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IBA Crew installing Basement Waterproofing

Basement Waterproofing

Water is essential, but other than coming out of faucets for specific needs, you do not want water in your house. This powerful element and force of nature can wreak havoc on your home.

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The last thing that any homeowner wants to deal with is water in their basement. Standing water can leave your basement in ruins and create problems for the rest of your home, as well as being extremely difficult to handle on your own. There are a few reasons why your basement gets wet such as sump pump failure, cracks in your foundation or floor slab, leaky water heaters, or plumbing floods. All can cause severe damage to the structural integrity of your home and lead to mold infestations. When you choose to waterproof your basement, you’re protecting your most valuable asset, your home, as well as your loved ones from the risks of basement water. At Innovative Basement Authority, we have almost two decades of providing proven waterproofing systems and solutions for homeowners in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana.  


Causes of Your Wet Basement

None of these signs are pleasant to experience, and there could be several reasons why your basement and the rest of the house has these problems. But something at the heart of many of these issues is the ground on which your home was built.

The soil underneath and around your house, as well as the health of that soil, has a tremendous impact on the structure.

There are many kinds of soil throughout the country and the world, but there are three basic ingredients that make up soil and its texture – silt, clay and sand, as well as a combination of any or all them. NASA Earth Observatory maps show how much of these ingredients can be found across the country. Faster-draining sandy soils can be found in southern states. Clay soils that hold onto water and silt soils that tend to have intermediate drainage properties are found across the country.

The West North Central region that includes Minnesota, North Dakota and eastern Montana has a good mix of all three. You can find out specifically what soil you are dealing with by searching your address through the Web Soil Survey from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. 

A very large hole had to be dug in the ground to accommodate your home’s foundation and its construction. Once the foundation floor and walls were built, a gap remained between the walls and the rest of the earth. The soil that was dug out was then replaced or “backfilled” to fill that gap.

This backfilled soil is loose, fluffy, and not as dense compared to undisturbed soil on the property. This allows water to collect in the soil immediately surrounding the house and create a “clay bowl,” as well as put pressure on the walls. 

This constant force exerted on the walls by saturated soil is known as hydrostatic pressure. When this force becomes too much for the walls to handle, they will begin to crack and bow inward. Water can easily find its way in through any cracks and openings, and your home’s structural stability also is at risk.

The backfilled soil around your home will settle over time, and it can sink towards your foundation at a sloped angle. Ensure the ground around your home’s foundation has proper grading and slopes away from the home, not toward it. It should be at least one inch per foot for six feet. Draining water in the wrong direction can cause it to accumulate next to your foundation, contribute to hydrostatic pressure, and eventually seep into the basement. This is likely to happen when you don’t compact the fill dirt around the foundation.

Mother Nature can be unpredictable at times, and Minnesota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana all see their fair share of wild weather. Heavy rainstorms can dump a lot of water on the ground with nowhere to go, and wintertime snow melt results in runoff water. All this water can then find its way inside through saturated soil and wall cracks.

A footing drain was installed just outside the foundation walls as your home was constructed to help keep water away. But this drain can easily clog and allow water to collect by the walls. 

Similarly, if you have clogged or above-ground exterior drainage pipes, water can easily puddle next to your home and find its way inside any crack or gap in porous block foundation walls. Above-ground downspout conductor lines also are tripping and safety hazards, so placing these lines in the ground and directing them far away from your home is the best way to keep water from downspout conductor lines out of the house.

The best basement waterproofing method involves interior drainage, and a reliable sump pump is at the heart of this system. Many sump pump systems are installed with metal basins placed in the floor. They typically have lids that rest on top of the basin as well as openings for discharge pipes. Some may not have lids at all, rendering them ineffective troublemakers. The metal basins can easily rust and corrode, and partial or nonexistent lids allow water to evaporate back into or flood the basement. This leads to unpleasant odors and moisture issues that defeat the purpose of the sump pump in the first place. Debris and other items also can easily fall into the system and damage the pump if the sump pit is not completely covered.

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Is Basement Waterproofing the Right Solution for Me?

The vast majority of foundation damage is caused by water. Not only does water infiltration cause structural damage, but a leaking foundation can lead to several other problems, such as mold growth, increased humidity, and musty odors. At Innovative Basement Authority, we offer foundation waterproofing solutions to help you combat foundation water problems, protecting the safety and stability of your home for years to come.   

FAQs

The average homeowner will be able to spot obvious damage such as leaking, floods, or cracks around their basement. However, there are often other, subtler signs of damage that you might not catch that will help you prevent the worst damage from occurring. 

  • Musty Smell  

If you notice a rather rank smell permeating throughout your first floor but nowhere else in your home, it is possible your basement has flooded or is facing other moisture-related issues. It will not help if this space grows overly warm and makes any water or even raw sewage that managed to seep through smell even worse. 

It is also good to keep in mind that this musty smell may come from other additional sources as well. Mold and mildew often tend to give off musty stenches of their own. Pests may also emit certain odors to attract others of their kind to your home as well. 

  • Shifting Walls  

Pay attention to any shifts in your home’s infrastructure. Your home’s foundation is meant to keep your home steady and upright. It also keeps the lower levels of your home relatively dry. Of course, if your basement is constantly facing moisture issues, chances are your foundation might also face similar damage without your knowledge. 

When your walls, doorways, or window sills begin to tilt out of alignment, you can bet that the problem lies with your foundation. A shifted or uneven foundation allows more moisture to flood your basement. It is a vicious cycle that only feeds into more property damage. This is why you need to call the basement experts at Innovative Basement Authority to inspect your basement right away! 

Most homeowners are able to recognize when their  current drainage systems are faulty. However, smaller issues can quickly grow out of control, too.  

It can be difficult for homeowners to pinpoint the true origin of these issues. Here are a couple of ways to know your basement is facing any waterproofing issues you might not be able to spot 

  • Consider the Climate  

The climates in Midwestern states like Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and eastern Montana all tend to be the same. You face hot, humid summers and cold, snow-laden winters. Both can result in excess moisture soaking into the soil around your foundation and infiltrating your basement. This leads to leaks, flooding, and foundational issues.  

Excess moisture threatening this space can be especially dangerous. A severe storm might wash away the supporting soil under your foundation and cause it to shift or even crack altogether. As a result, you might find your basement flooding more often. 

  • Hire a Basement Inspector  

While some projects like painting can be completed through DIY work, basement waterproofing is not one of them. It’s important to have the right solutions at hand to fix the specific problems you are facing with your leaking basement. 

Therefore, you need to leave any basement repairs or installations to the basement experts at Innovative Basement Authority. We have worked in countless basements and implemented several different basement solutions tailor-made for each home. Leave any repairs to us and reap the benefits of a dry basement today!

If you have noticed spreading cracks in your basement flooring, don’t panic. This may be a serious issue, but it is not a disaster. There are many solutions available to fix cracks in a basement floor and prevent them from recurring at a later date. We at Innovative Basement Authority specialize in foundation repair and basement waterproofing measures. Our team is expert in identifying the precise causes of damage and dampness in a basement and will be able to provide you with a solution that is entirely tailored to your property and situation.   

When it comes to fixing a cracked and leaky basement floor there are four basic steps our team always takes.   

Investigation and Drainage 

Investigating the precise causes of cracks in a basement floor is an important step that cannot be missed. If all the contributing factors are not discovered and dealt with, the cracks will simply recur. The list of possible factors include foundation heave, hydrostatic pressure, settlement, and subsidence. Each of these will cause different secondary problem signs to show themselves.  

Our team members are very skilled at identifying underlying causes. Once we know exactly what is causing the cracks in your basement floor, our team will take steps to prepare it for repair. This means draining any standing water in your basement to ensure your space is in the best possible shape to go ahead with repairs.   

Waterproofing and Restoration 

Waterproofing measures are a necessary step when it comes to repairing this kind of damage in your basement. If you have foundation damage, this will need to be repaired before we can finalize the repairs to your basement floor. If your foundation is intact, there are several potential waterproofing measures that can be taken to help manage the water seeping into your property through the cracks in your basement floor.    

Once the source of the cracks has been addressed and the dampness in your basement is under control, our team will restore your floors to their former state. By backfilling cracks and applying fresh concrete, our team will leave you with a smooth and flawless finish. You should let this new layer cure for three days before you walk on it or apply weight to the surface.   

Problem signs often signify damage that has already been done. The most an average homeowner can do after spotting them is to call foundation experts like Innovative Basement Authority to repair these issues. Identifying what causes your walls to tilt or bow in the first place is key to the prevention of further damage. 

  • Hydrostatic Pressure 

If you live in a humid or wet climate like Minnesota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana, you may find the soil around your home constantly taking on a lot of water. Severe storms, humidity, and melted snow all contribute to this huge influx of moisture both in the air and condensing around your home. The more water your soil attempts to absorb, the heavier it gets. This can put immense pressure against your foundation, which in turn will cause it to shift or even crack. This is known as hydrostatic pressure. 

Hydrostatic pressure can also crack your foundation from within as well. Moisture might become trapped within your concrete basement walls or foundation. This moisture will freeze in the winter, causing the ice to expand and thus break your foundation. 

  • Clay Bowl Effect 

The fault may not even lie with poor foundation maintenance, but a defect that comes from how foundations are constructed. Contractors will dig a large hole in the ground where they plan to lay your home’s foundation and basement. Once these pieces are installed, they will then backfill some of the soil around the remaining space left.  

Unfortunately, this makes the soil much looser than before. This makes it much easier for a heavy storm to wash that soil away. Your foundation will either shift from its original position or settle and crack altogether.  

Moisture can be quite tricky to deal with, especially if it ends up pooling in your basement. Leaks, floods, mold, and other moisture-related issues can certainly be a hassle. You then might want to know how this water is even able to infiltrate your home in the first place. Leaks alone have a variety of causes, leading many Sioux Falls homeowners to look them up, so they can implement repairs to stop them. However, it is always best to leave any repairs to the basement experts at Innovative Basement Authority. We will do a thorough sweep to ensure that we will not miss any possible repairs you might overlook. 

Leaks can form from rainwater or melted snow absorbed in the soil starting to press up against the walls from the outside. This can cause your walls to start leaking over time. Ignoring small leaks is not a good idea whatsoever. They always can expand out wider and flood your crawl space if you do not repair them in time. Similarly, your basement walls might start to bow in from this pressure. This moisture also may stem from broken plumbing pipes, which can create a whole slew of other problems, too. 

Cracks along your basement walls or floor can also allow water to more easily flow into the basement. Indeed, moisture can help to widen cracks even further and thus lead to leaks widening as well. It is a perpetual loop that can only be stopped once you call the experts to repair this damage in your basement as soon as possible. Our interior drainage system is top-notch and can protect your basement against any leaks or large floods. We can also implement other repairs such as closing up cracks.

An interior drainage system will be installed around the inner perimeter of your Twin Cities’ basement, as its name implies. The only visible portion of this system will be the wall flange installed along the wall and floor joint. Most of the water from leaks tends to gather here. The system then will capture any moisture that tries to seep into your basement and redirect it to the powerful sump pump, the heart of the entire drainage system.

The sump pump has a complex float system that lets it know how much water has entered its system. Once it reaches a specific amount, the pump will then activate on its own and work to pump water away from your home. You will not have to worry about rushing to turn it on yourself in the middle of a storm, for instance. Our pumps can drain thousands of gallons of water. Should your power go out during a blizzard, if you have a battery backup attached to the sump pump, it will still keep churning out water, slush, and ice from your home with ease.

It also has an alarm system that will sound once it turns on and when it is running on low battery power. You can call our basement experts to replace the back-up battery so that it will not shut down in the middle of a huge storm. Installation of this system typically takes less than a day and will not interfere with any other pipes around your home. You can enjoy a completely waterproof basement after just a few hours.

Why is Basement Waterproofing Needed?

white mold on wood

Protects Your Home Against Mold  

Mold, rot, and dust mites all have a common weakness: they all need ample moisture and humidity to survive. When humidity levels drop below 60%, they will not be able to thrive. Mold and dust mites can wreak havoc on both your health and your home like no other. In just a few years, they can significantly damage your home and personal property, while allergens from mold spores and dust mite waste damage your health. By sealing out humidity from outside air and elements with a vapor barrier and installing a dehumidifier, you can protect yourself from mold and dust mite problems. 

closeup of bowing wall gap

Protects It from the Effects of Hydrostatic Pressure 

A well-designed drainage system and landscape go a long way toward preventing hydrostatic pressure. But you may still experience issues with subsurface water and underground water that has soaked the soil rather than drained away. This water fluctuates seasonally with changes in rainfall, resulting in hydrostatic pressure. The most effective solution to this is installing interior drains. Interior drains relieve the buildup of pressure against the structure and block moisture from seeping through your walls and causing a wet basement. 

home for sale

Increases the Value of Your Property 

By waterproofing your basement, you are also increasing the value of your home. When you go to sell your home, a waterproof basement appreciates your home’s value by offering more living space. It also increases the resale value of the house; on the other hand, if waterproofing is not done in the basement, then houses are often sold at a much lower price. Having waterproofing systems in place also protects your home from future damage resulting in costly repairs. 

Common Basement Waterproofing Tips & Mistakes

Helpful Tips for Waterproofing Your Basement 

  • Waterproofing the basement will reduce the energy costs of your house. When the basement does not have any mold or cracks, then limited cool air will enter your house during the winters. Similarly, during summers, the seepage and moisture in the house cause your HVAC systems to work harder to get rid of moist air. This will ultimately reduce the energy bills for your house and make your living environment more comfortable.  
  • Gutters’ main purpose is to catch rainwater and whisk it away through downspouts. If your house doesn’t have gutters, it’s a good idea to install them. Gutters with proper downspouts and downspout extensions are a great way to keep water away from the edge of the home’s foundation and away from the basement. If you already have gutters, it’s best to regularly inspect and clean them to make sure they’re not crammed with debris or have any damage. Consider installing gutter protection as well, such as a gutter guard to prevent debris from clogging up your gutters. 
  • Condensation and humidity can make a basement damp. Condensation occurs when water from cold pipes reacts to warm air. To stop condensation from forming, you can insulate your pipe with foam insulation. You can also insulate the walls of your basement to help prevent condensation. You can reduce the level of humidity by using a dehumidifier. These alongside other waterproofing systems increase efficiency in your HVAC systems.  

Mistakes to Avoid When Waterproofing Your Basement  

  • The soil immediately outside of your foundation is less dense than the rest of the soil surrounding your property due to the loosely compacted backfill soil. With that said, the top six inches of that soil will be spongy and soak up more water than the rest of the soil. To keep this from happening and allowing that soaked-up moisture to enter your foundation, your yard needs to be properly graded to ensure any water runoff flows away from your home. 
  • Many homeowners think that they’ll be able to save time and money with DIY repairs. However, we recommended that when it comes to waterproofing your basement, you call in the experts. Most of the solutions that you can purchase in big box stores end up being temporary and causing more damage. Things such as waterproofing paint or sealant cause lime in concrete to create an effervescence bubble between the wall and the paint, which will eventually break off and cause a bigger issue.      
  • Basement waterproofing goes beyond the basement itself. If you’ve experienced water in your basement, you may need to turn your efforts outside. The water may have come as a result of mismanaged water runoff. Check to make sure that your home is adequately equipped with properly placed gutters and downspouts. The water needs to be directed at least eight feet away from your foundation to efficiently prevent water from leaking into your foundation and then into the interior of your basement. 

Find your service area

Bismarck, ND

Bismarck, ND

Extreme weather is common in Bismarck. Cracks and leaks are familiar results, but they should be addressed right away. Trust Innovative Basement Authority.

Fargo, ND

Fargo, ND

Fargo’s hot, humid summers and freezing winters put stress on a home’s foundation. These extreme elements need constant monitoring when it comes to the health of your home.

Grand Forks Metro Area

Grand Forks Metro Area

Snowy winters and hot, humid summers are all too common for Grand Forks homeowners. These conditions, plus the area's soil, put your home at risk.

Saint Cloud, MN

Saint Cloud, MN

Homes throughout Minnesota, but especially in Saint Cloud, deal with foundation problems. From leaking basements to musty crawl spaces, Innovative Basement Authority can help.

Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls, SD

The soil around your Sioux Falls home could play a big role in why you’re having foundation problems. The clay soil expands and shrinks, causing major problems.

Duluth-Superior Metro Area

Duluth-Superior Metro Area

Located in the heart of Minnesota’s Land of 10,000 Lakes, your Duluth-Superior home is likely to experience foundation problems. Find a permanent solution for your home.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro Area

Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro Area

Those in the Midwest are used to harsh elements. However, your Minneapolis-Saint Paul home is not. Foundation problems like flooding in areas with a lot of snow and rain are all too common.

Rochester

Rochester

The red soils so commonly associated with the Midwest cause structural failure. Helical piers, concrete lifting, and other solutions can protect homes from damage.

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    Innovative Basement Authority Service Map

    We service Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Eastern Montana for basement waterproofing and crawl space repair.

    Fargo, ND

    1330 41st St. N
    Fargo, ND 58102

    Minneapolis, MN

    6265 Carmen Ave.
    Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

    Rush City, MN

    1325 S Frandsen Ave
    Rush City, MN 55069

    Sioux Falls, SD

    101 S. Reid Street, Suite 307
    Sioux Falls, SD 57103