Owning a home is a four-season affair. Each time of year has its benefits and responsibilities. You need to take care of your property all year round so you can enjoy it all year round.
One of the major headaches can be finding out your home is taking on water where it shouldn’t be. Usually that is the basement and it requires a regular plan of maintenance to ensure it is the solid, dry place your home needs.
Many people finish their basement to add living space, entertainment areas, offices, workrooms, or additional storage. Even if it isn’t finished, your basement houses important infrastructure items for your home. Your furnace, water tank, the laundry room are often on the lowest level of your property.
The basement masonry needs to be solid to provide adequate support and protection to your house. Once you start to have water, moisture or dampness in your foundations, you will start to have problems.
Let’s look at a seasonal checklist of issues:
As they saying goes, wait a few minutes and the weather will change – especially between winter and the onset of spring. One day you have snow drifts and the next it is pelting with rain and with it comes a lot of melting. Repeat. Maybe more than once. This can be a mixed blessing. You want the warmer weather, but it can create the conditions for water to travel including directly into your basement.
Water is a great traveller. It will find the easiest route and where there isn’t a route it will create one over time. Erosion of soil and masonry allows a stream of water to flow. Then there’s an overnight freeze and the water becomes ice which spread cracks as well as redirects waterflow. Gravity plays a role as well to draw water down. So cracks or spaces in window and door frames can allow water in. You might not see it right away but if you have dampness – flooring might get spongy, wood finishings can warp and there are stains on the wall – you have evidence of a problem.
Along with visuals, you might get an olfactory sign with a musty, dank smell that means you likely have mildew or mould growing. Both mildew and mould are unhealthy for your family especially if you have anyone with respiratory illness. While mildew can be handled by a commercial cleaning product, mould requires professional experts to remove it safely.
The good weather allows you to really inspect the walls of your homes foundation and identify any problem areas. Cracks in the masonry, poorly draining soils around your foundation walls, gradients that draw water toward rather than away from your house, breaks or spaces in the door frames or window wells are more easily seen during the summer. Having repairs done in the summer might save you a great deal of heartache later on.
Make sure your lovely landscaping is not creating a problem by roots breaking through the foundation walls. Check that your eaves troughs are clear of leaves and branches so they can flow cleanly during a storm.
You can also identify if you have unexplained condensation or dampness in the basement which is causing things to get damaged. If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working well and you have a battery back up to make sure the water is being taken care of efficiently.
As you prepare to put your garden and outdoor entertainment areas to bed for the winter, make sure to run through another checklist of your home’s foundation. Clean the leaves off the driveway and away from the foundation so that water is free to flow away from your house. Clear the gutters, eaves troughs, and downspouts to make sure they are doing their jobs to direct water away from your home – did you know a good rule of thumb is that the water should be directed at least six feet away?
While you are outside, have another look at the foundation walls – are there cracks or breaks in the masonry? Has there been damage to the window wells? Make sure you address these issues before they become a problem.
Inside, check for staining on unfinished basement floors or walls. This can be a sign that water is seeping into your foundation and leaving behind something called efflorescence which is a white chalky substance on the walls. Do a walk around to see if your door jambs are meeting, look at the window casings to verify they are in good condition.
Winters can be challenging no matter where you live in Canada. Keeping your property clear of excess snow is a good plan. Check that it isn’t piled up against the walls of your foundation which can allow it to seep into any cracks that have formed. Make sure the snowmelt will flow away from your house and not toward it. Varying temperatures can cause snow to melt and then quickly refreeze, spreading any cracks into easy routes for water to get into your basement.
Again, while you might not see evidence of moisture, you might smell it. If you are aware of a dankness or musty smell when you go down the basement steps, it means you have the conditions ripe for mould or mildew.
No matter what the season, your basement water problems can be resolved by the professionals at City Wide Group. They have more than 50 years in the basement waterproofing industry, an excellent reputation with the Consumer Choice Awards and excellent HomeStars reviews, as well as a team of professionals who will treat your home like their own. You will get a full inspection, a clear estimate of time and cost, they will return your property’s brickwork or asphalt to pre-waterproofing project appearance, and best yet, you will also receive a fully transferrable lifetime warranty.
Here's what they might recommend:
Exterior foundation waterproofing which will involve a trough being dug around the foundation of your home. This allows for the full inspection of the condition of the masonry, repairing any cracks or faults, replacing weeping bed tiles, and applying a rubber membrane to the outer walls of the foundation.
Interior foundation waterproofing involves a trench being dug along the edges of the walls of your foundation to create a space for a new weeping tile draining system, a membrane being installed and filled with gravel. Then the trench is filled with a new layer of concrete that matches your foundation.
Needless to say, waterproofing projects are easiest when the access is clear but anytime is the right time if it resolves a problem in your home’s foundation. You want to protect your assets. Most importantly you want to protect your family.
If, in the worst case scenario, you find water sloshing around in your basement there are important safety measures to follow. Contact the municipality where you live, ensure power is turned off to your home, make sure the gas supply is cut if you use gas to heat, wear boots and rubber gloves before wading into the water and take a flashlight – it’s going to be dark! Look for the problem which can be a burst pipe, a drain blockage or water coming through the windows or cracks in the masonry. Getting professional help is essential to take the measures to prevent a recurrence of a wet basement.
Your home needs year-round maintenance to be the comfortable abode for you and your family. It is in your financial best interests to make sure it is in tip top shape. If you have any concerns about your basement’s ability to stay dry, call City Wide Group for a free estimate today.