March 29, 2019

Climate change is affecting the severity of rain storms in the region, and many of the homes in this area were simply not built to withstand the amount of rain that falls.Cracks in your foundation makes easy access points, the path of least resistance, for accumulated rain water to get into your basement.  The dreaded "basement flood" is a real possibility for many of us, but fortunately there are a number of steps we can take to keep this stormwater out.

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Proper drainage of rainwater from your roof is a critical first step. With spring thaw ongoing, the ground is already saturated from the winter snow, including the earth that surrounds your basement. And for every inch of rain that falls on 100 square feet of your roof, that's another 60 gallons soaking into the earth near the perimeter of your basement if that water isn't drained effectively. Gutters and downspouts must be in working condition and move water at least 10-feet from your home in order to drain away from your home, preferably downhill.

And there are several landscaping tips, each worthy of their own blog post, that really help in keeping water away from your home. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Grading your lawn away from your house so water moves away.
  • Look for areas where water approaches your house and fix the issue. Usually grass barriers are ideal for redirecting water.
  • Keep a gap of at least six inches when mulching around your house. The mulch can act like a wick and suck moisture directly to your siding.
  • Place river stone or other solid material under downspouts to disrupt the force of the water exiting them. This will keep holes from forming under the downspout that could lead to other erosion issues in high-volume rain storms.

But, if this still does not work and you're seeing water seep in through your basement walls, it would be a good idea to repoint, or fill those cracks to make them water tight. We run into this problem often when asked to insulate basement walls with spray foam. To adhere to the wall properly, spray foam needs it to be dry and absent of any loose material.

While one benefit of spray foam is its ability to greatly reduce the amount of water infiltration, it alone is not a waterproofing solution. Additionally, if moisture does seep in behind the spray foam, this could loosen its adhesion to the wall, which would allow for more water to enter. So, sealing the cracks in the basement wall is not only critical to keeping water out, but also ensuring the spray foam is applied in the best conditions possible.

Next in our Water Management Series: Kicking Water Out.

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Roy V, Vienna

I recommend Bo Jespersen most highly to anyone seeking the very best in the complex realm of home repairs or renovations. He carries out all projects with a level of expertise and creativity that are reassuring to the homeowner. Bo listens carefully to the needs of his client, and then responds with the utmost in professionally conceived advice regarding the most economical yet effective ways for dealing with the problem. In addition to his finely honed abilities to solve the most challenging construction and refurbishment challenges and his deft facility with the tools of his trade, Bo is also a magnificent teacher who explains the logic of his decisions along the way.