Life in Ohio and Michigan means tough winter seasons. While you’re out shoveling snow or salting your driveway, a basement disaster could be subtly coming your way: a flooded basement! While you may think of basement flooding as a Spring issue when rains are heavy and frequent, basement flooding in the winter is a genuine problem that affects many people throughout Toledo, Ohio and the surrounding area each season.
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.
Who doesn’t love the feeling of accomplishment? The pride, money savings and bragging rights at the completion of a successful DIY project are just a few of the reasons Americans just love to “do it themselves.” However, not every job around the house – or under it – is best tackled by a fix-it minded homeowner. Is DIY foundation repair right for you?
Just like there’s a difference between installing a new light fixture and rewiring an entire home, sealing a hairline crack and waterproofing the exterior of a home’s foundation are quite different tasks to undertake. Know your limits and trust your gut (or your spouse’s gut!) Don’t put your health or your property at risk.
The most important thing to remember is to never enter a basement that’s flooded if it could have electricity running. Chances are if your basement flooded, you either don’t have a sump pump, or you don’t have a sump pump with an emergency battery backup. If the power went out, you may want to get it restored right away to get your sump pump going again. But any electricity in the water creates a deadly hazard. Make sure to disable ALL of the power to the basement, a socket that’s not being used or loose wires you can’t see can still electrify the water.
Additionally, if your flood was due to backed up sewage, the average homeowner is not equipped to safely clean it up. You will need to contact a professional, as sewage can contain a large volume of contaminants that spread illness or disease.
Steps for Cleaning Up:
#1. Turn Off Water & Power.
If your basement flooding happened due to a leaky or burst pipe, the first step is to turn off the water. This will prevent any further water from filling the space and give you time to contact a plumber. It’s also critical to ensure the power is off for the entire basement. If you’re not completely confident that the water is safe, don’t attempt to enter the basement at all— call a professional.
#2. Remove Everything You Can
When you’re positive there’s no risk of electric shock, you can begin removing items that can be saved. Start by taking out any electronics, both for safety purposes and to potentially salvage them. You will have to remove furniture and anything stored in the area. Depending on the purity of the water, some of it may be reusable once it’s dried. A leaky pipe often just causes water damage, but backed up sewage or a groundwater flood will likely introduce bacteria into anything it touches, requiring you to throw it away or have it professionally cleaned.
#3. Clean Up Excess Water
Once your basement is safe and you have most of your salvageable items removed, you can start to tackle the water that’s remaining. There are a number of ways accomplish this, but they depend on the equipment you have available. The simplest solution is to use towels and buckets, soaking up and dumping the water elsewhere. A shop vac can also help, but make sure not to plug it in anywhere that could put you at risk for electric shock.
#4. Remove Moisture
After your basement has had all of the flooded water removed, you’ll need to dry out the area. Open the windows and use fans to help remove moisture from the environment. If you own a dehumidifier, make sure to turn it on with the windows closed and regularly empty it. Remember when using a dehumidifier to remove contaminated water that the dehumidifier itself will then also be contaminated and should be replaced after you’re finished.
If your basement is carpeted, you will need to remove the carpet. Even if you do everything to dry it out, moisture can stay trapped beneath it and lead to major mold problems. You probably won’t be able to save the carpet, especially if the flood came from an unclean water source.
You will also need to remove drywall and insulation. They can act as sponges for the water, and you’ll need to access the areas behind them to fully dry out the supports and make sure no wiring is still exposed to water. It’s highly recommended to leave these steps to a professional, to ensure the job is done thoroughly and without risking more damage to your home.
#5. Disinfect the Area
Once the basement is dry, you will have to disinfect everything. Even if the flood water was “clean,” moisture can quickly let bacteria and mold begin to thrive in your basement. Any surface that was wet or near the flood will need to be thoroughly disinfected. This may drastically reduce your chance for developing mold or other illnesses in the future.
Protect Yourself Against Water Damage
There’s a lot you can do to avoid water damage. Staying proactive will help reduce your risk of flooding, and save yourself countless hours and potentially hundreds of dollars in damage and expenses from a basement flood.
Keep Your Gutters Maintained
gutters are your home’s first line of defense
Performing your own rain gutter repair is often a lot easier than you expect, even for novice DIYers. Find out the most common gutter and downspout problems and how to fix them from EverDry Toledo!
Common Gutter Problems & Solutions
Clogged & Obstructed Gutters
One of the most common problems with rain gutters is clogging. Over time, debris builds up in your gutters and prevents water from flowing properly. In severe cases, it can even dam the flow of water completely, which puts your roof at risk for damage.
How to Repair It: While clogged rain gutters are common, they are fortunately easy to fix. Depending on the size of your house, all you may need is a ladder and a pair of gloves. Simply go around each section of the gutter, removing debris and inspecting it for possible damage.
Most homeowners will only need to do this about once per year, and spring is one of the best times to do it – not to mention some other important outdoor maintenance. However, if your house is surrounded by one or more trees, you may want to consider cleaning you gutters a few times each year. The more trees that can drop leaves or branches into the gutters, the quicker the buildup can hit critical mass.
It may also be worth investing in a gutter guard that helps prevent debris from entering your gutter in the first place. This doesn’t mean you never have to clean your gutters again, but it can help keep them flowing better between cleanings.
Leaks, Holes, or Deterioration
Your gutter is made up of multiple sections that are sealed or connected with gutter joints. Over time, no matter how they are joined together, the connection will deteriorate. Even well maintained gutters can sometimes suffer physical damage that opens holes or gaps. This results in leaking that drops water right against your siding or foundation.
How to Repair It: There are two ways to fix a leaky gutter. If the leak is coming from a tiny hole, such as one the size of a nail head, all you need is a little caulk. Silicone or gutter caulk can seal the leak without any additional help. Just make sure the gutter is free of any debris before you begin.
If the leak is much larger, you may need to use metal flashing to patch your gutter. Many home improvement stores sell gutter patch kits. Even if you can’t find a kit, you can create a patch by using tin snips to cut out metal flashing and using sealant to glue it in place.
Downspout Draining Too Close to House
A perfectly functional gutter system can be ruined by a downspout draining improperly. It’s important to make sure that the end of the downspout is taking the water an appropriate distance away. If it’s not, all the water caught and flushed away by the gutters will come right back.
Drainage plays a significant factor in the health of your home’s foundation
Like any DIY renovation, proper planning before you start a can save a lot of headaches – and unexpected expenses – down the road. While it’s certainly more exciting to think about installing a big-screen TV or a stylish bar, keeping your basement warm and dry should be your first consideration. With that in mind, we’ve put together 10 basement remodeling tips to help keep your basement cozy, energy efficient, and waterproof, so you can enjoy your new space for years to come!
1. Don’t start until you’ve checked the building code and obtained all necessary permits.
Your project could face serious consequences if it’s not up to code, and you could be putting your home and your family in danger. This is particularly important if you’re planning plumbing and electrical work, which may have to be inspected. Know and follow the building codes. If you have questions, concerns, or you’re not sure your skills are up to the task, consult a licensed builder.
2. Check for moisture problems.
Moisture issues are a common basement concern, and if you don’t address them before starting your renovations, you could be setting yourself up for costly repairs down the road. Mold, insects, and high levels of humidity are all signs that you could have a serious basement moisture problem that’s beyond the fix-it skills of the typical DIYer. If you’re not sure what to look for, our experts can provide you with a free basement inspection and recommend the best waterproofing option for you.
Even if you don’t have a serious moisture problem, adding a vapor barrier to both the walls and floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces makes good sense. Lay down the moisture barrier, wait a day or two, then check underneath to see if and how much moisture may be coming through before continuing. If there’s still residual moisture after adding the vapor barrier, create a slight offset from the outside wall by adding thin slats of wood or metal called furring strips. These strips can also be used to help level out a wall that may be “wavy” to create a flat surface for adding framing. When it’s framed and insulated, face it with mold-resistant drywall.
3. Don’t skimp on the insulation.
Insulation will not only help control the temperature inside your basement, it will add another layer of moisture control. Plus, it will help dampen sounds coming in from the outside. Choose an insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides. Spray foam insulation can also be effective for basement walls, but check code requirements to ensure it allowed in your area.
4. Seal around rim joists.
Uninsulated rim joists (the joists on the outside edge of your basement walls) can create big energy losses. They can also be an easy entrance for mice or other pests. Insulate them with rigid insulation cut to fit. 2” extruded polystyrene is a good choice, but make sure it’s up to code. If you have a table saw, use it to cut strips equal to the depth of your joists. Then use a fine-tooth handsaw or utility knife to cut the strips to length. Fill small gaps with caulk, and the larger ones with expanding spray foam.
5. Seal around pipes and wires.
Seal small cracks around pipes and wires with high-temperature silicone caulk, and larger gaps with flame-resistant expanding foam. Close openings around chimney flues or other large openings by nailing sheet metal over them and sealing the edges with caulk. While they’re exposed, slip foam insulation sleeves over hot-water pipes to prevent heat loss and over cold-water ones to prevent condensation from dripping on the inside of the drywall or ceiling.
6. Add a drop ceiling.
A drop, or suspended, ceiling hides your plumbing and electrical lines, yet provides easy access to them if needed. Remember that drop ceilings will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind when planning your renovation.
To soundproof a drop ceiling, add fiberglass batts above the ceiling tiles, but make sure your tiles can bear the added weight. Although batt insulation is relatively lightweight, it can put enough stress on think drop ceiling tiles and break them. Don’t use fiberglass ceiling tiles – they can’t support the weight of insulation. If you’re thinking of using wood-and-gypsum ceiling tiles, they will need to be at least 5/8 inch (15 mm) thick to be used safely with batt insulation.
7. Make sure your flooring is waterproof.
You may be tempted to add carpeting or wood flooring to your new space, but that can be a bad idea. Even a waterproofed basement can fall victim to a malfunctioning sump pump, and one flood can ruin an expensive floor (see #10).
That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with a drab floor of gray concrete. Here are a few great basement flooring options:
- Epoxy floor coatings are good if you can live with a hard surface flooring. Epoxy coating is inexpensive, comes in a lot of colors, is totally waterproof, and easy to apply.
- Ceramic tile comes in an almost endless variety of colors and styles. In fact, you can even buy tile that looks amazingly like a wood floor! It’s unaffected by moisture and goes directly onto concrete that’s smooth and free of cracks.
- Vinyl tile and sheet flooring also goes directly over prepared concrete and will withstand even minor flooding. A vinyl floor can provide some cushioning underfoot, and it’s fairly inexpensive.
- Engineered wood flooring gives you the warmth and beauty of real wood with the stability and moisture resistance of laminate construction. Click-together tiles and planks are DIY-friendly and easy to install as a floating floor system. Check to make sure the type you choose is rated for below-grade basements.
- Rubber flooring comes in sheets and DIY-friendly tiles with interlocking edges. Rubber floors are nicely cushioned and come in a wide variety of colors, making them a good choice for basement playrooms.
Remember, no matter what flooring you choose, it’s important that you take steps to keep your basement as dry as possible. That means grading out foundation soil so it slopes away from foundation walls at least four inches over 10 feet, adding extensions to your downspouts so water exits at least five feet away from your house, and keeping gutters in good repair.
8. Consider your heating options.
Tying into an existing HVAC system will usually makes the most sense (and save the most dollars on remodeling costs). Remember, warm air rises, so it makes sense to install heating vents at floor level. For this reason, baseboard heating is also good option.
If cold basement floors are a problem, you can warm them up with electric heating cables or mats. This type of heat doesn’t warm the room much, but it makes floors much more comfortable.
9. Don’t remodel the utility room.
Keep the area around HVAC units and water heaters clear, open, and unfinished. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing. Plus, you’ll need access for inspection and/or repairs.
10. Have a backup plan for your sump pump.
It’s best to have both a battery backup for your main pump, in case of a power outage, and a second pump, in case the first one gives out. You can also install an inexpensive, battery-operated alarms that detect water to notify you if there’s water on your basement floor.
Call Team EverDry Today!
Before you remodel your basement, make sure it’s moisture free! Contact us online to
schedule an appointment
Here are some DIY basement waterproofing tips and things to consider before deciding if your basement is best handled as a DIY project or if you should leave this one to the professionals:
DIY Basement Waterproofing: Have You Done Your Research?
Once you’ve identified a method and have reviewed all of the steps that need to be completed for a successful basement waterproofing project, be sure to do a self-assessment. Do you have the skills, patience, and resources to complete this project? If so, happy waterproofing! If not, stop before you’re in too deep. There’s nothing worse than having to pay a contractor to come in to repair costly damages on top of completing the process for you.
Can You Complete this Project Safely?
Basement waterproofing can be a potentially dangerous process if the certain safety precautions aren’t taken. The project involves buried hydro and gas lines and excavation. Before getting started, it’s crucial that you know where the lines are located and safe excavation methods.
Can Your Body Handle the Work?
Basement waterproofing is a lot of work and requires some real physical strength and endurance. If you’ve kept your New Year’s Resolution to get stronger and are up to the task, be realistic about what you can handle; your health and safety depends on it! If not, there is no shame in calling in help.
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Specific tools are required for a successful basement waterproofing project. If you don’t have them already, consider if it’s worth the investment and if you can use the tools for future DIY projects.
Do You Need a Warranty?
If you have plans to sell your house in the near future, warranties on any repairs can be a win with potential buyers. Unless you’re willing to pack up your tools and head over to remedy any issues after you’ve handed over the keys, it could be beneficial to contract with a professional who can guarantee their work.
There are many factors to take into consideration when determining if your basement waterproofing project can be handled as a DIY project or if it’s best to leave it to the professionals. The reality is, there is only so much even the handiest of homeowners can do. When in doubt, it’s best to call the professionals.
Call Team EverDry Today!
For your next basement waterproofing project, contact us online to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (419) 841-6055. We also offer a
free 20-point inspection
5 Basement Party Ideas to Help You Plan NYE
Turning your basement into a party space for New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or expensive venture. Just a few simple decorating investments will make any basement space a festive and happy party palace!
#1 Brighten up the Walls
If your basement is unfinished, you may have concerns about how to make the walls look bright and festive. Turning gray or white concrete walls into an eye-popping backdrop for your party space isn’t difficult. Hanging colorful posters, tacking up shimmering fabrics, or even painting if you have the time are all simple and relatively inexpensive ways to spruce up your basement walls. Many party supply stores also sell temporary murals in holiday themes, which are easy to hang and add a festive touch to any wall.
#2 Music, Music, Music!
What’s a party without the music! One of the easiest ways to make your basement the perfect space for a celebration is by creating both a space to play music and a space to dance to it. Set up a stereo system in an easy to access corner and clear a space in the center of the room for a dance floor. You can even place temporary music related no-slip decals on the floor to add an extra special touch to the dancing space.
#3 String Lights
Christmas may be over, but don’t pack up those lights just yet. Hang multiple strings of Christmas lights around your basement to add an illuminating touch. Multi-colored lights give a lighthearted celebratory feel while white twinkling lights add a touch of class and sophistication.
#4 Hang Streamers
Streamers and other hanging decorations such as beads also add fun to your basement party space. Twist together multiple strands of colored streamers and hang them on walls, ceilings, and light fixtures, or invest in several strings of shiny beads and hang them from the ceiling.
#5 Don’t Forget the Balloons
Nothing turns an ordinary space into a party palace like balloons. Filling your party space with as many helium balloons as will fit will instantly turn the area into a party. As with the lights, colored balloons add a fun and festive flair, while silver, gold, and white balloons bring elegance to your party space.
No matter how you choose to decorate your basement party palace, have fun with it! New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration with friends and family, and your guests will love having a joyful space to ring in the New Year with you.
Contact EverDry Toledo!
Want to make sure your basement is party palace ready? Schedule your free inspection 20-point indoor/outdoor inspection and let Team EverDry help you create a space you’ll love! Contact us
Prepping your Basement for Guests
While your first thought when it comes to preparing your basement for guests might be cleaning, making beds, and decorating or adding other amenities, your initial focus should be on making sure the structure itself is in good guest condition. The last thing you want when you have family or friends staying in your basement is any flooding, freezing, or drains overflowing. To avoid those kinds of holiday disasters, follow these five tips before your guests arrive:
Tip #1 – Check for Water
Windows are a primary source of unwanted moisture in the home, so take a moment to check all basement windows for any signs of water. Any signs of water pooling can be an issue if you have any foundation cracks, so if you see them, either replace your window wells or purchase bubble window treatments for a more affordable, quick and temporary fix.
Tip #2 – Inspect Your Sump Pump
Look for any pooling water around your sump pump hose, including dips in the basement floor that could collect water. When it gets cold out, any water around your sump pump could freeze and cause the pump to stop working. Water should always flow away from the pump without issues, so if you do encounter any water, it’s important that you call in a professional for repairs as soon as possible.
Tip #3 – Seal Cracks
Exterior basement cracks can let water in during rain or snow storms, and the freezing temperatures can cause any trapped water to widen the cracks, setting the stage for mold issues down the road. To protect your basement from these problems, fill any foundation cracks with a silicone or hydraulic cement.
Tip #4 – Prep Your Pipes
If water freezes in your pipes, it can expand and cause cracks, leading to serious flooding issues. To avoid such costly damage and repairs needed after, prepare your pipes for the cold by wrapping them with heat tape or cables.
Tip #5 – Shovel
To avoid the ice accumulating near your foundation that can lead to flooding issues once melting begins, be sure to shovel any snow away from your home’s foundation as soon as possible. Also, avoid piling any snow or ice against your house when you do shovel, as this can also lead to excessive moisture and possible flooding in your basement.
Contact Team EverDry Today!
Don’t have the time to prep your basement for the holidays yourself, or just want to make sure every potential issue is spotted and resolved before your guests arrive? EverDry Toledo can help! Schedule an appointment today and get your free 20-point inspection. Contact us
Signs of Termites in Your Home Basement
According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause over $5 billion of property damage each year. There are three major classifications of termites based on their habitat:
In these environments, termites can create nests or mounds that are populated by one queen and up to thousands of male drones. These insects use tunnels or shelter tubes to collect food, bring it back to the nest, and protect themselves from predators. Termites can eat through plaster, plastic, foam, or asphalt to reach their food sources. The reason termites infest basements is because they need moisture to survive and will preferably choose damp wood over other food sources. There are a lot of ways to protect your home from these insects:
Tip #1 – Eliminate Their Food Source
Since wood is an attractive food source for termites, it should be kept away from the foundation. Wooden structures should not be in contact with the ground because it provides a direct pathway from the termite nest to food. All wooden structures should be at least six inches off of the ground, and all loose wooden debris should be picked up from around the outside of the house.
Tip #2 – Limit Mulch Use
A lot of homeowners use mulch to improve the aesthetic of their home, but the mulch also attracts termites. The wood in mulch has little to no nutritional value to the termites, but the moisture is what attracts these insects. Removing excess mulch can help you get rid of them.
Tip #3 – Reduce Humidity
Humidity creates moisture that the termites can use for survival. Crawl spaces in the basement become humid because of their size and lack of ventilation. You need to ensure that crawl spaces and other structures are well-ventilated to keep the humidity as low as possible. You also might want to consider getting a dehumidifier to help keep your basement dry. (Check out the E-Z Breathe Ventilator from EverDry Toledo!)
Tip #4 – Stop Moisture Build Up
The high moisture content of soil can make a structure more susceptible to termite attacks. There are several ways you can decrease moisture build-up:
- First, fix any leaky pipes that could be contributing to the soil moisture.
- Second, double-check to make sure that all drain pipes are unclogged.
- Third, grade the landscape around your house so that water can flow away from the building’s foundation.
Tip #5 – Create a Barrier
The natural water content of the soil evaporates and creates moisture in a building’s wooden structures. An excellent way to combat this is to lay down vapor barriers on top of the ground. These barriers keep the moisture restricted to the soil, increasing the chance for it to run downstream and away from building structures.
Get Your Basement Waterproofed Today!
One of the most important things that you can do to keep your basement dry and prevent termite infestation is waterproofing the basement. Effective waterproofing involves fixing any cracks that can let water inside the basement, installing the proper drainage system to take water away from the foundation, and using a sealant on the inside walls. Don’t let termites ruin your day! Schedule an appointment with Team EverDry today or give us a call at (419) 841-6055 to get started.
Stay connected with EverDry Toledo on Social Media!