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Thu, Mar 12th - 11:27AM

Protect Your Basement From Water and Moisture

Basements can let in water, especially during and after heavy rains. The average 1500 square foot home can deliver about 1500 L of water from a storm that drops one inch of rain. This then is dispersed using your downspouts. This indicates the necessity of ensuring water is directed away from your foundation. Sealing basements from excess moisture is a great way to add an extra layer of protection against the elements. Problems resulting from water leaks and moisture damage can result in thousands of dollars worth of damage. Here are some tips that will help you seal your basement properly.
1- Moisture can enter your basement in many different ways. Each house is unique as to its construction, landscaping, gutter system and natural or man made systems for water drainage. When you are sealing your basement you need to keep this in mind. Water can enter your basement through cracks in the concrete and sometimes seep right through the concrete, especially during heavy rains. Also, since concrete is porous, it allows a certain amount of water and moisture into your basement. To combat the water  and moisture, people often use a dehumidifier. However, this method only masks the problem. Sealing the basement offers a much more lasting solution. Also having excess  moisture can lead to mould, wet insulation and frost on the inside walls of your home.

2- To seal the basement properly you need to first make sure that all sources of moisture inside the basement are removed. One common way moisture forms in the basement is through the dryer.  Drying clothes inside your house is also another method of increasing moisture content and humidity in your home. Make sure the dryer vent discharges the moist humid air outside. The second way is through the air conditioning ducts. Make sure you insulate them properly to prevent any condensation from forming. Most people will block off their air conditioning ducts in the summer while using central air conditioning. This saves on energy and makes your system more efficient.

Divert the Rainwater
3- The next step to sealing basements is to make sure any rainwater that falls doesn’t go near the foundation. You may need to install a series of gutters and drains to accomplish this, depending on your situation. Splash pads are a good idea for directing the water to nearby swales or natural drainage areas. Ensure your pad is facing the right way….open side to where you want the water diverted too.  This sounds funny, but you have no idea of the amount of splash pads I find installed that keep the water right against the foundation, the direct opposite of what you want to achieve. I also recommend using Tee’s on any downspouts that empty into drains or French drains. This allows for water to spill out the open Tee when the underground drain is frozen, saving many downspouts from splitting when the backed up water freezes.

4- After you divert the rainwater away from the foundation, the next step to sealing foundations is to make sure openings for any pipes, ducts, etc are properly sealed. Do a thorough inspection of all pipes and ducts to make sure nothing is leaking. Although you may not see any leaks, keep in mind that even the smallest bit of moisture can be damaging, so seal everything with the proper caulking material. Also make sure you caulk and seal any holes in the corners and in the ceiling.  Most houses have many opening in their vapour barriers which can cause moisture to form on exterior wall and even wet the insulation.  Make sure all vapour barriers joints are lapped and sealed with Tuck tape to ensure integrity of barrier.

Install A Dehumidifier
It may take a while to find every area that needs to be sealed, but the more meticulous you are the better your chances of finding everything. After you seal everything, it is a good idea to install a dehumidifier for extra insurance. If you have a recurrent problem with flooding, it is also a good idea to purchase and install a sump pump. If you buy a submersible sump  pump you can usually seal of the sump pump pit which can be a source of odour and moisture.

Written by Roger Frost

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