Do I Need to Waterproof My Basement?

By:    |   Published June 30, 2020
A basement without adequate waterproofing taking on water through cracks

Owning a home comes with unfortunate risks. Fire damage, wind damage and water damage are all potential threats. While you can only take so many steps to avoid fire and wind threats, water damage is one area where you can truly be proactive. Many homeowners ask “do I need to waterproof my basement?” 

The Short Answer: Most Likely! 

In almost every case, the answer to “do I need to waterproof my basement” is an emphatic “yes!” Unique to basements is the fact that they lie below the surface of the water table in your area. This means they experience unique threats; the number one threat to any basement is the groundwater around it. 

Even if you don’t see any signs of water or leaks now, moisture is everywhere. When rain or other sources of water reach the ground around your home, it’s absorbed below the surface – but it doesn’t disappear. Saturated groundwater moves around the foundation of your home and puts a constant pressure on the concrete designed to keep your home safe and stable. 

Over time, this hydrostatic pressure will wear away bits of the concrete until it finds a way into your home. Once this happens, the results can be catastrophic! 

Three Reasons Why You Should Waterproof Your Basement 

Water Damage Can Happen Anywhere 

One of the most common reasons a homeowner may ask themselves “do I need to waterproof my basement” is when they live in a relatively dry area, or in an area not considered a flood risk. Unfortunately, water damage is risk that can happen anywhere at any time.  

While the most significant sources of basement water damage are often thought of as major flooding, basements can succumb to slow and steady water damage that may escape the notice of homeowners until it’s had days or weeks to wreak havoc on your home. Anything from a small crack leading to massive mold issues to a leaky pipe spewing water that has nowhere to go can lead to a homeowner’s nightmare. 

This is true for those who live in higher risk flood areas too. While you may be alert for the big threats, you need to be aware of the more subtle ones that can sneak up on your home. Damage to your foundation, no matter how small, can lead to problems down the road that may make your home uninhabitable! 

Approximately 14,000 people in the United States will suffer a water damage-based emergency every single day. Almost 40 percent of homeowners say they’ve had losses due to water damage in their home! 

Water Damage Can Happen Fast 

The second reason that waterproofing a basement is something we consider necessary is the speed at which water damage can truly happen. A rainstorm that amounts to one inch of rain dumps almost 30,000 gallons of water on a single acre. All that water needs somewhere to go, and if it can find a way into your foundation, that’s where it will go. 

In the winter time, melting snow or burst pipes due to the freeze can rapidly introduce a massive amount of moisture to your basement or the area around it. Any place where water can enter your home will, over time, erode and grow larger. This lets even more water into your home at a much faster rate. 

It only takes minutes for a storm to flood your basement, and a leaky pipe can eject several inches of water into your basement overnight if you lack a waterproofing system that includes a way to discharge and drain the moisture! 

Water Damage Is Expensive to Repair 

The last, and possibly most important part of answering the question of whether or not to waterproof your basement is the cost of skipping this protection. While waterproofing systems can range in costs, it’s almost always going to save you money in the long run. 

Water damage is not a quick fix. It gets everywhere and ruins everything it touches. Regarding your home, water in the dry wall, insulation, flooring and electrical runs can cost multiple thousands of dollars to replace, even with less than an inch of water in your basement! 

But that doesn’t cover all of the additional losses. If you use your basement for storage, you likely have boxes of Christmas decorations, clothes, furniture, and more. While not everything will be a loss when it’s covered in water, most of it will. And if you don’t catch it early enough, insects and mold that come with that water can damage the things that water itself won’t. 

You can’t always rely on your homeowner’s insurance to protect yourself from the financial burden of water damage. If you don’t have specific flood insurance, flood damage simply won’t be covered. Likewise, water damage from poor maintenance (like an old pipe you never bothered to fix) may not be covered if the insurance company believes your negligence lead to the leak! 

How Do I Waterproof My Basement? 

If you’re ready to move from “do I need to waterproof my basement” to “how can I waterproof my basement,” here are some of the most critical aspects of a successful basement waterproofing system

Drainage Systems 

Lack of proper drainage is the most common reasons that exterior water starts to apply pressure to your home’s foundation. One of the cores of designing a waterproofing system for any home is making sure that moisture in the ground has a place to go that’s not towards your foundation. 

Everything from gutters on your home to drain tiles in your yard help keep water far away from your vulnerable foundation. 

Waterproof Barriers 

Barriers around your foundation are another popular way to help keep water out. Specialized membranes and sealants can be placed as a shield to your foundation, which are designed to be resilient against constant water pressure. 

By keeping water away from your foundation and out of your house in the first place, these waterproofing solutions are much more proactive and provide a higher level of protection. 

Sump Pumps 

Sump pumps are part of protecting your home from water. They fight against an intake of water by pushing it back out. If you don’t have a sump pump, once the water levels rise too high, it has very limited ways of getting back out of your home! 

It’s important to consider the type of sump pump you use. Battery back-up sump pumps can continue working even when the power goes out. Considering that the same storms bringing rain often bring high winds and lightning that can take out your power, battery back-ups aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity! 

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!  

Stay connected with EverDry Toledo on Social Media to learn more basement tips and tricks!  

Facebook Twitter Houzz Instagram