When you find puddles on the floor of your basement it’s only natural that you’ll want it fixed as soon as possible. If left unattended you can end up facing some really serious problems, so acting quickly is a good idea.
Understanding Emergency Waterproofing
If you find yourself with water where there was no sign before, you’ve got a waterproofing emergency. If you don’t respond quickly, it’s likely to get worse.
What are the likely symptoms of a sudden waterproofing issue? If any of these signs appear in your basement, acting quickly is vital to avoid serious structural damage down the line.
- Water on the floor or wet walls – there’s no surer sign that water is getting in than water being there.
- Bubbling or peeling paint- this strongly suggests that your wall covering is being pushed away by moisture getting in behind it.
- Efflorescence – white, chalky powder on the surface of your walls means that minerals have been pulled out of the concrete by evaporating water.
- Cracks forming – water isn’t the only cause of cracks, but it is a major one. If hydrostatic pressure is exerting too much force on your walls, water ingress is only a matter of time.
These are all more likely to happen during inclement weather. As the level of groundwater around your home rises, your waterproofing may start to struggle unless it’s in tip-top condition.
Tips for Immediate Relief
If you find yourself with any of the above signs, there are a few steps you can take yourself to lessen the risk of things getting worse in the short term.
- Clear your gutters – it may seem odd that this is the first thing we recommend but they’re a vital part of your home’s waterproofing system. Ensuring that water is directed harmlessly away rather than spilling where it shouldn’t can provide immediate relief.
- Fill the cracks- it’s an obvious solution but blocking off any route into your home will make ingress harder for any water that’s threatening your basement walls. You can pick up interior sealants at most hardware stores for a quick patch job.
- Clean your window wells- just like gutters, windows that are full of debris won’t drain properly and can provide the perfect point for water to force its way through. Allowing water an easier path will keep it out of your basement.
All of these should help with an emergency situation but don’t be tempted in to thinking that your problems are solved. Whatever caused the issue is still there and needs to be addressed in the near future to avoid it happening again.
Transitioning to Long-Term Waterproofing Solutions
While quick fixes might solve the immediate issue you’re facing, once water finds a way in, it’s only a matter of time before it happens again unless you take a longer-term view. Here’s a checklist of steps to take:
Assessing the Damage and Identifying the Causes
When water finds its way in, it’s going to do some damage. From damp marks on the walls and peeling paint to cracks and problems with your foundations, it’s important to get an idea of how much damage has been done before you set about fixing it.
Once you’ve got a grip on how much damage has been done, the next step is working out exactly how it was done. This will determine the best long term solutions for your situation.
Professional Waterproofing Assessment
While you can probably tackle most quick-fixes yourself, a long-term fix needs the help of an expert in basement waterproofing.
Given that there are a whole host of issues which can lead to problems with your basement waterproofing system, it really does take an expert eye to fully assess what has gone wrong and what can be done to fix it properly.
Comprehensive Waterproofing Strategies
While your professional waterproofer is there, it’s worth talking to them about more than simply fixing your immediate problem.
A properly working waterproofing system is greater than the sum of its parts and taking a holistic view is recommended when looking for long term solutions.
Long term solutions can vary from the simple to the more drastic:
- Sealants- applied over the interior surface, these come in a few forms. Some are effectively waterproof paint, others are a cementitious compound which chemically bonds with your walls.
- Sump Pumps– if find water coming in from below, a sump pump can help by moving groundwater away before it threatens your floor. These mechanisms sit in a pit (the sump) below your basement floor.
- French Drains– much like sump pumps, these simply move water away from your home to drain harmlessly away somewhere else. They are to all intents and purposes a horizontal drainpipe.
- Exterior Waterproofing – sometimes it’s worth considering a more extreme measures. While digging a trench around your property to allow access may seem to be heavy-handed, sometimes stripping everything right back is the right answer.
Preventative Measures And Maintenance
Of course, prevention is always better than a cure.
A regular schedule of inspections from a qualified tradesman will ensure that your basement waterproofing will last for years. Regular inspections make it a simple matter to intervene before a potential problem becomes an emergency.
Between inspections, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of water ingress yourself. The earlier you identify a problem, the easier it will be to fix.
Balancing Immediate Needs With Future Protection
While some situations need an immediate fix, it’s always a good idea to keep one eye on the future whenever any work is done on your home. Often it makes sense to do more than address the urgent problem and take steps to ensure that more problems don’t arise as time goes on.
An emergency callout often focuses the mind. While they’re there, a professional can talk to you about what you can be done to take a broader view on waterproofing your home.