Basement leaks can cause serious structural problems to any residential or commercial building. Water leaking into your home's basement can also cause dampness and consequently mold growth. With that in mind, here are five tips to prevent basement leaks:
Keep Gutters Clean
Clogged gutters are likely to overflow leading to water pooling around your home's foundation. Therefore, make sure you regularly remove debris such as tree leaves that might have accumulated in your gutters. Better yet, install leaf guards to prevent leaves from clogging your gutters. In addition, install downspout extenders to direct water away from the foundation of your home. For the best results, downspout extenders should be at least six feet long.
The ground around your home should pitch away at a slope of about ? inch per foot. This will allow water to drain away from the foundation of your home towards the yard or drainage trench. Take note that the ground around a newly built house takes time to settle. This means it will likely sink and slope towards the house. In such a case, use fresh soil to create ground that slopes away from the foundation and additionally, plant grass to keep the soil in place and prevent erosion during the rainy season.
Planting large trees with aggressive root systems such as silver maples near your home is not a good idea. This is because over time, the roots of such trees can cause cracks to develop in the walls of your basement and cause water to seep into your basement through these cracks. As such, it is advisable to plant large trees at least 20 feet from the foundation of your home. Smaller trees and shrubs such as white firs require about 10 to 15 feet of clearance from your home's foundation. However, you would not have to worry much about small plants such as flowers and grass because they are unlikely to cause structural damage to the walls of your basement.
Waterproof Your Basement
Besides the measures described above, check your basement for cracks that could allow water to leak into your basement. If you come across any cracks, use waterproof sealers or special hydraulic cement to repair them. Make sure you seal and repair basement wall cracks immediately because water that accumulates and freezes in them will expand and make the cracks even bigger. You can use hydraulic cement because it dries quickly even when applied on wet basement walls. Alternatively, use a waterproof sealer.
When carrying out these repairs, remove dust and debris from the area surrounding a crack. Use a hammer and chisel to open the crack and create space for hydraulic cement or waterproof sealer. You could also use perforated tiles or waterproof membranes to prevent water from leaking into your basement.
Install Driveway and Patio Drainage Systems
Raindrops that fall on soil seep into the ground. The opposite is true for raindrops that fall on pavements and driveways covered with concrete or tiles. If your driveway or patio slopes towards your home, rainwater will flow and accumulate around the foundation of your home. Eventually, it will seep into the basement. To ensure this does not happen, consider installing a drainage system to channel water from the foundation of your home. Hire a building contractor to install the system along the sides of your driveway.
In summary, some of the steps you can take to prevent basement leaks
include cleaning your gutters regularly, waterproofing your basement, planting large trees 20 feet or so from your home, as well as ensuring the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation.