Water is your basement’s worst enemy. Poor drainage and an unprotected foundation can allow moisture to seep into your basement, damaging flooring and walls, lead to poor air quality resulting in the growth of mould and mildew and respiratory health problems.
eieihome spoke with Tony Romanelli of RCC Waterproofing, a company that has been fixing damp basements and foundation cracks in homes in Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, London and Oshawa since 1920, about how to keep your basement dry.
“Grade it right,” Romanelli says. “If your property slopes towards your house, water may drain right into your home, allowing it to penetrate and weaken the supporting soil and your home’s foundation”. Ensuring your home is graded so that water runs away from your house can help protect your belongings.
A problem foundation wall can cause moisture to seep into your basement. To seal the foundation, a waterproofing company will need to excavate around the perimeter of the home in order to access the problem area.
First the foundation problems will be restored, and then a flexible waterproof membrane will be applied to seal the wall. Next, a drainage layer is placed over top of waterproof membrane. This will prevent water from entering your home’s foundation.
Romanelli says waterproofing the exterior of your home is a good idea even if your basement is dry. “Even though your basement doesn’t leak, it can still allow soil gases and insects to get in,” he says.
Romanelli encourages homeowners to be proactive about waterproofing, especially if you’re planning a basement renovation.
“If you created a finished living space in the basement, you don’t want to wait for a leak to waterproof the foundation and repair all the damage it caused,” he says.
Poor drainage system
If your property is surrounded by trees, you may be at risk for a clogged weeping tile. A weeping tile is a perforated plastic pipe that runs the perimeter of your foundation and collects groundwater from around your home, draining it to a storm sewer or sump pit. As trees grow, their roots can get into the weeping tile causing it to become clogged. While digging around the foundation to repair your property’s drainage system can be expensive, a flooded basement could cost way more and in most cases, is not covered by insurance.