Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If Your Basement Doesn't Leak Now, It will Eventually

It is said "there are two types of basements.. those that leak and those that are gonna leak".

Homes with water problems sell for up to 30% less than other homes (if they sell at all).

Water enters into a homes basement three ways...
  1. Over the foundation wall
  2. Through the foundation wall
  3. Under the foundation wall
In a poured basement (which is most of newer construction), the floor is not structural.  The concrete foundation wall, footer and slab are all poured separately which means that there must be a moisture barrier applied to seal the foundation.   Sometimes a builder will skimp on this as it will not be seen by a buyer.  A footer drain exit (corrugated pipe) should be visible on the daylight side at the exterior of the home.  In lieu of this necessary drain, a "strip drain" (a flexible drain system that wraps the foundation) can be used.  These drainage systems can be easily damaged when the soil is back-filled at construction.

When the foundation hole of a home under construction is back-filled, the dirt around the foundation is not compacted as much as the surrounding soil, so rainwater flows easily through the soil near the foundation.  After a period of time, the footer drain (which sometimes isn't even present) can become clogged with silt.  For this reason, footer drains always fail- sooner or later.

Another way water finds its way into a basement is if the landscaped area at the edge of the house has dirt that comes above the poured foundation wall, the water can enter over the top of the wall. 

Many times, moisture intrudes through the corner of the basement due to the downspouts which are located at the home's corners.  Improperly channelled roof water is the number one cause of basement and crawlspace leakage.  All downspouts should be piped off 8-10 feet away from the house.

Some common yet ineffective water intrusion repair methods are
  1. Negative Waterproofing (sealing water out).  This is achieved by applying a topical product on the foundation basement walls from the inside.  This is a bandaid fix at best and does not usually provide a permanent solution.
  2. Exterior Excavation.  This method removes the existing landscape, patio or decking around the perimeter of the house to install/repair appropriate drainage.  This method is very expensive and is no longer being done by reputable waterproofing companies.
  3. Interior Footing Drains-  a pipe and gravel drain system in stalled inside the basement which sometimes will feature a metal flange.  These systems will usually fail as the metal can corrode and fail.
  4. Waterguard- from Basement Systems International is a system engineered for permanent basement waterproofing installed around interior perimeter of basement.  This innovative system features a drain that is rust proof and won't break down or decay and won't clog-ever.  This type of system offers a lifetime warranty (life of the structure) which is transferrable to buyers.  This system averages about $6000.00 and requires 3-4 days to install.
In any case, if you're a homeowner and have a leaky basement, you really need to get it fixed.. the sooner the better.  It is pretty much a must if you're planning to sell.  If your buying a home with a basement (or crawl space), it's very important to be informed. 

If you need a list of reliable contractors (for any type of work associated with your home) please check my website.

1 comment:

  1. We aren't based in the Atlanta area, but just thought I'd share this article we recently published