We are often asked how the water that causes a damp basement gets into the house. Many people have come to accept that their basement is always going to have something of a musty odor, and simply put up with this without trying to fix it. This is usually the case with basement areas that have not been finished, and are used primarily as a laundry area and for utility storage.
The truth is that in almost every case the fault is due to bad drainage around the perimeter of the home, and with a little professional help, this can be solved. Flooding after particularly heavy downpours, is a sure indication that this is where the problem lies.
Don’t just abandon the possibility of fixing the problem of a damp basement. The basement should be an area that one looks to for extra space and convenience, and there is no reason not to make full use of it for everyday living purposes.
The Problem May Be in the Garden
Landscaping can be the solution to your damp basement problems, and this does not have to involve major structural work to the ground around the house. A little bit of planning and foresight can go a long way to alleviating the problems that soggy soil and a high water table can cause in your property.
One of the main damp basement culprits is that of unplanned gardening. Flower and shrub beds close to the wall of the house are never a good idea. They may look good, but the downside is not worth it. By keeping plant beds away from the walls, one will not be tempted to saturate the soil immediately around the home with heavy watering or sprinkling. It’s amazing how ground water can find its way through walls and foundations, and it’s a very good idea to take steps to prevent this.
French Drains and Sump Pump
In those cases where the ground is naturally wet and soggy in the rainy season, one can effectively move ground water away from the foundations by means of an easily dug French drain. This is not an expensive process and once put into place, will effectively drain water away from the house without the need for constant maintenance.
If ground water cannot be controlled due to a high water table that is exerting pressure up against the foundations from below, the solution is to come inside and install internal drainage making use of a sump pump that will collect water that is entering the basement area, and pump it out and away a suitable distance from the house to where it will not be a problem.
Water Comes From Below and Above
Having said this, one has to always consider the possibility that the water is coming not from below, but from above! All the rain that lands on your roof has to go somewhere, and assuming that your roof is properly maintained and in good condition, the path down is through the gutters and downpipes.
Keeping Your Roof & Gutters Clean
The need to keep your gutters clean and free from the debris that inevitably collects over time, is essential. Blocked gutters will result in water running over the lip of the gutter, from where it can very easily find its way under the eaves and into the walls of the house. Alternatively, it may build up and find its way under the shingles and down into the building.
Let’s assume that the gutters are clean and running smoothly. Where is the water going to end up? It cannot go further than the spout where the downpipe discharges into your yard, and if that is close to the wall, you are exacerbating the problem, not helping it! Make sure that you lead the water away from the downspouts, using suitable hosing, so that the water discharges far from the house.
At the end of the day, try and determine exactly what the source of the problem is. The best way to do this, if it is not absolutely obvious, is to call in a professional company for advice.
We are here, ready to help. Give us a call and we will advise you as to the most effective and economical way to solve your damp problems.