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Basement Waterproofing – Homeowner Guide

One of the worst feelings is hear the heavy rain coming down on the roof and think “Oh crap – my basement”.  Many homeowners have either had water in their basement, have water seep into their basement or have high humidity issues.  Many potential customers call our office with basement water issues wanting to know how to waterproof their basement.  Here are some quick tips BEFORE calling a waterproofing contractor.

  1. Check your Gutters.  Don’t have gutters – put them on.  Gutters take all the water from your roof and make sure that water source doesn’t hit right next to your foundation.
    • Have gutter guards?  Check them – we have seen many houses take on water due to gutter guards.  Many of these systems rely on surface tension – in a heavy rain or a steep sloped roof the water doesn’t go in the gutter but jumps off the gutter guard.
    • Debris can cause water to run over the gutters, especially with gutter guards
    • Look at the valley’s of the gutters.  These are the areas where two roof lines come together.  A LOT of water comes down here – so look for potential problems.
  2. Downspouts – even if the gutters are doing their job – all that water has to get to the ground.
    • Downspouts should be extended at least 6-8ft from the foundation.  The deeper the basement the longer the extension.  Using a splash guard is most likely not going to keep the water off the house.  Make sure the connections are tight.
    • Extensions should be placed on the vertical member of the downspouts.  Often the extensions are right after the 90 degree elbow at the bottom of the downspout and “backflow” right back towards the foundation.
    • Extensions should be checked for clogs.  Black pipe is cheap – but often clogs.  Especially if you have trees then these pipes can loose their efficiency.  The best way to test them is to wait for a big rain and see what is happening.  A garden hose will help but cannot produce as much water as a good rain.
    • Just because they are buried doesn’t mean they are working.
  3. Grading – the ground should slope AWAY from your home.  If it slopes toward or is flat you have a big problem.  The water must get away from your home.  A good rule of thumb is to have the low spot as far away from your basement as your basement is deep (typically 10-12ft).  Good slope is 6″ in 10ft – so 10ft from your home you should be 6″ lower than the soil against the house.
  4. Mulch/Landscaping – too much holds in moisture – not to mention hides the actual grade of the yard.  Just enough to keep the top layer moist.
  5. Sources of water – look for sidewalks, driveways and other areas that push water toward your home.

These are the top 5 ways to waterproof your basement without calling a professional.  For those advanced homeowners out there – check your foundation drain.  This is the drain at the bottom of your foundation that carries the water away from your home.

Often there will be a crack in a poured wall that is leaking water.  You MUST remove sheet rock to find these cracks in the wall.  Once the sheet rock is wet you must remove it anyway due to mold so chalk it up and cut the sheet rock.  It will help whoever comes out.

If you have taken these steps and still looking to waterproof your basement in Atlanta then give us a call to schedule an appointment.  404-662-2454

Jonathan Maguire is the Owner and Systems Engineer for Foundation Worx, LLC. Atlanta's full service foundation repair company.

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