Repairing your basement after it takes on any degree of water damage can feel like an impossible task. Not only may you find yourself mourning any belongings you lost, but the damage you’re contending with may have put your home’s structural integrity at risk.
The good news is that you’re under no obligation to try and take on your repairs without help. If you’ve noticed an uptick in the amount of moisture your home is taking on, or if you’re not sure where to start when it comes to repairs, you can reach out to the professionals serving your area. Together, you can inspect your home and go about repairing any damage that’s been done. In the meantime, you can also discuss means through which you may prevent that damage from reappearing in the future.
The Importance of Dealing with Basement Water Damage
Your basement’s health directly reflects the health of your entire home. If you start to notice water damage in your basement, it’s possible you may be contending with some manner of damage that puts your entire home’s structural integrity at risk.
Damage in your basement does more than just dampen your belongings and make the space less comfortable to inhabit. A damp basement is the perfect breeding ground for several different molds. If you let that damage sit for an extended period, the water that you’re contending with may sink down into your foundation, where it can disrupt the structural integrity of your home to the point where your property may begin to lose some of its value.
A home with a water damaged basement can lose up to 30 percent of its value if you ever go to sell it. So, while you may be reluctant to invest in any necessary basement repairs for fear of the cost, you can rest assured knowing that the sooner you undertake that work, the sooner you can bring your home’s value back up to equal to or more than its original standing.
The Causes Behind Basement Water Damage
Unfortunately, fixing a water-damaged basement isn’t always an easy task. Before you start, you’ll need to determine how water got into your basement and how best you should go about addressing your damage.
Some of the most common sources of unwanted basement seepage and similar effects include:
While the problems you may face in your basement can vary, you’ll be able to trace the vast majority of them back to hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure builds up outside of your home when water, either from rain, snow, or deep within the ground, starts to come into contact with your basement’s foundational materials. Water in both its liquid and gaseous state will force those materials to change temperature on a molecular level. As those materials’ temperatures fluctuate, they can begin to develop stress cracks. In turn, those cracks can allow unwanted moisture into the rest of your home.
If your basement ends up overexposed to this kind of pressure, the supports holding up your walls and the floors in the rest of your home can start to suffer severe structural damage. As mentioned, that moisture can even sink into your foundation, where it can destabilize your home and cause your foundation to begin to sink. Effectively, the longer you let this kind of damage sit, the more likely it is that you’ll see significant changes in your home’s structural integrity. Side effects can include bowing walls, squeaking floors, and gaps between your basement walls and the rest of your home.
While snow and rain tend to contribute the most force to the hydrostatic pressure impacting your home, moisture can also cause damage from inside your basement as well. The pipes in your basement and that make up your HVAC system are sensitive to high levels of humidity throughout your home. If exposed to this kind of moisture for an extended period, these pipes can begin to leak.
Unfortunately, water-damaged pipes tend to compound the moisture-related problems you may have already found yourself dealing with. As your pipes leak, they will add additional moisture to the air in your home. That moisture, in turn, will exacerbate the hydrostatic pressure you’re already contending with. As that pressure builds up, you may find yourself facing the bowing walls, squeaking floors, and gaps more frequently associated with rain-based flooding.
If you think contending with heavy rain or leaking pipes is bad, just wait until the unwanted moisture making its way into your home starts to freeze. As the weather gets colder, the water molecules that have made their way into your home can expand by up to nine percent. As these molecules expand, they can force the materials into which they’ve been absorbed—your furniture, for one, but also any wooden supports or concrete you have around your home—to crack.
Frozen soil can lift your foundation, too, causing severe damage to your basement floor while also dislodging your home’s structural supports. Some parts of your home will find themselves lifted higher than others. In turn, you may find yourself contending with cracks, uneven floors, and sinking walls all at once, even if you’re not seeing any active signs of flooding or other water damage inside of your home.
Pests and Infestations
It isn’t just hydrostatic pressure and the physical presence of water, however, that can make your home vulnerable to flooding. Certain animals and insects that interact with your basement’s supports can also open up cracks that may allow your basement to flood more easily.
Termites and carpenter ants, for example, are among the prime villains to address when the wooden supports in your home begin to fail. These insects can put significant stress on your home’s walls and, in turn, make it easier for those walls to crack and allow otherwise benign moisture into your space.
Similarly, rabbits, groundhogs, and other burrowing animals can cause your foundation to crack and moisture to get into your home. While these critters don’t actively work against your home, they can dig burrows up to 45 feet long beneath your home’s foundation. Those burrows will destabilize the soil beneath your home. In doing so, they can cause your foundation to begin sinking prematurely. In turn, your basement walls can start to bow, your floors can start to buckle and sag, and you may find yourself contending with severe flooding.
When you find yourself faced with animal or insect-caused basement floods, you’ll have to reach out to both the professional contractors in your area and to any exterminators they may be familiar with. Contractors, unfortunately, cannot remove unwanted animals or insects from your property. However, after an exterminator or animal control has visited your home, contractors can get to work repairing the damage that your unwanted visitors may have left behind.
There is always a chance, as well, that someone may have made an honest mistake while first establishing your home’s basement. A construction team, for example, may have used green wood to build up your structural supports, and that wood may have recently given out. Alternatively, your basement’s foundation or walls may not be up to code and may subsequently be failing.
When you’re faced with these man-made problems, you have a few different repair options available to you. The good news is that while you’ll still be contending with flooding, you may not have to worry about seeing similarly aggressive levels of hydrostatic pressure in your area after you’ve replaced your damaged supports or otherwise secured your home.
How to Repair Basement Water Damage
In the immediate discovery of floodwaters in your basement, you’ll want to:
- Shut off any failing pipes
- Remove pets and loved ones from the path of the water
- Shut off any breakers in the flooded area, but only if it is safe to do so
- Get in touch with disaster first responders in your area
- Get in touch with your insurance company
When it comes to repairing a flood-damaged basement, your options will vary. A basement that’s seeing flooding for the first time, for example, may not need the extensive repairs of a basement that’s been contending with flooding for a decade or so.
It is in your best interest, when faced with these situations, to talk over your options with the professionals in your area. This way, you can determine what kind of damage you’re faced with and which of your supports or structures, if any, may need replacing, patching, or repouring.
How to Prevent Basement Water Damage
Preventing water damage after you’ve invested in repair or even before your basement begins to flood isn’t as difficult as it might seem. One of the best ways to get ahead of this kind of damage is to install basement waterproofing measures.
Waterproofing measures are designed to actively decrease or redirect hydrostatic pressure away from your home. These measures can also physically repulse floodwaters that might otherwise make their way into your basement. Some of the most effective waterproofing measures available to you when you work with area contractors include:
- Interior drainage systems
- Sump pumps
- Vapor barriers
- Waterproof insulation
Unfortunately, no waterproofing measure is going to last forever. That’s why it is in your best interest to start scheduling annual home inspections. You can work with the professional waterproofers in your area to walk through your basement at least once a year with an eye out for signs of water damage. By consistently looking over your home and repairing any minor damage to either your basement or the waterproofing measures you have in place, you can save yourself a significant amount of money in flood mitigation and recovery-based home repairs.
Basement Water Damage
The rise of DIY culture has introduced hundreds of homeowners to different projects they can complete around their properties. When you’re faced with a flooding basement, however, you may want to leave the repair and installation work to the professionals in your area.
- The Cost of DIY
Many homeowners try to take on DIY basement flooding repair and waterproofing installation in an attempt to save money. Unfortunately, this kind of work can actually cost you more to complete on your own than it may if you chose to work with a professional. Your initial expenses, after all, are going to include the materials and tools you need to patch your basement or foundation back together. Contractors have ready access not only to special tools but also to deals within their industry that may allow them to purchase repair materials at less than market price. You, on the other hand, are going to not only have to research your preferred tools and repair materials but also purchase them without any deals of this sort readily available to you.
What’s worse is the cost of repairing any damage you might do while trying to conduct basement repairs on your own. If you make a mistake while you work, for example, you may find that you’ve made the damage already done to your home exponentially worse. In cases like these, you’ll need to call in professionals to help you recover from your mistake. Unfortunately, if a professional has to work around your attempts at DIY basement repair or waterproofing, then your eventual bill is going to be higher than it would have been had you reached out to contractors in the first place.
- Making Mistakes and Risking Your Health
Making mistakes does more than just cost you a pretty penny while you’re working on your home. If you do any damage to your basement’s structural supports, there’s a chance you may destabilize your home to the point where it is no longer safe to live in. Those sorts of mistakes won’t just be difficult to repair, but they’ll actively put your family’s health and well-being at risk.
Professionals have years of experience on their side. Not only will they know what kinds of supports they’re working with and how best to interact with them, but they’ll be able to complete repairs and installations in your basement in nearly half the time that you would, were you working on your own. With that speed and experience on their side, contractors can help you restore your home and keep your family safe from any flooding mishaps.
It is possible for floodwaters to reappear in your basement if you don’t go about repairing your home appropriately. That said, there are ways to get ahead of this type of damage before it appears and to prevent it from reappearing over time.
- Waterproofing Your Home
It is never a bad idea to invest in home waterproofing measures. When you waterproof your basement, you make it much more difficult for hydrostatic pressure to work against the integrity of your structural supports. In turn, you can keep water away from any belongings you have stored in your basement while also lowering your electric and water bills.
When it comes to choosing the best waterproofing measures for your home, however, you’ll want to take the kind of damage you’ve already faced into account. While it is advisable to pair waterproofing measures like interior drains and sump pumps with dehumidifiers and vapor barriers, this may not be the solution for every home. Each basement is different and requires its own unique set of repair solutions.
- Professional Guidance
If you’re having trouble figuring out which of the waterproofing solutions available to you may best suit your home, you can always ask for help. Even if you haven’t seen water in your home yet, a professional can walk through your basement with you and let you know whether or not there is a certain waterproofing measure that may best suit your needs.
Note that no waterproofing measure is going to last forever. Over time, you’ll want to continue inviting professionals back into your space to ensure your waterproofing measures are taken care of and replaced as they should be.
Estimating the Cost of Basement Water Damage Repair
The cost of repairing and waterproofing your basement may be off-putting at first glance. After all, it’s never easy to estimate just how much your repair work may cost you. Frugal homeowners may be tempted to either DIY their home repair or invest in less-expensive waterproofing measures to try and save a bit of money.
The good news for all homeowners concerned about their budgets is that you have an opportunity to determine how much repairs and waterproofing installations may cost you before you commit to any set plan. The professionals in your area can inspect your home with you before providing you with a free quote noting what services might suit you best. You can look over this quote in your own time and mix and match services to better fit your budget.
Even if you find yourself balking at the cost of your basement flooding repairs, don’t dismiss your repair plan just yet. You’ll want to consider just how much more expensive your eventual repairs may be if you let this kind of damage sit. The longer you allow water damage to work on your basement, the more severe the damage to your structural supports and other property features, ranging from your foundation to your front patio to your driveway, is going to be. When you invest in repairs before this damage appears, you can get ahead of unexpected damage, retain your home’s overall value, and keep your family comfortable and healthy.
Prevent Future Water Damage in Your Basement with Help from Professionals
No one wants to come home to a flooded basement. Luckily, if you’re contending with water damage or want to get ahead of it, the contractors serving eastern Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota can lend you a helping hand. Reach out to the expert team at Innovative Basement Authority today to schedule a home inspection and to secure a free services quote.