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Why Is It So Hard To Waterproof An Older Home?

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There’s nothing quite like seeing how the world used to look in St. Cloud, MN. The area’s older homes are like a window back in time. Take a walk through one, and you’ll get an idea of how your grandparents and their grandparents used to live.

Unfortunately, these older homes come with quirks. Older homes, after all, are more prone to leaks that homes built within the past ten years. Why? Because since their construction, grading and construction requirements have changed.

What can you do, then, to waterproof an older home, and how can you determine whether or not you have a leak on your hands?

What Causes Leaks in Older Homes?

It’s not just one big event that’s going to push your home over the edge. Leaks in new and old homes alike usually appear when the home has been put under environmental stress from an extended period of time. What allows that stress to build?

The most common sources of leak-related stress include:

  • Poor grading
  • The lack of waterproofing solutions in play
  • Foundations made out of gravel, stone or brick
  • Intense hydrostatic pressure
  • Shifting soil

Waterproofing Older Homes: The Challenges

As mentioned, older homes were made before the construction requirements homeowners have in place today were instituted. Nowadays, for example, new homes will have a foundational footing meant to help keep them secure. Older homes – whose basements were primarily used as storage facilities – didn’t have this footing. If today’s contractors, then, try to dig out the perimeter of an unfooted home, they risk destabilizing the entire foundation.

How to Waterproof Older Homes

What can you do, then, to protect your home from the worst of the St. Cloud, MN, weather? There are still many waterproofing solutions available to you. These include:

  • Clean out your gutters – Cleaning out your gutters is far from fun, but doing so could save you money. How? If you keep your gutters clear, rainwater won’t come crashing down onto the perimeter of your home. As a result, there will be less water by your foundation. Less water means less of a chance for cracks to develop.
  • Redirect your downspouts — Similarly, it’s best to ensure that your downspouts direct rainwater either into the street or far out into your lawn. If your downspouts aren’t properly redirected, you risk exposing your foundation to unnecessary hydrostatic pressure.
  • Check your window wells and sills for water damage – Rainwater will also easily find its way into your home if you haven’t caulked your window wells or sills. Go over your sills and wells to ensure nothing’s been damaged in the recent rains and that your original job – or patch job – is still holding up.
  • Inspect your basement and foundation for cracks – Most foundation and basement repair professionals offer free quotes and inspections to help you determine whether or not your home is actually leaking. Take advantage of these offers! The professionals may be able to catch the signs of a leak that you missed.
  • Install a sump pump and interior French drain You can always install an interior French drain around your basement perimeter to collect seeping water, as well as a sump pump system to pump the water out of your basement. These installation processes will take a bit of work, but nothing so extensive as to compromise the structural integrity of your home. Your local basement waterproofing contractor will be able to help with this essential task.

Waterproofing your home doesn’t have to be a chore – but it also shouldn’t be something you take on without professional guidance. If you try to DIY a waterproofing solution for your older home, you may find yourself with a significantly worse leak than the one you started with. Why? Because without the appropriate certification to work on a home, you could damage your basement and foundation while trying to install repairs.

Not only will DIY-ing a leak solution make the damage in your home worse, but it will also run up your eventual repair bill. After all, a professional will have to uninstall your DIY solution before they can get started on their own work.

When in doubt, it’s always best to reach out to a professional contractor. If you’re looking to protect an older home, take advantage of a free inspection and estimate today so you can see which waterproofing solutions may serve your home best.

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