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Preparing Your Basement and Foundation for Snowmelt

Water from melting snow can weaken your foundation and damage your basement. Find out how to protect these low-lying areas from melt-offs.

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While homeowners think that the biggest threat to their homes is the heavy rains, we in Fargo, ND, know that the inches of snow that melt in spring can cause as much damage as rainwater. Though slower than downpours, melt-offs can be just as damaging. 

Even the fluffiest snow can release huge amounts of water. Every foot of powdery snow has the potential to produce an inch of water. So, don’t procrastinate, as you never know what the snowmelts could do to your basement. 

We’ll look at common snowmelt problems in early spring and ways you can mitigate snowmelt to protect your home’s foundation and basement

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Melting Snow Problems 

Unless you take time to waterproof the basement before winter, you could end up with a flooded basement come spring. Warm weather will increase the rate of melt-offs. If the thawing snow around your home has nowhere to go, it’s going to collect around the foundation and put pressure on it. The following areas are vulnerable to melting snow and might get damaged: 

  • Floor and foundation walls 
  • Intersection of floor and walls 
  • Door and window frames 
  • Top of foundation walls 

Melting snow can cause moisture problems, basement flooding, and foundation leaks and cracks. Each of these issues poses significant risks to your home. 

Flooding can wreak havoc on your foundation, flooring, electrical systems, and the furniture in your basement. Excess moisture will instigate mold and mildew growth. 

Over time, the water that’s seeping into the foundation will also cause existing cracks to widen. This can lead to increased water infiltration and water damage. 

Protecting Your Home from Melt-offs 

First, remove all the snow piles close to your home. Ensure snow is at least a few feet away all around the perimeter. Make sure the exterior drainage is clear. If need be, dig paths for melting water to drain out from your yard. 

Remove the snow that collects on our roof too. This can create a barrier that will obstruct water flow and water will end up pooling around your foundation walls. Check that the downspouts are clear so melting snow can flow from the roof fast and drain away from your home. 

Your gutters and downspouts should be free of leaves and debris. Both can obstruct the natural flow of water causing it to flow over the walls and collect on your home’s perimeter. 

As part of your water control, heap sandbags around the foundation. These bags will create a barrier that will keep melt-offs out of your foundation. 

Check the exterior walls of your home, especially near the foundation walls for cracks, crevices, or gaps. Small cracks will allow water to seep through into your basement. Sealing stops water infiltration, a leading cause of basement dampness and humidity. 

How your landscape slopes also impacts exterior drainage. The higher the grade of your yard, the faster water flows away. The yard should slope by one inch for every six feet. 

Basement waterproofing with the right solutions is crucial to your basement‘s health. Install a sump pump in the lowest part of the basement and test it. Pair with an interior drainage system that goes under the subfloor. Basement humidity is likely to be more of a problem as the soil gives up its moisture. A dehumidifier will come in handy in drying out the basement air. 
Finally, reseal your basement windows, especially egress systems, and make sure that windows wells are firmly in place.

Whether snow lasts the entire winter this year or melts a few days to spring, it’s crucial to get your home ready to handle the melt-offs. The experts at Innovative Basement Authority can help you assess your basement and foundation for cracks that could allow water to seep in. We use industry-approved solutions and provide customers in Fargo, ND, with free basement waterproofing inspections and quotes.

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