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Corrective Actions for Water Entering Your House from the Exterior

By: Jasna Aleksandrova

Having water in the basement or crawlspace can be a real nightmare for a homeowner. This refers mainly to the quality of living within a house that has a damp foundation, basement, or crawlspace. Most houses that have issues with damp basement areas or a damp crawlspace have unhealthy breathing air caused by molds that can, in time, build up below the floor. In addition to mold problems, moisture also attracts insects. This can be a real problem because insects can thrive well in moist conditions and infest the house which can lead to a lengthy and expensive extermination process. In addition to this, the corrective actions for remediating moisture and preventing it from happening again can cost a pretty penny.

Intercepting the problem before it happens

Do we necessarily need to pay large sums of money to fix a wet crawlspace or basement? No! Stop it before it starts! There are preventative measures that can be taken for a fraction of the cost that a contractor would charge. Preventing water from building up around the home is the first step towards having a dry basement or crawlspace. The first thing that every homeowner should do is to maintain their gutters and keep them clean of debris and leaves. This will prevent water from sliding down the exterior walls of the house and into the foundation, basement or crawlspace. Adding downspout extensions that allow water to drain at least 5 feet from the house is also very helpful. After ensuring that the gutter system is taken care of, the owner should paid attention to the soil around the house. The soil should slope at a grade of at least 2% away from the house allowing water to naturally drain away and to ensure that water does not pool near the home. By doing these simple corrective actions, the homeowner can protect their foundation and prevent water from building up. Thus the foundation, crawlspace, or basement will remain dry.

Proper insulation to keep things dry

If the foundation is not properly sealed, efforts to keep water out can sometimes be futile. Hydrostatic pressure of the water building up in the soil can eventually force water into a foundation or basement. Humidity can also cause moisture to build up inside crawlspaces. When this is the case, a homeowner can face larger problems that need more comprehensive actions. In order to prevent this from happening, the owner will need to waterproof the basement, foundation or crawlspace. Waterproofing can be done by installing a sump (in the basement), dehumidifiers (in crawlspaces), and by using sealing materials. Contractors will often work from the open areas inside of the basement or crawl space which make the job easier and less expensive to the homeowner. A sump is placed in the basement to pump excessive water out and away from the house. They will also use waterproofing (not a water sealer) on the walls to prevent water from entering the basement. If action needs to be taken with a foundation, the job could be more expensive because the contractor will have to dig the soil out from around the house, make repairs, seal the foundation, and then put the soil back in place. This will also ruin any landscaping that is close to the house. For crawlspaces, it is important to have a professional check and remediate any mold or pests within the space. Once the crawlspace is sufficiently clean, the entire crawlspace needs to be sanitized and the ground should be covered with plastic. When this is done, the homeowner can then install a crawlspace dehumidifier to prevent high moisture levels from forming in the future. A dehumidifier will keep the space dry and drain any moisture collected away from the house.

 

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