t sealed your windows appropriately, water will be able to make its way into your basement without a problem. You’ll also need to make an effort to clean your wells out. Undamaged and well-sealed windows will still let water in if it’s been pressing up against them for a while.
- Leaks – Naturally, basement leaks will let not just water but pests into your basement. These leaks often form when the soil around your home overfills with water. The pressure from the soil and water will demand that your home settle differently than it normally does. That unnatural settling can then result in cracks – and leaks.
- Foundation cracks – What’s the difference between a leak in your wall and a leak in your foundation? You’ll usually be able to spot a leak in your wall right away. Foundation leaks, comparatively, are much harder to keep track of. If your foundation is leaking, you’ll frequently find water or dampness in your basement, no matter how well you clean or what waterproofing solutions you employ. Homes with cracked foundations need to have those cracks treated before they can be adequately waterproofed.
What Happens If You Don’t Treat Your Leaks?
Your leaks will vary in severity. If you only have a minor leak, do you really have to spend the money to fix it?
You don’t, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Untreated leaks can wreak havoc on your home. The more dampness there is in your basement, the more likely it is that mold particles will breed and begin to threaten your health. Exposing your foundation to water from all sides, too, puts the structural integrity of your home at risk.
So no, you don’t always have to fix a leak in your basement. Leaving a leak be, though, may turn out to be more expensive than fixing it in the long run.
How Can You Waterproof Your Home?
You can prevent water seepage in your basement by taking steps to waterproof your home. While it’s often easier to waterproof a new home, you can talk with a local contractor about the waterproofing solutions available to use in older homes.
Some of these solutions include:
- Sump pumps – If your leakage stems from external pressure, you’ll want to install a sump pump. This pump and its affiliated sump pit collect the water that would otherwise fill up your basement. Once the pit’s filled, the system will pump the water out of the basement through discharge lines.
- French drains – French drains are a cousin to sump pumps. Unlike sump pumps, though, these drains don’t come equipped with pits. Instead, drains will immediately channel the water away. Interior drains installed in the basement’s subfloor will direct water to the sump pump, and exterior drains take water away from your home and into your lawn or surrounding drainage ditch.
- Dehumidifiers – If you have a minor leak on your hands and want to pre-empt worse leakage, you’ll want to install a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers draw excess moisture out of the air and store it in bins. You can then empty these bins manually onto flower beds or into a ditch. Some self-draining units also can be directed to drain into your interior perimeter drainage or sump pump systems. Dehumidifiers also are essential in curbing high moisture and humidity in your basement, as well as improving the overall air quality throughout your home.
- Temporary sealants – Temporary sealants are, as you might guess, temporary waterproofing solutions designed to create a hydrophobic barrier between your home and landscaping. You’ll need to renew these barriers every one to two years for them to continue working. These are in no way permanent solutions that will address what’s really causing your basement problems.
- Vapor barriers – Vapor barriers are excellent, temporary waterproofing solutions for Missouri crawl spaces. These large, plastic-like sheets won’t even let gas into your crawl space, meaning that water, be it gaseous or liquid, won’t be able to reach your belongings.
Dealing with water seepage is all a part of owning a home. Don’t let the water get the best of you, though. If you find signs of water seepage in your basement, reach out to a local contractor to determine which waterproofing solutions will serve you best.