It’s summertime and the living is easy or so the song goes. What about your basement? Is it the cool, comfortable oasis you would like to enjoy or the dank, humid place of your nightmares? Summer is a good season to judge the soundness of your basement and the foundation of your home.
Because your basement is below ground it is naturally cooler than the rest of your home. It can provide you a restful place to retreat in the stifling heat of the summer months. If, however, as you descend the stairs you see or smell evidence of dampness you could be foreseeing complications in your home’s future.
What you are seeing or smelling could be simply the result of condensation – it is natural for the combination of high temperatures outdoors and the coolness of your basement to create the ideal mixture for dampness. The solutions are to reduce the possibility that the warm outdoor air is getting into your basement by keeping windows and doors closed or to handle the excess moisture with a de-humidifier. You need to be sure of the problem before applying a solution. Is it condensation or is it a problem with the foundation? The answer might come with a major rain storm or rising waters from spring run-off.
So, what’s a little dampness in the basement? Aren’t all basements a little damp? What can it harm? Well, it can have a major impact on your home and its contents. It can also have a major impact on your family’s health. Water or dampness can damage your furniture, drywall, carpeting and fixtures. Anything you store in the basement can become drenched and ruined. And that musty smell – that can be a sign of mildew or mold. Mold has a serious effect on the respiratory health of your body. You need to identify the problem and handle it quickly.
You, as a homeowner, should conduct a visual inspection of your home’s foundation annually. Summer gives you the ideal time to examine your foundation carefully inside and out. You should take time to check that your foundation has the protection you need to provide you and your family with a dry, comfortable retreat year round. Better yet, get experts to give you the assurance that the foundation is sound. If you have cracks, faulty windows or window wells, drainage problems or other issues that are affecting the water-tight ideal for your basement, it is the time to get it fixed. City Wide Group has more than five decades of experience in inspecting and waterproofing basements in the Toronto area.
Interior evidence that you might have a problem includes some obvious signs like puddles of water on the basement floor or drips, cracks in the foundation or at the joints, door frames or jambs that don’t quite meet anymore. Your flooring may be warped or wallpaper bubbling. If you have an unfinished basement you might even see a white, chalky substance on the walls called efflorescence. You might also have that heavy, dank odor that is caused by excessive moisture in the air. Exterior evidence of potential problems includes damp, spongy soil next to your home’s foundation, damaged drainage tiles, window wells that have failed, or flaking cement cladding on the foundation. Even the location of your home at the bottom of a slope or in a low-level of the neighbourhood may result in you having extra cause for concern.
So, what are the possible solutions? You can take some steps to avoid water problems by keeping excess water away from your home’s foundation. Make sure you have good drainage to draw water away from your home, have a good eaves troughs system and keep it clear of leaves and debris, and cover your window wells. These are proactive steps that are easy to do.
If it’s too late for these measures and you have already got a water problem in your basement, you should call on the experts in basement waterproofing to come out to your home. City Wide Group representatives will identify the problem, draw up a plan and provide you with an estimate to have the work done.
There are several possibilities for the kind of proactive waterproofing projects you should consider for your home. Invest in a good drainage system to draw water away from your property. Make sure you have good eavestroughs and gutters on your roof. Check if you need a sump pump to ensure the water is being drawn up and away from your foundation. If you need more extensive work you have a couple of important options to bear in mind.
Exterior foundation waterproofing involves digging a trough around the foundation of your home, carrying out further investigations of where the water is entering, repairing the cracks or faults, replacing weeping tiles, and then applying a rubber membrane to the outer walls of your foundation. Once it’s all done, the soil is backfilled and compacted, and graded away from the property.
Interior foundation waterproofing is less expensive to carry out. The floor of your foundation is broken along the edges to allow for a trench for a new weeping tile system, a drainage membrane is installed, filled with gravel and then the trench is covered with a new layer of concrete to match your existing foundation.
Either waterproofing decision is best carried out when your foundation is easiest to access. The summer is a time for easy living but not if you are worried your basement is damp already and could not handle a major storm. If you want to renovate your home’s basement to expand your living space, you should make sure that you are not allowing those costs to go down the drain! Finished or not, having a solid foundation adds value to your home should you decide to sell. It’s reassuring to new buyers that they won’t experience water damage in the basement or unhealthy mold issues. Using City Wide Group’s expertise provides you a lifetime warranty that is completely transferable to future buyers of your home. We have the years of experience you can rely upon and we have the awards and testimonials to prove it. Call us for your free estimate and find out how we can help you protect your home and its value.