Spring is just around the corner and there are things you need to do to get your home ready for spring and the possible flooding snowmelt can bring. Wet basements can damage walls and flooring, ruin photo albums and become a breeding ground for molds and inspects.
The first question is…where is the water coming from? Could it be from surface water running down foundation walls, or from groundwater being pushed into the basement from water-saturated soils? Are the gutters damaged from winters ice?
The first time you experience basement water problems, check for surface water draining against the foundation. If water is coming in at only one location from the exterior foundation wall, you are most likely experiencing a surface water problem.
Managing water run-off from your roof is the most effective method to prevent a wet basement.
Are gutters overflowing because they are blocked with leaves?
Does the home have enough downspouts? If not, add another one, or increase the size of the downspout.
Do the downspouts extend 10 feet from the home?
Have paved areas next to the home settled and now slope towards the house?
Are joints properly sealed where the pavement abuts the house?
Grade is the slope of the ground. Your house should be at the highest point so water will always flow away from the foundation. Any pooling of water against the foundation will lead to a wet basement.
Does the ground around the home slope away at least 10 feet?
Are there depressions in the ground next to the home?
Do the sprinklers hit the home?
If you don’t see water on the surface, your may have groundwater entering the basement through hydrostatic pressure. This happens when groundwater levels outside the basement rise above the level of the floor.
Hydrostatic pressure pushes water through hairline cracks. Just think of your basement as a boat on a pond. Any cracks or holes in the boat would take in water. Basements react the same way
The best way to control water from entering a basement is to install a drain system. Here are some basic types of drain systems for wet basements.
A perimeter above-slab gutter system installed at the base of the exterior foundation walls on top of the floor slab is one option. It doubles as a base material for the wall.
A below slab perimeter drainage system. The below slab system requires the partial removal of the concrete floor slab and installation of drainage pipe.
And sometimes, something as simple as a sump pump can handle the job.
If you are experiencing water intrusion in your basement, you may want to consult an experienced contractor to determine the best application of these ideas for your home.
More tips to get your home ready for spring:
- Check your attic for any ice damage. Check the underside of your roof for holes, gaps, wet spots and mold. You will need to repair damage to your attic to prevent water from leaking into your home during spring rains. Look for signs of insects, rodents, and birds. Keep attic ventilation and vents cleared.
- Check the window wells for any blockages or blocked drains. When window wells become blocked, rainwater accumulates, and you will have water damage in your basement. Cleaning out window wells is an easy step and will save you from a flooded basement.
3. Gutters and downspouts need to be inspected. In the spring, gutters need care because of the ice and snow that covered them all winter. Walk around your home and check gutters from the ground, you will be able to see if something has come loose. Also, to make sure water is making its way out of the downspouts and away from the foundation, get out your ladder and climb on the roof when it is safe to check for any clogs in the drainage system.
- Check for cracks in your foundation, patio, and walkways. Cracks will allow water to get into your house and cause damage. Fill these cracks as soon as you can to avoid paying for repairs after spring rains. Also check for water pooling around your foundation as this could cause water damage inside.
- Repair windows that have winter damage. Replace the caulking and check wood trim for signs of decay. Caulking and painting will help keep your air conditioning bills down in the summer months.
- Winter is always hard on roof shingles. After the snow is gone from your roof, check your shingles and chimney to see if there is damage. Fix loose, cracked shingles before the summer heat hits and causes more damage
7. Move stored items away from your foundation and house. Stacking firewood up against your house may have been a good idea in the winter, but when spring comes, that damp wood could cause damage to the siding on your home and breed a variety of insects including termites
- Spring is the best time to clean your furnace, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and examine the dryer vent for lint buildup. Clean your fireplace chimney and repair any cracks in the fireplace.
- Check the faucets on the outside of your house. Freezing temperature can cause damage to these faucets. Turn them on and off and check for the water flow. Make sure your faucets don’t drip after you turn the water off. Watch for damage inside the pipes when you check water flow. If the water isn’t flowing like it did last summer, you may have damaged pipes. Have them inspected and repaired before you need the water for your lawn and garden.
10.Have your air conditioning unit checked out. If there are problems, you can get them fixed before you need air conditioning in your home.
- Don’t forget to investigate flood insurance for your home. If you have flood insurance, you will have a bit of security for your basement, crawlspace, and walkout basement when the spring flooding comes.
By being proactive now, you can prevent costly repairs in the future. And if you are looking to sell your home, a prelisting inspection can offer several benefits and give you the maximum selling price for your home.
Doing a pre-sale home inspection before you put it on the market can help you identify any problems that could potentially derail a sale at closing like identifying possible deal killers ahead of time, eliminate bargaining points, give you time to fix problems that could potentially delay or kill the sale and speed up closing by eliminates surprises.