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What Is Exterior Basement Waterproofing and Why Do You Need It?

Nothing frustrates a homeowner quite like stepping into a puddle of water inside their home.

However, if you have a basement, you have most likely battled water at some point or another. You do not have to live in a damp area to see water in your basement.

Many people have found success with exterior basement waterproofing. Keep reading to learn more about why you need to waterproof your basement from the outside.

What Is Exterior Basement Waterproofing?

Exterior basement waterproofing consists of a few different methods that direct unwanted water away from your house.

When a deluge of rain falls, it runs off your roof and then to the nearest area. If you do not have rain gutters, it will run off the roof and straight into the ground next to your foundation.

The repeatedly soggy ground will expand and put pressure on your foundation. This foundation, in turn, will shift and crack. Then the groundwater will creep its way through the cracks and into your home.

Sometimes you do not even need a crack for the water to seep in. Concrete has a porous nature, to begin with. So if you’re living in an area with a high water table or if your community is experiencing a particularly wet year, your normally dry basement can take in water.

First Line of Defense: Gutters

If your home does not have gutters, start by installing them or having them installed. Gutters catch the water coming off your roof and then redirect it away from your home.

If you do have gutters, check them. Get on your roof or have a contractor climb up for you. Make sure the gutters are securely fastened and the water goes directly into them.

To test your gutters, run a garden hose up to your roof.

Run water off your roof, and have someone watch to see where the water goes. Does it run between the gutter and the house? If so, you need more secure gutters.

Your gutters should attach to downspouts. Those downspouts should direct water to a place at least four feet away from your home.

Second Line of Defense: Drainage Tubes

If gutters don’t cut the water problems, then you can look into drainage systems.

French drains and driveway drains are the two most popular methods of draining water in the least invasive way.

With a French drain, a contractor digs a shallow trench from your house to a spot away from your home. He lines the trench with porous landscaping fabric and gravel. Then he lays a perforated pipe in it with the pores pointed down.

After installing the pipe, he will wrap it in landscaping fabric and then cover it with either soil or landscaping materials. You need to make sure you can access this pipe in the future. It can get clogged, and that will cause other problems.

A driveway drain uses the slope of the driveway to direct water to a trench which then takes it further away from the house. You might notice driveway drains as you peruse other homes. They look like grates that run the width of the driveway.

Third Line of Defense: Drain Tile

Drain tile is the most invasive and expensive procedure, but it’s also the most effective.

You can solve constant water problems and even damaged foundation problems with drain tile.

The contractor will begin by digging a deep trench around your home to the foundation’s base. Most homeowners will not install their own drain tile because of the risk involved in digging a seven to the eight-foot trench. It often will require an engineer to make sure it does not collapse.

Contractors then install the drain tile at the base of the foundation. The tile looks like a flexible, perforated pipe covered with mesh or fabric.

Because of the depth of the digging, contractors will usually want to wait until the driest part of the year to do this digging. On a wet year, the groundwater can seep up and fill the trench. Then your contractor will spend his time pumping out water.

The contractor will also dig and install a sump pump pit. The drain tile will drain the groundwater away from your home and to the pit. The pump will then pump water right away from your home.

While the contractor has your foundation exposed, he can examine it and repair it. He will most likely use a mortar-based product and masonry seal to repair cracks. This will also prevent more water damage and keep your home upright.

Why Do I Need to Waterproof My Basement?

Water is a blessing and a curse. When we put it in the right places, it keeps plants green and humans hydrated. However, unwanted water in our living quarters quickly can become a health hazard.

In short, water can cause major problems in your basement.

Your health can erode along with your home’s foundation when water seeps into your basement. Mold will grow, causing breathing problems and other autoimmune responses.

Waterproofing your basement will do four things for you:

1. It will prevent further damage. If your home and foundation have already sustained damage, waterproofing your basement will stop it. If you have no damage, waterproofing your basement will prevent it.

2. It will add value to your home. When you sell your home, a savvy buyer will ask what you’ve done to waterproof your basement. You can mention drain tile, French drains, driveway drains, and everything else you’ve done.

This makes your home value skyrocket. People prefer to purchase homes that do not need more work.

Not only does waterproofing your basement increase your home’s resale value, but it also makes the home more valuable to you.

3. You can sleep at night. When the rain starts to fall, you do not need to panic, picturing your walls cracking and your basement filling with water. Waterproofing your basement earns you peace of mind.

Dig Deep, Stay Dry

The process of exterior basement waterproofing might sound extensive, expensive, and time-consuming. But it keeps your home safe and improves its value in the long haul.

For all of your waterproofing needs, contact us.

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