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Waterproofing Exterior Basement Walls

When considering the overall health and longevity of a home and its resale value, it is vital to ensure the exterior walls of a basement are waterproofed and appropriately maintained. Flooding of a basement could cause significant damage and disruption to both the structure and contents of the basement, presenting serious safety risks.

It is not a simple task to waterproof the exterior of a basement, and requires careful planning and attention to detail. The first step is to assess the condition of the basement’s exterior walls and determine if any repairs need to be done. The process should include a thorough check for any cracks, holes, or other signs of structural damage potentially allowing water to seep in.

For example, in a Michigan basement, its original protections fail over time as soil erodes, cement cracks, foundations move, and barriers fail. Poor maintenance and ignoring early signs of basement water penetration aggravate the problem. Acting quickly with a proven and patented solution from a professional basement waterproofing company will save money in the long run and protect the investment.

Make sure the entire foundation of the house is inspected, looking for any signs of water infiltration near the area around windows, doors, and other openings in the foundation. Should any water be detected, the source should be identified and remedied immediately.

Common sources of water infiltration include:

  • Faulty gutter systems
  • Rooftop drainage systems

Once the exterior walls and foundation have been inspected and a professional has made necessary repairs, a waterproofing membrane to the basement’s exterior walls must be applied.

A waterproofing membrane acts as a barrier to block water from entering the basement walls. There are several types of waterproofing membranes available:

  • Asphalt
  • Tar-based membranes
  • Rubber membranes
  • Polyurethane waterproofing membranes

A professional company will also ensure any and all cracks or other openings in the walls or foundation of the basement will be sealed with a high-quality waterproofing sealant. This will help to prevent water from seeping into the basement and protect the basement from any water damage or mold growth.

What are the dangers of a flooded basement?

A flooded basement can leave even the handiest of homeowners feeling helpless and underwater. When a basement floods, there’s bound to be some damage, such as ruined furniture and other items or carpets and floors becoming waterlogged and generating mold growth. Unfortunately, property damage isn’t the only concern; flooded basements can also be dangerous to health and safety. Here are a few dangers that can occur when a basement floods:

  • Structural integrity:  the entire home and foundation could become compromised due to severe flooding or untreated water damage. *Note: should this be an unfortunate reality, immediately contact emergency responders, property adjusters and your insurance company.
  • Electrical shock: should the floodwater come into contact with wires or electrical components
  • Failure of appliances: floodwater can lead to mechanical systems in the basement, such as HVACs, water heaters, washers, dryers, etc.
  • Contamination: Unless the flooding comes from a broken supply line or another source of clean water, floodwater is often contaminated with harmful chemicals, bacteria, and other substances that cause serious illness in humans and pets.

Suppose you are worried or uncertain about any of these potential dangers when dealing with a flooded basement. In that case, the safest action is to contact a professional water damage restoration service.

What causes basements to flood?

Some of the many causes of basement flooding that homeowners should be aware of are listed below. In addition, taking proactive steps such as annual inspections of drainage systems and appliances and regular maintenance of sump pumps and other basement systems can help mitigate the risk of flooding. Basements flood for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Heavy Rainfall or Snowmelt: Excessive amounts of rainfall or snowmelt can cause flooding in basements, either due to water seeping into the foundation or due to runoff from nearby hills or mountains.
  • Burst or Leaking Pipes: Pipes carrying water to or from a house can become damaged or worn over time, leading to leaks that can cause flooding in a basement.
  • Leaking Appliances: Appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters can develop leaks that can cause water to enter the basement.
  • Overflowing Bathtub or Toilet: A clogged bathtub or toilet can lead to overflow, which can cause flooding in a basement.
  • Water Heater Leak: A leak from a water heater can cause a significant amount of water to enter the basement.
  • Backed-Up Drainage System: If a drainage system is not maintained correctly, it can become clogged and cause water to back up into the basement.
  • Foundational Cracks: Cracks in the foundation of a house can allow water to seep into the basement.
  • Sump Pump Malfunction: A sump pump is designed to remove water from a basement, but it can cause flood damage if it fails.
  • Sewage System Backup: If the sewer lines become clogged or damaged, they can allow sewage to enter the basement, leading to a health hazard and extensive damage.

What To Do If Your Basement Floods

Taking the following suggested steps will assist in mitigating the risk of more flooding, as well as reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth. Should your basement flood, it is essential to take the following steps:

Call a professional restoration company: Highly recommended to assess the damage and provide the best course of action.

Contact a professional basement restoration/waterproofing company: They can provide expert advice on preventing future flooding and make sure the basement is adequately waterproofed moving forward.

Turn off the electricity: It prevents any electrical shocks or other dangers.

Find the source of flooding: Finding the source of flooding is essential to prevent any further damage.

Remove all wet and waterlogged items: All wet and waterlogged items should be removed from the basement in order to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth.

Get air flowing through the area: Opening windows and doors to allow air to circulate through the basement can help to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth.

Turn on a dehumidifier: If you have a dehumidifier, turn it on to help remove moisture from the air and reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth.

Waterproofing exterior basement walls

In summary, it is essential to waterproof the exterior walls of a basement to protect it from water damage and other potential hazards. This includes inspecting the walls and foundation for any signs of damage, repairing any areas found to be damaged, applying a waterproofing membrane to the exterior walls, and finally, sealing any cracks or other openings with a waterproofing sealant. Following these steps will help to ensure the longevity and safety of a home, as well as its resale value.

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