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Basement waterproofing questions

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Because solutions are rarely simple and because wet basement contractors outwith the PCA (Property Care Association) have a deservedly rotten reputation, many homeowners are put off dealing with their wet basement problems. To help you find your way, here are some answers to common questions about waterproofing a wet basement:

Q. I remember seeing a TV report about sump pumps and drain systems that indicated the whole thing is a rip-off. Now you say it's okay. What's the deal?

A. Sump pumps deal with a symptom, namely excess water in the soil, rather than the cause, poor drainage. That is why you should attempt to solve the problem by looking at water flows first. However, if those efforts are unsuccessful, the sump pump is an effective remedy.

Q. I heard of one neighbor who paid £10,000 for a sump pump system. Why do they cost so much?

A. They should not. Unfortunately, price gouging by unscrupulous companies is hardly a rarity in the waterproofing industry. For most homeowners, the system should cost in the £1000-£5000 range.

Q. I can not afford to spend much money on basement waterproofing. What can I do that is inexpensive?

A. Simple things like keeping your gutters clean and extending the downspouts so that water is directed well away from the foundation can reduce or eliminate the problem. Inside, keep things in the basement at least one foot off the floor and at least one foot away from the walls to allow good air circulation and minimize the damage caused by moisture.

Q. I'm no expert and don't really understand what needs to be done outside to deal with drainage problems. What can I do?

A. Request a survey from a specialist  who deals in water problems. The basement specialist will come out, do a complete analysis and make specific recommendations.

Q. I'm getting ready to sell my house. On very rare occasions we've had moisture in the basement. We've repainted and there is no evidence of moisture. Do we have to disclose anything?

A. I'm not a lawyer, but in general you have to tell the truth. Some potential buyers may accept your explanation and remain interested in the house. Others will reject the explanation, fearing the problem may be more serious. In general, buyers don't want to buy your problems. For most sellers, installing a sump pump and drainage systems will give buyers the assurance they want. Such systems are the only treatment that comes with a guarantee.

Q. A contractor told me about a treatment where they squirt something into the soil around the foundation that blocks out the water. Does it work?

A. Most experts agree that this approach is a waste of money. Stay away from it and anyone who recommends it.

Q. When we first bought the house years ago, the grading was perfect. Now, the yard and the patio tilt slightly towards the house. What caused the shift?

A. The shift is caused by settling of the soil around the foundation. It occurs at every home. When soil is dug up, it expands to as much as three times its original volume. This is why when you turn over the soil in your garden; the bed becomes so much fuller. The same thing happens when they dig a hole for your foundation.

When they refill the hole around the foundation, the builder tries to tamp it down, but inevitably it remains a bit puffed up. Over the years it settles back to its original density. Walks, patios, and driveways settle with it. Dirt can be added to depressed areas of earth, but paved areas usually have to be replaced.

Additional wet basement help and information

If you can not find the answer you are looking for, contact Wise Basement Systems today 0808 256 4538 and speak to one of our damp and wet basement specialists.

Alternatively, email a question over to us using our contact form and we will promise to get back to you as soon as possible with an answer.

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Related basement information

If however, you want to find out more about fixing a wet basement, why not visit some of the following pages:

  • Basement waterproofing: watch our handy basement waterproofing video
  • Basement drainage: view our inovative basement drainage systems
  • Sump pumps: often referred to as the heart of a basement waterproofing system
  • Wall waterproofing: Explore the different wall waterproofing options to tailor your basement and cellar for your needs.
  • Floor waterproofing: Explore the different floor waterproofing options to tailor your basement and cellar