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Low and Dry: Keeping a Basement Safe from Water Seepage

One of the major issues a homeowner with a basement has to face is protecting that lowermost floor from getting inundated with water or moisture. Eventually, water will find its way down to the foundation and the basement’s levels—and collect within that basement if there are no safeguards put in place.
Low and Dry: Keeping a Basement Safe from Water Seepage
Safeguarding a basement means basement waterproofing. For best results, a homeowner must safeguard a basement using two approaches: structural and “proactive.”

Structural Approach
The structural approach relies on proper architectural planning and building execution. This means that, right from the start, a basement must be built strong enough to withstand and keep out any water that may come into it. It’s not just the force of a minor flood which it must keep out. A basement should be able to keep out seepage from surrounding wet ground. This is especially true for areas rich in groundwater.

In addition, a basement must contain sealers and waterproof coatings for both the interior i.e., interior wall and floor, and exterior i.e., exterior walls in direct contact with ground.

However, on rare occasions, serious water seepage can also occur in places that barely see rainfall, if the ground around the home is prone to waterlogging. And over time, even the best-built basements will develop cracks. The ground beneath the entire house can shift, placing pressure on the basement’s structure and creating cracks in the walls that water can get into.

When this happens, both structural and wall surface repairs will have to be made. This can range from simply applying sealant to spots in the walls, to hiring a building contractor to rebuild the entire basement.

“Proactive” Approach
For some basements, an additional and more aggressive water seepage-prevention approach is needed. In such cases, sumps and a sump pump or basement pump are needed.

A sump is a slightly lower, depressed area in the ground outside the home or within the basement floor, where water can naturally pool into. Sumps can lead to a storm drain, dry well, or infiltration basin, so that the any water eventually gets led to another place away from the home, either the city sewage-drainage system or the natural underground aquifers in the area.

In case that isn’t enough, some basement sump-and-drainage systems are equipped with a sump pump, which can help drain the water from sump basins, whether outside the home or inside a basement, at a faster rate. Some commercial sump pumps come with a garden hose connector, so that any pumped-out water can be used to irrigate another area of a homeowner’s property and help reduce water wastage.

However, sump pumps can be expensive and prone to clogging themselves. Homeowners who opt to use these will eventually need the help of professionals to do a commercial pump rebuild or repair.

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