Your home is your biggest investment. Would you let something that can be fixed lower your property value and comfort? A wet basement creates a variety of problems and decrease your home’s value by 10-20%. Learn More.
Water is a necessity. You need it to survive. You need it to bathe, cook and clean. But other than coming out of your faucets, you do not want or need (leaking) water in your house.
Not all homes in Virginia have basements – mostly due to soil type, frost line, and flood threat from storms and hurricanes – but those that do need the proper attention. If your house has a basement, you need to be on the lookout for any signs of problems like water intrusion.
Leaking water in your basement means trouble for you, your family, and the rest of your home. It can ruin stored items, furniture, and electronics, as well as lead to mold growth and unpleasant odors.
Would you want your loved ones exposed to these unhealthy and unsafe conditions? Of course not. Whether you notice an increase in humidity, see a puddle of water on the floor, or have an all-out flood in your basement, it’s important to address these issues right away.
And the expert team at JES is here to help you! In this section, we’ll address common questions and concerns we hear from homeowners like you about wet basements and basement waterproofing.
Let’s start with typical problem signs indicating basement water intrusion in your home.
What Do I Need to Do First?
In order to fix your wet basement you need to find the source of the problem.
Often, a musty basement, wet drywall, efflorescence and leaky basement walls are signs of a basement water problem.
Find your basement waterproofing problem here and learn more about the cause.
Why Do I Have These Problems in My House?
Water can enter your basement because of a variety of reasons including plumbing leaks, poor drainage, and foundation wall cracks. No matter how it got there, it’s never good to have leaking or standing water in your basement. If you can trace the water back to its source, great! If you’re confounded by where it came from, it’s time to call in an expert inspector – like one from our JES team – to complete a thorough evaluation of your home and find the culprit.
One major issue affecting your home that leads to water in the basement is soil – the type of soil your home was built on and the health of that soil.
There is a variety of soil types across Virginia – sand, silt, clay, and a combination of the three. Sandy soils tend to drain water faster, silt has more intermediate drainage properties, and clay is more likely to hold onto water and expand and contract as it become saturated and dries out.
Here’s a look at how soil can impact water intrusion and your home:
- Clay Bowl Effect
Obviously, a large hole had to be dug in the ground to accommodate your home and its foundation. Once the foundation was poured and walls were constructed, a gap remained between the structure and the existing earth. The soil that was removed during the excavation process was then replaced or backfilled around the foundation walls. This soil that was disturbed is looser and fluffier than hard-packed, untouched soil. Because of this, water collects in the soil immediately surrounding the house, creating a “clay bowl” of sorts. This water then puts pressure on foundation walls, causing cracks, and allowing water to seep inside.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
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 move inward. Water can easily find its way in through any cracks and openings, and your home’s structural stability takes a hit.
- Soil Settlement
As the backfilled soil around your home settles over time, it will sink towards your foundation at a sloped angle. This allows water to easily run next to your foundation and contribute to hydrostatic pressure.
Here are some other common causes of water in your basement:
- Ineffective Sump Pump System
A sump pump system is essential in keeping water out of basements, and it is the heart of basement waterproofing systems. If a basement has an older, failing sump pump, water will only continue to collect in the basement.
Sump pump systems commonly are installed in metal basins in the floor with lids that rest on top of the basin and have openings for the discharge pipes. Some may not have lids at all. These are ineffective systems that will only cause more problems. The metal basins can easily rust and corrode, and partial or nonexistent lids allow water to evaporate back into the basement. This results in unpleasant odors and moisture issues that defeat the purpose of the sump pump in the first place. Objects and debris also can easily fall into the system and damage the pump if the sump pit is not completely covered.
- Improper Exterior Drainage
Like settling soil, 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 unsightly 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.
- Clogged Footing Drains
During your home’s construction, a footing drain was installed just outside the foundation walls to help keep water away. But it can easily clog and allow water to collect by the walls, like with settling soil and problematic exterior drainage systems. Preventing this is difficult, and so is cleaning and flushing the drains.
Mother Nature can be unpredictable and harsh, and Virginia sees its share of wild weather. Heavy rainstorms can dump a lot of water on the ground with nowhere to go, and it can find its way inside through saturated soil and wall cracks. Hurricanes and nor’easters often bring flooding with their torrential rain, as well.
You can read more about these issues on our “What Causes Basement Water Problems?” page.
Why Should I Fix My Wet Basement?
Now that you’ve learned about some of the symptoms and causes of your wet basement, aren’t you ready to tackle these issues once and for all?
Your basement is part of your home’s foundation, and a dry basement is important to your home’s health. If you have a wet basement, it’s uncomfortable, can increase your energy bills, and even cause health problems.
These are some of the ways your home and your family will benefit from basement waterproofing:
- Improved Health
Mold loves nothing more than wet, damp areas. If you’ve got water intrusion in your unfinished basement or even behind drywall or paneling, odds are pretty good that there also is mold growth. By tackling seeping water with reliable repair solutions, you’ll keep the mold monsters and unpleasant odors at bay. Choosing to have a dehumidifier installed also helps curtail mold growth that can lead to issues like asthma and allergies, and it will improve the overall air quality of your home.
- Protecting Structural Stability
Water could be finding its way inside through wall cracks and gaps, which also means the safety of the structure could be at risk. Why would you want to subject your loved ones to an environment that could cave in at any moment? By properly waterproofing your below-grade area, you also are ensuring a longer lifetime for your home.
- Better Energy Efficiency
Basements below grade tend to be cooler and damp, and those with water seepage will experience even more of a temperature decrease. This can lead to the above floors feeling cold and the need to keep cranking up the heat for a more comfortable living space. This, in turn, leads to higher energy bills. Why waste money on the latter when you can invest in permanent waterproofing solutions that will save your home and your wallet in the long run?
- Increased Real Estate Value
There are so many different factors that can affect a home’s real estate/resale value, but it’s important for you to be aware of the condition of your home regardless. By having trusted, proven waterproofing solutions installed, you’re ensuring your home’s health and value for today and tomorrow. A clean, dry home is more attractive to home buyers as opposed to a house with leaks and mold. The Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act employs the “buyer beware” mentality. So, while you don’t have to disclose much as a seller, it still is important to be honest about any known issues when it comes to leaks and waterproofing. This sets clear expectations regarding the quality and condition of the home.
The crew was very professional and did an excellent job with digging the inside perimeter of my home for the drainage and install. JES was the most reputable and offered a great lifetime warranty. I am very pleased with the outcome and now have a very dry basement.
~ Karen F., Fredericksburg, VA
We’re Here To Help You Find The Best Solutions For Your Crawl Space…
We’re here to help you find the perfect solution for your home, and find out the source of your moldy crawl space problems.
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Basement Waterproofing Solutions
We believe that you deserve only the best. All of our basement waterproofing solutions are custom designed for your home. And all of our basement repair specialists are extensively trained by our team of professional engineers before they can conduct a basement inspection and recommend solutions.
Get Your Free Homeowner’s Guide to Basement Waterproofing
Make an appointment with one of our basement waterproofing experts today and receive your Free Homeowner’s Guide to Basement Waterproofing, written by Professional Engineers, a $19.95 value! You’ll learn about wet basement problem signs and what they could mean for your home’s health and safety.