Landscaper Advice: Dry Basement Solutions

Keeping your basement dry can be one of the most challenging parts of owning a home that has a basement; finished or not. If water makes its way into a basement, not only can belongings be damaged or ruined, the area can begin to smell musty and damp, mold can begin to grow, and ceilings and walls can begin to cave and crumble internally. All of these issues can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair.

Moisture can make its way into a basement from a number of places, for a number of reasons. The most commonplace and reason being seepage through the walls or ceiling from excess water in the yard, usually from severe rain or melted snow. Severe weather isn’t preventable, but the impact it has on your basement is. Here are some tips from professional landscapers on how to keep your basement dry all year round:

Install a French Drain

French drains are a timeless way to handle excess water in your yard and around your landscape. A French drain is a drainage system or a trench that is filled with rocks, gravel or a perforated pipe that will redirect unwanted water away from your home.

Steve Shulz, at Dry Basement Solutions, commented, “French drains are an incredibly effective way to drain water away from your home and to keep your basement dry. Many homes are built with inadequate protection against excess groundwater; therefore, when there is in fact extra water on the ground, it doesn’t have a place to go other than into basement walls and the ceiling.”

Installing a French drain is a practical investment when trying to keep your basement dry. Equipped to handle ample amounts of melted snow and rainwater, French drains will work all year round venting water or allowing it to seep into the gravel and rock.

The cost of a French drain varies per landscaper and size of the landscape; however, most French drains cost between $750-$1500; an investment worth making because one initial fee will outweigh the thousands of dollars that will have to be used in order to repair your basement after it is too late and moisture has made its way inside.

Use a Sump Pump

Sump pumps, like French drains, are a great investment to keep your basement dry for years after the initial installation. Sump pumps are installed to pump water out of the sump pit and away from your home. Water will make its way into the sump pit by drain or through natural migration through the ground.

Lasting for an average of ten years, sump pumps are best for homes that have a water table above the foundation of a home. Sump pumps will send water away from the home and will take it to a municipal drain or a dry well.

Professionals skilled at installing sump pumps recommend checking your sump pump every four months to make sure it is running properly in order to prevent basement flooding or basement moisture.

When installing a sump pump, it’s important to remember to increase the distance between the pump and wastewater area. Using a freeze-resistant hose, increase the distance to at least 20 feet away from your home to ensure no water makes its way into the basement.

It is also important to make sure your sump pump doesn’t freeze in extremely cold temperatures. A frozen sump pump will cause leaks and will prevent the sump pump from doing its job.

Waterproof Your Basement

Best for basements that are in the process of being finished, basement waterproofing can prevent or fix any moisture-related issues. This process can cost anywhere from $600 to $10,000. Though this is more of an indoor task to keep your basement dry, rather than a landscape-oriented one, waterproofing areas in your basement will work towards keeping what belongs outdoors out. Waterproofing walls and floors will guarantee your basement stays dry no matter the weather or time of year:

Waterproof Walls

Make sure to check for cracks in the walls before you begin the waterproofing process. If there are in fact cracks, apply a coat of hydraulic cement, which will expand to stop water from leaking in.

Next, apply a coat of cement-based sealant to exterior walls along with a waterproof membrane. A thick coat of waterproof membrane will seal the foundation against outside water. Elastomeric membranes are a great tool for waterproofing basements because the modified asphalt possesses many waterproof characteristics.

Install a drainage mat. This mat is used if a French drain or other sort of drainage system is put in place. The purpose of this mat is to create a gap between the wall and itself in order to allow moisture to drain to the manmade structure.

Make sure you have a proper installation in your basement. Though installation is not going to protect against water damage, if the installation is damaged or weak, water will have a better chance of seeping into the walls.

Waterproof Floor

Waterproofing your floor can be slightly more challenging because of the lack of options, however, creating a waterproof floor is important to keep your basement dry. Two of the best options to create a waterproof floor are epoxy paint and sealed concrete. According to professional landscapers, both dry into a thick layer that prevents any water seeping from the ground up.

These flooring options can also go underneath other floor coverings or can be exposed as-is.

Keep Your Basement Dry

With the various options to keep moisture out of your home, there is no reason your basement shouldn't be dry all year round. Insufficient or poor waterproofing can create damages that will be costly and stressful to repair. Installing various drainage systems of waterproofing for your basements are all well worth investments. Be proactive with your basement and take action to keep water and moisture outside before it’s too late.

This article was written by Jennifer Bell, a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beach-goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.