While basement windows can help bring more light into the basement area, they can also be a weak link in your waterproofing efforts. They’re likely to let in moisture-filled air during hot and humid summer months. Moisture buildup will trigger mold growth, instigate condensation, and cause wooden fixtures to decay.
Here are some different ways you can tackle these issues with your windows and moisture.
Place gravel or another inorganic cover around the foundation to prevent weed growth and improve curb appeal. Gravel prevents garden soil from splattering on your basement windows and siding. It also curbs erosion due to roof washouts or downspouts whenever it rains.
Unlike mulch, gravel doesn’t suck moisture. It’s also safe as long it doesn’t obstruct water flow or moisten the adjacent soil, which can attract termites. In fact, gravel discourages precipitation, allowing water to move away from your home’s foundation. Two to three inches of gravel layer is enough. Anything more could impede the flow of water.
When exposed, gravel warms up better during the day than mulch and releases heat at night. It’s this heat that melts snow and ice. However, using gravel near your foundation isn’t a guarantee you will have a pest-free or termite-free foundation. Typical of ground covers, gravel can hold water and keep the soil moist. This may attract termites and encourage them to invade your home.
Before applying the gravel, ensure you grade the topsoil so it slopes away from your home’s foundation. This action ensures water drains at the soil surface below the gravel. Don’t accumulate rock or wood eaves against foundation cracks. Doing so increases sunlight and air exposure.
Keep Your Garden Weed-free
Weeds and overgrown shrubs don’t just make your yard lawn look unsightly, but they also encourage moisture around the foundation. Their leaves act like pool liners. Clear them from your lawn or yard. Dig down at least six inches and add crushed stone to discourage weeds from growing.
Replace Old Basement Windows
Old basement windows or any that have been damaged by foundational shift can encourage basement leaks. You have to replace them with an egress window as soon as possible. They’re slightly larger, allow more light, and provide an exit. Since they may involve some excavation, it’s best to leave it to a professional basement repair contractor.
Check Gutters and Downspouts
When your roof drainage system clogs, it can instigate basement leaks. Water from blocked gutters can flow directly to your basement window. Over time, it will weaken the caulking, and this allows moisture to seep into the basement.
Use Native Plants
Indigenous plants prevent soil erosion and allow stormwater to drain more efficiently after a downpour. Check what species are available at your local plant nurseries while laying out your landscaping plan.
Install and Maintain Window Wells
These semi-circular fixtures surround your basement windows, allowing natural light into the basement area. They’re partially filled with gravel and sometimes have a drain that goes outside. These safety measures ensure that water won’t collect on your window well and exert pressure on the windows, leading to cracks and leaks.
Evaluate the Soil Grading
The grading if your home’s soil affects your windows’ ability to resist water. If the grade slopes toward your home, the basement windows can leak. Re-grade the home and ensure the ground slopes six inches for every 10 feet all around your home’s foundation. Otherwise, water won’t drain away and this could result in underground concrete cracks or wood rot.
Consider Soil Drainage
While it’s possible for rainwater to drain through the gravel around your home’s foundation, the profile of the underlying soil ultimately determines the drainage. Sandy soils drain well. Clay soils and compacted loam tend to hold huge amounts of water when fully wet. Water also drains slowly in soils with fine particles like clay. Adding gravel atop the foundation soil slows water movement.
Gravel not only holds but slows down the rate of surface runoff. The result is that water will stand or soak in slowly, and this will increase the volume of dense particle soil, probably more than you desire. Your problem will be compounded if the water table sits close to the soil surface. Poor surface drainage next to your foundation will instigate water issues, and it’s going to require professional intervention.
If you need basement waterproofing advice or help sealing a leaky basement window, get in touch with JES Foundation Repair. We’re happy to provide you with a free basement repair inspection and quote along with solid recommendations to keep your basement moisture-free.