Common Basement Waterproofing Mistakes that Homeowners Make

By:    |   Published September 30, 2020
A basement foundation

A dry basement is a healthy basement, and a healthy basement leads to a happy homeowner. Whether you’re a DIY pro or just a new homeowner who wants to avoid major problems in your home, make sure you know these common waterproofing mistakes to avoid.

Read on to learn about the most common waterproofing mistakes that homeowners make, and how you can prevent them from leading to a moisture problem in your home.

DIY Fixes for Symptoms, Not Sources

The number one waterproofing mistake that many homeowners make is trying to solve moisture and mold problems without dealing with the underlying cause. This can happen in many different ways:

Cleaning Away Mold

If you find mold in your basement, cleaning the mold isn’t enough. No matter what you do, that mold only formed because it had a source of moisture to feed from. If you clean the mold, it’s only a matter of time before a new growth occurs.

When it comes to waterproofing mistakes, seeing mold as the primary issue is a common one. In reality, mold problems are moisture problems. You need to locate the source of the moisture. Sometimes it’s a leak, a crack, or even excessive humidity in your basement. Solve these problems and your mold will go away for good!

DIY Sealants

If you notice a crack somewhere in your basement where water is coming in, your initial reaction may be to run to the nearest hardware store and purchase sealant. It’s not a bad idea to try and seal away water intrusion in your home, but the waterproofing mistake comes from seeing this as the complete solution to your issue!

If a crack formed that allowed water into your home, it’s almost a guarantee that more will come. Hydrostatic pressure is constant and aggressive, even though it can take a long time to show its potential.

After sealing or finding a crack in your home, it’s time for a professional inspection. Catching major waterproofing failures before they become catastrophic can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches!

Ignoring Your Gutters

As moisture falls, the first line of defense is your gutter system. A majority of the water pressure that homes deal with come from persistent rainfall that saturates the ground around your house’s foundation. As this saturation increases, the moisture in the ground looks for a way to displace – most often directly towards your home.

While it’s impossible to keep the surrounding land perfectly dry, gutters and downspouts direct a bulk of the water that would be right against your home elsewhere. A functioning gutter system isn’t just important, it’s critical to prevent major buildup of groundwater against your foundation.

If you don’t take gutter maintenance seriously, you may wind up with clogged or broken gutters that let water overflow and fall right against your foundation. The same goes for downspouts – you need them to be functioning and diverting water far enough away from your home that it drains away from your foundation instead of towards it!

Assuming Waterproofing Isn’t Necessary

You live in an area that’s not in a flood zone. You haven’t ever had water damage in your basement, and you don’t think your neighbors have either. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to flood damage or water intrusion.

Every home is different – from the foundation, to the existing waterproofing systems, to even the grading of the land. Your house may be more susceptible than you think to water damage, even if your area isn’t prone to it.

It is true – not every home needs as extensive of a waterproofing system as others. But that doesn’t mean you should skip one entirely! If you live in an area with normal to high amounts of rainfall or significant snowfall, it’s important to remember that one powerful storm is all it takes to push your foundation over the edge and introduce cracks that will worsen over time.

Even if your home isn’t at risk for water damage, it’s better to know than to guess! Scheduling a professional inspection with EverDry is free – one inspection can give you peace of mind in knowing that you’re not at risk, or provide you with the information you need to protect your home from potential foundation failure.

Waiting for a Sump Pump to Fail

If your basement is protected by a sump pump, it’s a major waterproofing mistake not to understand the maintenance that goes into owning a pump! These devices aren’t meant to last forever, and there are a lot of signs that your sump pump may be starting to fail. If you don’t replace it before this happens, you’ll be in for a basement surprise that’s a few inches deep!

Some of the things to look for when it comes to sump pump maintenance are:

Odd Sounds – Mechanical failures in the pump or even clogs may lead to the motor making strange sounds. If your sump pump begins to make sounds it normally doesn’t, you may want to inspect or replace it

Constant Running – A sump pump that runs for excessive periods isn’t normal. It may mean your pump isn’t functioning correctly, or more often that it’s not strong enough to deal with the level of moisture it needs to eject from your home

Constant On/Off Cycle – A sump pump that is constantly kicking on and powering off over short periods of time may indicate an issue with the switch or a total failure of the device.

The most important part of a sump pump is that it works even when your power goes out. If your home is protected by a sump pump without a battery backup, it’s not reliable. The same storms that introduce high amounts of moisture to your home are the ones that often knock out your power!

Schedule Your FREE Annual Foundation Inspection  

The best way to protect your home from poor air quality is with professional waterproofing. EverDry Toledo can help with a FREE 20-point basement inspection! We’ll help you find out if your home is at risk for water damage and which solutions will best serve you. Contact us online to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (419) 469-5833 and schedule your inspection today!  

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