Wet Basement - A Common Problem in the Spring
Monday, June 7th, 2010 by Thrasher
By nature, basements are imperfect concrete structures built in unstable or expansive soils of varying density and compaction.
For well over 100 years, troubled homeowners have battled the water trapped in soils surrounding their homes from leaking into basement levels through walls, floors and joints. Basement flooding is widespread, especially during rainy seasons or when snow and ice begin to melt. Living in the Midwest, where snow is prevalent in the winter, and the frost line (the point in the dirt where the soil does not freeze) is taken into consideration for foundation-depth, you will see this happening more often than you would be living on the coasts or southern states.
Another consideration when building a home foundation is if the water table is too near the ground's surface to build a water-tight basement. If there's damp clay soil that can push into basement walls, causing them to crack if not constructed correctly with an engineer's help. There may also be bedrock looming near the surface that requires digging through for a basement, making the whole home building process very expensive. In our 7-state Midwest region of the country, home builders must dig deep to make it below the frost line, and since they are already down in the dirt, they may as well put in a basement!
Homeowners in Omaha, Nebraska and surrounding metro cities experienced significant problems early this spring due to above-average snowfall. The prior year, the entire region fought unprecedented flooding caused by record-breaking snow levels in the north combined with unusually high temperatures early in the year. With increased snowmelt and rain, homes and businesses in the region experienced significant amounts of water leaking into their basements and lower-level structures. This is the world we currently live in - these are the issues we find ourselves facing as the seasons change. But what are the less apparent concerns that are not usually top of mind?
The damage in your basement caused by water is evident. However, there are many effects that you may or may not see as a result of a damp and wet basement. The "stack effect" creates airflow in your home from bottom to top. This air flows upward into your home's upper levels from the basement, bringing the humidity from the basement with it. The effects on your home can include:
- Dust Mites (the number one indoor allergen)
- Sticking doors and windows
- Smelly damp carpets
- Buckling hardwood floors
- Condensation/rotting/mold in your attic
- Frost or condensation and mold on the inside of windows in cool weather
- Increased cooling bills (damp air takes more energy to cool)
- Increased heating bills (humid air takes more energy to heat)
- Mold upstairs
- Decreased life of roof sheathing and shingles
- Reduced life of the paint on the outside of your house
- Aggravated asthma and allergies
Homebuyers expect a basement free from water or water damage. In fact, before purchasing a home, many buyers hire a home inspector trained to detect defects in the house, and most mortgage lenders require a clean inspection before approving a loan. Additionally, there may be state laws and regulations in place that require sellers to disclose any known potential problems or defects with their homes. It is a fact that fixing a wet basement is much cheaper than not improving the situation in the long run. Disclosing or uncovering problems with a damp basement could potentially prevent you from selling your home or precipitating an offer of up to 10% lower than your asking price. We can all agree 10% is a lot of money when evaluating the price of a home in today's real estate market. The good news is, some companies specialize in methods and technologies to fix wet basements and prevent water from being a problem with your foundation and the overall quality of your home's structure and environment.
Repairing your basement foundation is not a do-it-yourself project. It takes extensive work, specialized knowledge, and equipment. The first and most crucial step is diagnosing the problem and identifying the cause. A good basement waterproofing company will examine your basement and determine what type of leak you have, as well as recommend the best and most cost-efficient way to remedy the problem.
Here at Thrasher, we will not only look at the area of concern but spend time with you to explain what your options are and how we can maximize the protection of your entire home.
If you're having problems with water or moisture in your basement, don't wait. Contact Thrasher today for a free, no-obligation estimate. We'll send a Certified Waterproofing Specialist to your home to give you free in-home consultation at a time convenient with your schedule, to address the issue and get you well on the road to peace of mind.