For homeowners, there is nothing worse than finding out that unexpected water damage has occurred in your home and suddenly faced with damaged belongings and repair costs. One of the most common places that water damage happens in a home is in the basement, where damage can go unnoticed for even longer.
Did you know, that water damage is the single most common cause for a homeowner to make a home insurance claim in Canada? When water damage happens to you, will you be prepared?
Water issues in the home can not only cause damage to personal belongings but also jeopardize the structural integrity of the building. Repairs after the damage have been done can be pricy. Especially if you own a property for investment purposes, this can be a serious hit to your returns. Damage can seriously impact your home’s market value, and can even cause you to lose rental income if tenants are affected by repairs.
Oftentimes, these events happen unexpectedly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself from damages if you act proactively. The best way to protect yourself from water damage is to waterproof your basement before an accident occurs or quickly after a leak has been found.
In this article, we will explore the causes and effects of basement water damage, your waterproofing options, how much it may cost, and the best time to get your basement waterproofed.
Why is basement water damage so common?
Basements are unfortunately the perfect target for water damage.
For one, most water in your average home comes in through plumbing in the basement, and leaks can occur in these pipes, or due to equipment failures such as water heaters, water softeners, and sump pumps.
At the same time, when there are leaks on the upper levels of the home, gravity makes it so that the basement is often where the water ends up. And, basements can often have low airflow meaning moisture and humidity can’t easily escape and will start to soak into materials.
Then there’s the fact that your basement is surrounded on all sides by the ground itself, which contains a lot of water, especially after storms and snow melt. This water can force its way through cracks, or even overflow from above ground.
Finally, basements are one of the areas in a house where the homeowner may not go for weeks or months at a time. This means when damage does happen, it can often go unnoticed until it is too late.
When water gets into your basement, it can have many different effects. For one, the water can damage your personal belongings, as well as damage walls and flooring. It can also help to promote the growth of mold and mildew which can cause unpleasant odours and potential health effects. Finally, prolonged water damage can cause damage to the structure and foundation of your home which can lead to an unsafe home and costly repairs.
All this considered, it is clear why you should be aware of the risk of water damage in your basement and protect yourself as soon as possible.
The three best times to waterproof your basement
There are a few ways to answer the question of when the best time to waterproof your basement will be.
1. During construction
The safest option is to simply waterproof your home from the start. This means installing high-quality exterior waterproofing at the building stage. If you do this your house will be protected right from the start and for the course of its life.
While this will protect the investment you have made into your home, it will also increase already expensive construction costs. In addition, if you aren’t building your home, this simply isn’t an option for you and will need to add waterproofing after the fact.
2. Before issues arise and before the wet season
The second best time to waterproof your basement is to be proactive and waterproof before issues arrive. Yes, that means you may want to consider waterproofing your basement right now!
Within the year, it is generally best to waterproof before winter, ideally in the summer. The hot dry months of the summer make water issues less common, and the ground will be dry and not frozen which can make excavation easier. It will also make sure your home is protected before the wet fall and winter seasons come around and introduce the potential for damage from outside water.
3. As soon as signs of water are found
The final best time to waterproof your home is as soon as possible once you notice any signs of water infiltration. Once the water begins entering your basement, it will not stop on its own, and will only continue to get worse if not addressed. In this case, you need to speak to a waterproofing expert as soon as possible to have the issue resolved and prevent further damage to your home.
If left unchecked, water damage can cause serious damage to your home's foundation, and can prevent health and safety issues in your home. Even if you have insurance, the damage left too long can take a long time to repair, and your home may never be the same again.
Warning signs of water issues
Often you won’t know if your basement is susceptible to water damage until it is too late, but if you pay attention to these signs, you may be able to catch an issue before it gets out of control. This can be especially helpful to keep in mind if you are buying a home and inspecting the property prior to purchase.
Some signs of water damage to look out for might include:
- Seeing or smelling mold or mildew
- Damp or yellowed spots on walls or flooring
- Peeling paint
- Rust on metal surfaces
- Cracks in flooring or foundation walls
If you notice any of these signs in your home, consider consulting with a waterproofing expert as soon as possible, before the damage can get worse.
What kinds of basement waterproofing are available?
If you want to protect your home from water damage, there are a number of different options available. Which one you decide on will come down to your waterproofing needs and what works for your property. In addition, each will vary in price and complexity. Keep in mind that when it comes to waterproofing, you can never be too safe – some homeowners may opt for multiple different types of waterproofing for complete protection.
Here are some of the most common waterproofing solutions available:
Exterior waterproofign includes anything done on the outside of the home to prevent water from getting in. This may include installing waterproof surfaces to the exterior of foundation walls, sealing any cracks, as well as installing drainage systems. Your drainpipes may also play a role in keeping water away from your home.
Exterior waterproofing requires excavation around your home and can be a costly option, however, it also provides the best total protection that lasts for many years. As mentioned before, if you choose to waterproof your home when it is being built, you can avoid the costs of having to re-excavate your foundations.
Interior waterproofing is an option that focuses on the inside of the home, installing waterpfooring to walls and flooring as well as drainage options, often after a water issue has been identified. Interior waterproofing is often intended to address small leaks and dampness or to remove existing water.
Interior waterproofing is more economical than exterior waterproofing, and requires less excavation, but may not address the issues as completely as an exterior option.
Pumps and drainage
Along with the sealants and protective layers used in exterior and interior waterproofing, there are also options for pumping and drainage options to help keep water out of your home.
A sump pump is a common method to keep water out of your basement. A sump pump collects water into a pit under your basement and pumps it safely away from your home's foundation.
Another option may be a weeping tile or French drain which naturally collects water at a low point in your home or yard to be guided away from the home.
Another tool may be a backwater valve, which prevents sewage backups from entering your home and causing a serious mess and potential health issues.
For best results, these options are often used in accordance with one another and exterior or interior waterproofing to ensure your home is kept dry and comfortable.
How much will basement waterproofing cost?
The cost of basement waterproofing is going to depend on the needs of your home and the materials used.
In general, exterior waterproofing is more expensive because of the amount of work involved, but it also provides the most total protection. A full exterior waterproofing project can cost between $15,000 and $35,000.
Interior waterproofing can cost around $65 per linear foot, while installing a drainage solution like a french drain will cost you between $20 and $55 per square foot.
A sump pump repair, installation, or replacement can range in price from $560 to $3500. Finally, a foundation crack repair can cost between $1600 to $3200 depending on the severity of the crack.
While some of these options may seem pricy, especially if you are facing unexpected water damage, you need to consider them against the alternative cost of damage to your home. Your home is probably your biggest investment, so paying money to keep it in good shape simply makes sense. Beyond that, the value of your personal belongings and your family's health and safety is often more than priceless. If you’re interested in getting a more accurate quote for your home, consider contacting a waterproofing specialist today.
Our partner Direct Waterproofing has been providing quality waterproofing services to Toronto and the GTA since 1995. Their team are experts in all varieties of waterproofing and are perfect for the job of helping you to protect your home. Visit them at https://directwaterproofing.ca/ for your quote.