Controlling moisture in your home’s basement could prevent issues down the road, including flooding and mold problems. It’s a common concern for many homes that could be caused by water leaks, surcharge, or flooding from storms. Some spaces are also naturally humid due to condensation.

While you might consider some quick fixes, such as using dehumidifiers or exhaust fans, waterproofing your basement is one of the best ways to prevent moisture in this space.

It might sound like a big undertaking, but it’s worth it, as it could prolong your home’s health. There are a number of benefits to getting the job done, including:

– Better Air Quality: Damp spaces are notorious for musty smells and mold, which erodes air quality. Waterproofing can keep out the moisture that fuels mold growth and create a healthier living environment.

– Energy Savings: Waterproofing creates a thermal barrier in your basement, which retains heat in your home. This is especially helpful in colder months, meaning you’re turning on the heat less and saving money.

– Structural Integrity: Waterproofing your basement can prevent flooding and water damage, which decreases the likelihood of structural damage to your foundation.

– Resale Value: While waterproofing your basement might be a costly job – on average it costs about $5,000 – but homeowners can expect a 30 percent return on their investment.

– Flooding Prevention: A professional can seal your basement with a waterproofing membrane, as well as any visible cracks or openings in the walls and floors to prevent flooding.

– Additional Living Space: Whether you want to create an at-home office, a recreational area, or additional bedrooms, waterproofing your basement can increase your home’s usable square footage.

How do you know you need to waterproof your basement?

When considering whether you need to waterproof your basement, here are a few signs to look for:

– Water Stains: Water marks on your walls or floor after a storm could be a sign that there is moisture in your basement.

– Musty Odor: If your basement smells damp, this is another sign that moisture might have infiltrated your basement.

– Efflorescence: This white, grayish salt deposit is a sign that water was previously on your walls and floor and has evaporated.

– Rust: Check the metal components in your basement for signs of rust, which could indicate rust and moisture.

How to waterproof a basement

When you call in a professional to waterproof your basement, there are several steps they might take:

1. Before anything else, any standing water needs to be removed and it should be completely dry before any work begins.

2. Once the basement is dry, the area needs to be cleaned and all mold, efflorescence, and rust should be removed. Old paint and other coatings should also be removed ahead of waterproofing.

3. Hydraulic cement should be used to plug any holes and cracks in the walls.

All entry points – windows, doors, and even window wells – should be caulked and resealed.

4. A waterproof coating should be applied to walls and floors.

5. Consider what exterior work, if any, needs to be done, including installing a trench drain. It’s disruptive work, but could be necessary to prevent moisture from getting into your basement in the future.

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