Stop basement water leaks before they go from nuisance to major headache

2013-11-09T09:00:00Z Stop basement water leaks before they go from nuisance to major headacheMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent
November 09, 2013 9:00 am  • 

When new homes are built, the decision is made whether to use a basement, crawl or slab foundation.

Even if you don’t finish rooms in a basement right away, the opportunity will always be there as your family grows and changes. Plus, when the time comes to sell your home, the basement can offer one of the greatest returns on your investment – as long as it’s dry.

However, everyone knows basements are vulnerable to water seepage. In fact, water intrusion through the foundation is typically the single biggest complaint homeowners have about their basements.

“A waterproofed basement allows you to confidently claim more livable space, prevents any harmful effects from mold or mildew issues on your family and can even help your house sell faster and for more money,” Jim Burke of Illiana Basement Waterproofing said. “Plus, if you are thinking of selling, the current law requires you to disclose any knowledge of seepage on a disclosure form to protect the buyer.”

According to Burke, who answers questions online at “The Home of the Leaky Professor,” surface water can buildup around the foundation of any home and lead to a leaky basement.

“If the soil around your home becomes saturated with water, the extra weight can create pressure that forces water into your home,” he explained. “When the groundwater levels outside the basement rise above the level of the floor, the basement acts like a boat in a pond. If a boat is sitting in water, water will leak in through any open cracks or holes. It works the same way with a basement. Hydrostatic pressure pushes the water into the basement through even the smallest cracks and joints, with water most commonly being pushed through the floor-wall joint. Hydrostatic pressure on the walls also pushes moisture through porous concrete block into your home, where the drier air inside of your basement sucks it up and makes your basement air more humid. Left unchecked, that excess condensation can cause mold and mildew. Most people don’t even realize it’s there. A rust spot under paint cans is a warning sign.”

The top two reasons why people reach out to Illiana Basement Waterproofing are wall cracks or interior/exterior drain tile systems.

“Usually these problems are weather-related one way or another, and people are always surprised to learn that any extended drought actually adds to the problem,” Burke said. “We’re definitely more busy in the spring. That’s why the fall is a good time to do some preventative maintenance. Most people don’t want to live with water in their basements, but they are afraid to call a professional. They try to find and fix the problem themselves or decide to just live with the problem. I’m here to tell you that many people are amazed when they get an estimate for just hundreds of dollars versus thousands of dollars. Their response is always the same, ‘Wow, if only I’d known that a long time ago.’”

A full-service company, Illiana Basement Waterproofing also handles sump pump installation or replacement, yard drainage, foundation stabilization with carbon fiber straps, elimination of sewer backup and above-grade brick sealing.

“One aspect of our business that is growing through word of mouth is crawlspace encapsulation,” Burke added. “The results are truly amazing – people are thrilled to have a clean, dry, sanitary storage area. Plus insulating a crawl space reduces energy costs and improves indoor air quality by controlling allergens such as mold and dust mites throughout the home.”

When making decisions about where to spend money on a home improvement project, many people overlook the crawlspace. However, this decision should be revisited, according to Burke.

“Any crawlspace can be encapsulated and become bright and usable,” he said. “ Like mold, dust mites need moisture to survive, so your main weapon of defense it to eliminate moisture. A dirt or stone crawl space is by far the number one source of moisture in a home. The EmeSeal System permanently seals moisture out of the crawl space area, eliminating musty smells in the home as well.”

With the holiday season approaching, many people are looking forward to transforming their crawl spaces in between the time they remove their stored decorations from the dark, damp, dingy space and when they need to be returned.

Waterproofing your basement or encapsulating your crawl space can do much more than help you rest easy. Find out how you can increase your home’s value, prevent mold and mildew as well as ultimately strengthen and protect the foundation from water damage.

“Whenever there’s a big spring rain storm, people who have been getting some water over time may finally get deluged,” Burke said. “That’s the time of year everyone becomes impatient for an estimate. Everybody want to get on board – it’s a good problem to have, but we really want to educate people and let them know that these issues can be addressed – usually very reasonably - long before they become a big problem.”

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