Wet Basement Blues
I’m not a fan of quick fixes. I think the best approach to fighting basement water is a many-pronged attack that includes solid waterproofing, dehumidification, sump pump installation and proper drainage. But there’s a simple quick fix that just might work if you have a wet basement.
How Water Gets into Your Basement
Water comes into your basement from outside. It doesn’t only come in when it’s raining. This water builds up outside your foundation in pools and in the soil. This water presses in against your foundation walls. It exerts what’s called hydrostatic pressure, and this pressure can be tremendous. Because the pressure is so strong, it pushes the water through tiny cracks in your foundation.
Know Your Enemy – Foundation Cracks
The key to keeping this water out is to find and seal these foundation cracks. No matter what kind of good shape your home is in, it’s bound to have these cracks. Cracks appear when your house settles or the soil shifts. It doesn’t take too long before they start appearing in a new home. Finding and sealing these cracks is an easy fix that, if you’re lucky, can solve your basement moisture problem.
Finding Foundation Cracks
If you carefully inspect your foundation walls, you may see these leaks. But they also might not be visible. You may have to look for warning signs instead. These warning signs include areas of running water or moisture, discoloration or stains, or areas that are warped in drywall or paneling. If you have a finished basement, you may have to rely on these signs or remove drywall and paneling to see the cracks.
You can also find crack by looking at your foundation outside. Remove mulch or vegetation until you find the top of your foundation.
The Easy Way to Fight Foundation Cracks
The easy way to fix cracks is through crack injection. There are many materials that can be used for this, such as epoxy or urethane, but the idea is the same no matter what material. It means injecting a crack with a material that goes all the way through to the soil. The material expands so that there is no space for water to travel.
Another method is to attack the cracks from outside. It’s not as easy as the internal method but not extremely difficult either. Clear the land around your foundation until the crack is fully exposed. This could involve some shoveling. Fill the crack with granular clay, which is impermeable. This method is tougher than crack injection but it is generally as effective, especially with big and persistent cracks.
Sealing up foundation cracks is a quick fix that can solve some basement moisture problems. However, there’s no guarantee that it will take care of everything. If sealing foundation cracks doesn’t do the trick, you may need more work like the installation of a drainage system in your basement.