However, an often overlooked area of moisture control is a crawlspace or basement. It is common to see basement walls that have a permanent dampness to them, and when discussing crawlspaces, many homeowners rarely even broach the subject. Basements are often remodeled into usable living space, but in order to do that, the moisture and dampness must first be removed.
Waterproofing basements and crawlspaces is essential to prevent mildew, mold, rot, insects, and a host of other problems. However, the process of waterproofing does not actually start with the inside of the house. The perimeter of the home should have some landscaping to provide sloping gradients that allow water to run off and away from the building. Sometimes this can be accomplished by adding soil to create a grade, and in other cases, soil can be removed. The goal is to prevent having a slope that actually diverts water into the house, which means that regardless of how much effort is put into waterproofing the interior, the amount of water coming in may still cause major issues.
Once the perimeter is corrected, the next goal is to look out for the biggest rainwater gathering surface of the house. The roof gathers gallons of water during a downpour, and without a proper diversion and drainage system it will cause problems. Gutters and downspouts should be installed and the flow of water should be placed in the most optimal way to keep the water from flooding back into the foundation.
If you have bushes, trees or shrubs planted too close to the house, these can also cause water issues. This is especially true in the case where the plants have roots that have rotted, which create underground tunnels that water can use to flow right into the foundation of your home. Removal of the plants that are visible may not be enough, especially in the case of large trees, because the root system can still be intact.
Once you have ensured you have diverted and protected the exterior from rainwater, it's time to move to the inside of the foundation. There are commercial waterproofers available such as Xypex or the less expensive Drylok. These will help prevent minor leaks and ongoing moisture problems. However, do not think that these products alone will hold back large amounts of ongoing ground water. They are best for intermittent, smaller leaks. If there are cracks in the basement walls, Drylok can be used to help seal these and prevent water from entering. The best fix for cracks and related issues is to hire a professional to seal them with commercial grade concrete epoxy. There are some versions available in home improvement stores, but be aware that they are not as effective. If you have ongoing water gathering, particularly in a crawlspace, consider installing a sump pup to bilge out the water during periods of heavy rain.
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Article Added on Tuesday, March 6, 2012
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