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Your Basement Health Checklist

Your Basement Health Checklist

Water and moisture can do terrible things to your basement health. In fact, the basement is the house’s number one trouble spot. Here’s a checklist to help you keep your basement as healthy and water-free as possible.

Waterproofing Installation. It’s good to have some type of waterproofing in place. Waterproofing keeps water from entering your home. There are both internal and external options. Both involve sealing up foundation cracks and providing a barrier that keeps moisture out.

Drainage System. Every basement needs a drainage system. This provides a way for water that does enter the house to leave it. If you have serious water or flooding problems, you might want to consider installing a sump pump. This is an ideal drainage solution that pumps water out of your house to a drainage pipe.

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Check Pipes and Fixtures. Sometimes basement water problems aren’t caused by outside water. You might have leaky pipes or fixtures. Look for rust on overhead pipes and evidence of water damage around pipes and fixtures.

Gutters. Your gutters may also be contributing to water in the basement. It’s easy for gutters to become misaligned over time, redirecting the water toward the house rather than away from it. Give your gutters a careful inspection from time to time.

Improper Landscaping. Your yard can also be the culprit. Your yard should slope away from the house and not toward it. If it slopes toward the house, it is bringing rain water right against your foundation. Re-grade it so that it slopes away. You should also cut down on shrubbery around the house because the loose soil will make puddles.

No Ventilation. Moisture problems are made worse when there’s not enough ventilation in the basement. Open up the basement and use box fans to help air it out sometimes, especially during the most humid season.

Hidden Mold. You usually can’t see mold because it likes to grow in out of the way places, but you can smell it. If your basement has a musty smell, this means you’ve got mold growing somewhere. Check under and behind everything. This includes drywall and other building materials, which are favorite spots for mold.

Check Your Crawl Space. If you have air quality issues or musty smells but your basement is well waterproofed, the problem might be your house’s crawl space. Crawl spaces also need to be waterproofed because they can affect the home’s air quality drastically. They also provide a great place for mold to grow.

Always be on the lookout for evidence of water or high moisture levels in the basement. Be especially aware if you live in a humid, low-lying, or coastal area. If you have persistent moisture or mold problems, talk to a waterproofing professional about what solutions they can offer you.