The potential for water damage to homes from the exterior and interior rains during spring and last winter’s melting snowfalls present two distinct downsides.
Water can seep or gush in and cause foundation cracks and wall cave-ins. This damage may occur year-round but is more common in spring, when there may be excessive water.
It is possible to prevent water damage by installing large gutters and downspouts or even having them move away from your home.
Although it is not as exciting as renovating a kitchen or bathroom, having infrastructure work done sets the stage for future improvements. This allows homeowners to live in their homes without worrying about water intrusion.
Christopher McLaughlin, the divisional sales manager at Groundworks. Based in Virginia Beach, Va., outlines seven crucial steps his company recommends to protect foundations and waterproof basements.
A specialist should conduct an inspection
McLaughlin states that home inspectors are good at assessing a house overall. They may not be as skilled in identifying problems, such as cracks in the basement foundation walls, but they are more adept at finding them. It is then that it is a good idea to hire a foundation or water specialist to give a recommendation and perform the work. A homeowner might find the problem like a snowball falling down a mountain. He says, “It grows bigger and larger until it’s fixed.”
Add a sump pump
Groundwater may enter basements that are below grade. McLaughlin states that hydrostatic pressure, which is what any fluid can exert in a small space, can cause water to push against foundation walls and damage them, McLaughlin explains. A sump pump system removes the water from your home and transports it away. Several pumps may be required depending on the size and location of the basement. McLaughlin states that one pump is required for every 100 feet. McLaughlin says that homeowners should also consider investing in one that is continuously running. Some don’t.
It’s a smart idea for homeowners to have an expert replace the pump’s check valve every year. This ensures that water doesn’t return to the point of exit and removes sediment from the pump, keeping water flowing smoothly. In an emergency, a backup generator is recommended for the pump and the house. An expert in foundation and water issues can inspect the house’s structure and recommend the horsepower that the pump should have.
Clean gutters and downspouts
Water can become obstructed by leaves and other debris if it is clogged up. Most homeowners should do gutter and downspout cleaning at least twice per year. This is after leaves have fallen in winter and spring snow has stopped. Experts can tell you if your gutters or downspouts have enough width and are draining water far enough away from your home. Ideally, at least 15 feet. This will prevent water from pooling around the foundation, which can cause serious damage. Some downspouts measure as high as 6 inches. Others are only 2 to 3 inches.
Flood Sensors and Vents are installed
Flood vents are for homeowners who have a crawlspace and live in an high-risk flood area. A flood vent is a way for water to flow into the crawl space, rather than being forced in. This can potentially cause damage to the foundation, and it can be swapped by an expert. Flood sensors are alarms that notify homeowners when water is leaking from a basement or crawl space.
Learn about the signs of water damage
A foundation problem could be visible on its exterior or interior. Water that seeps in from outside the home should be noticed by homeowners. Owners should also be concerned about efflorescence. This is a form of crystal salt deposits that forms when water remains for too long. Cracks in basement walls could also be a sign of weakened support systems due to moisture in floor joists and piers. A water problem may be indicated by a bowed wall that should be addressed immediately.
It is not a good idea to paint walls with waterproofing solutions. This will only make the problem worse and more costly to fix. They need to have a drainage system in place, such as drainage tiles or a sump pump.
Raise Utilities and Storage Above Ground
In case of flooding, basements with furnaces or other HVAC equipment should be raised from the ground. This is true for basement storage boxes that contain files, memorabilia, and out-of-season clothing. McLaughlin stresses homeowners that hardwood or carpet flooring should not be used in basements as moisture can easily cause damage. Luxury vinyl tile planks are a better option.
Sloping: Adjust as Required
Sloping land can lead to water flowing towards a property rather than away. A gravel bed can filter the water or slow it down. The French drain can redirect the water away from the foundation.
Although spring flooding is inevitable in many cases, homeowners don’t need to worry about it. To avoid costly and time-consuming damages, we recommend homeowners take all or some of these steps before they move in.