Waterproofing your basement can take a big chunk out of your bank account. Before you make appointments for estimates, Robert Cory Halpin, owner of Ohio’s Vulcan Waterproofing, recommends that you first take these three easy steps. Often times, said the third-generation Cincinnati basement sealing expert, “the problem can be easily fixed and just requires some common sense.”
Examine your water system
That means regularly cleaning out your gutters. If your gutters are clogged, rainwater has nowhere to go but into your house. As you remove those pesky leaves and branches, make sure to also check the downspout. The downspout should extend at least 10 feet away from the house. “The problem is especially important in Ohio,” says the Cincinnati waterproofing pro. “We have clay soil so it will fill up and will not drain. So you need to get the water far enough away from the house.”
The same goes for pump discharge pipes if you have a sump pump in the basement. Have the pipes extend and outlet at least 10 feet away because “you don’t want to give water any chance to collect near your house’s foundation.”
Look at the landscaping around your foundation. If the ground slopes towards your home, you can expect a wet basement whenever the forecast calls for rain. Lower the grading from the foundation to help water flow away from the house, recommends Halpin, whose business has been based in Cincinnati for more than 50 years. If that’s not possible, consider employing rain barrels or installing water gardens. These inexpensive options are also eco-friendly.
Eye that window well
If it’s not your spouts and landscaping, another common culprit for water in the basement is a leaky window. Consider installing a drain or at least gravel so that water doesn’t just sit on nearby compacted earth. Also think about installing a cover (about $10) to ensure that debris doesn’t clog up the gravel or drain. “Some folks may benefit from adding glass block windows, which are more secure and water tight,” says the Cincinnati foundation repair veteran.
If you’ve done all these things and water continues to collect in your basement after a good rainfall, then it’s time to call in the experts. Just determine the source of the water seepage before any meeting. “We can’t see through walls any better than you can,” said Halpin. “The only way to get a handle on this problem is to see the bare concrete walls or floor.” Waterproofing can run you up to $10,000, so before you shell out the money for it, make sure it’s something you actually need.