Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Thursday, October 10th, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann
The age of the internet has bred a whole generation of DIYers, ready to tackle anything from furniture restoration to car and home repairs. In many cases this is a great option; you learn a skill and save some money. But sometimes it’s risky or downright dangerous to you and/or your home. When it comes to waterproofing, there are some things you can do yourself, and some you should stay far away from.
DO - Clean the gutters
One of the fastest and easiest ways to prevent water from pooling near your foundation (and potentially getting in) is to make sure your gutters are clean. The leaves are falling as we speak, and letting them clog up your gutters will prevent water from being diverted away from your house.
DO - Extend downspouts
Next on the list of fast and easy is extending your downspouts. If they end right at the house rather than continuing for a few feet, they’re just pouring water onto your foundation. Even a dry basement will eventually get wet if the water is constantly hitting the same patch of concrete. You can get the supplies to extend your downspouts at any hardware store, it’s inexpensive, and it only takes a few minutes.
DO - Check your grading
During rainstorms, do you notice water pooling around your house (in areas other than around the gutters)? The grading of your yard may be to blame. If your yard slopes toward your house instead of away from it, it may be sending water to, and through, your foundation.
This is a longer project than extending the downspouts and takes more planning, but if you’ve got a few friends, some basic yard tools, and a big pile of dirt, you can get it done. (You can also hire someone to do this, and we absolutely will not judge.)
DON’T - Dig
Do not, I beg of you, start any waterproofing projects that involve excavation. As soon as you start removing dirt from around the foundation of your home, you’re opening yourself up for problems. Pressure (or removal of pressure) from soil affects the foundation walls and can cause them to shift, lean, or have cracked open up that allow more water in.
When you work below grade (aka below ground) you need a company that specializes in below-grade issues.
DON’T - Use “waterproof” paint
I mean, you CAN use waterproof paint if you just happen to really like the paint. Just don’t count on it too, ya know, waterproof anything. Paint like this often has rubberized materials mixed in and makes claims to seal cracks and prevent water from coming in. It’ll probably work for a few weeks, but water is stronger than pretty much everything, and it will breakthrough. If anything, this paint makes the problem worse because it allows you to ignore it for longer.
BONUS DO - Get rid of your basement carpet
This isn’t strictly waterproofing, but every basement has some level of humidity issues. And if you have a finished basement with traditional carpet, that carpet loves to sit there and soak up the moisture. The result is a moldy/mildewy/generally terrible smell that can permeate your whole house.
Waterproof laminate and plank flooring is widely available today, relatively inexpensive, and very easy to install on your own. And it won’t absorb water and create weird smells. A win-win.
While there are many things you can do on your own in an effort to prevent water in your basement, there may be a point where you’ve tried everything and are still having problems. When you get there, call us, and know that you won’t have to go through it alone. Call today for your free inspection.