Don’t Overlook an Important Tool For Keeping Water Out of Your Basement!

November 3rd, 2017
Homeowners in North Carolina sometimes wonder if they can take any steps themselves to help prevent water from seeping into basement areas? One very powerful waterproofing tool often escapes attention. Yet it offers a practical way to help maintain dry basements and under-the-house crawl spaces. Don’t overlook the critical importance of keeping residential gutters and downspouts in good condition!

Gutter Systems Help Protect Foundations

Human beings learned thousands of years ago that rooftops served as excellent water-collection systems. You’ve probably watched classic films set in the Old West in which characters placed wooden rain barrels beneath the eaves, for example. People noticed runoff would sometimes cascade off man-made structures after heavy downpours.

During the modern era, sturdy metal gutters running along the edges of roofs have gained popularity. They usually connect with one (or more) vertical downspouts. Today most builders routinely install gutters when they first finish the roof on a new construction job. Gutters serve a dual purpose. They prevent rainwater, fallen leaves and other windblown debris from sliding off the roof and creating an unsightly mess in the yard. Most importantly, they also direct runoff away from residential foundations and basements. It sometimes surprises homeowners to learn their gutters actually supply an important tool for helping maintain the lower levels of the home in a dry condition!

Why Gutter Maintenance Matters

Correctly maintained gutters and downspouts help residents channel rainwater away from the home. When a waterproofing expert first inspects a basement or a low-lying crawl space, this specialist will typically also note the presence (or absence) of gutters and downspouts. Although most residences in this region of North Carolina utilize gutters, sometimes property owners overlook the importance of installing new gutters and downspouts following roof replacements. Keeping these systems in good working order can ultimately help you save thousands of dollars in waterproofing home repair expenses!

In our area, homeowners should periodically check the gutters and clean out any accumulated debris. Why? As rainwater drains down a roof towards the gutter, it carries along minute particles of dirt and sand which have blown onto the roof. It will also transport fallen leaves and branches from the rooftop into residential gutters. Unless periodically removed from the gutter system, this organic material can form clogs that interrupt the flow of water through downspouts. Clogged gutters not only eventually look unattractive, they will fail to perform a protective function.

Make Sure Downspouts Protect Your Home’s Foundation

Ideally, your residential downspouts will direct water away from the home’s perimeter. Runoff leaving downspouts typically drains onto concrete splash blocks. Waterproofing experts sometimes install runoff channels to extend the lengths of the splash blocks, ensuring water flows only seep into the ground at a point well removed from the residence.

If your gutters receive cleaning too infrequently, you likely won’t notice the consequences immediately. Yet over the course of months and years, a failed gutter system (or the absence of any gutter system at all) usually causes problems. Water may saturate the ground around the home during certain seasons of the year. It may begin leaking through small cracks in the foundation and enter the basement, for instance. Or it may permit damp conditions to develop in under-the-home unsealed crawl spaces. Maintaining your residential gutter system in good condition cannot guarantee you’ll never encounter waterproofing problems, yet it does reduce the likelihood of some types of runoff water damage.

Essential Gutter System Maintenance

Most experts recommend cleaning out the gutters and downspouts of a home during autumn and towards the beginning of spring. Gutter cleaning services remain available to assist homeowners with this messy task, which requires the use of a ladder or crane. Consider asking anyone performing gutter cleaning to also assess the general condition of the gutter system; older gutters in North Carolina sometimes sustain damage caused by heavy fallen tree branches or high winds. They may develop pinhole areas of rusting or leaking and require repair. If residential gutters show extensive wear and tear, you might consider replacing worn sections with attractive new gutters.

If you have any concern about the suitability of your home’s downspouts or gutter splash blocks, don’t hesitate to contact us. We strive to help residents maintain dry basements and crawl spaces. We serve customers throughout this region of North Carolina!

Achieving Better Basement Moisture Control

September 24th, 2017

Moisture Control Matters in Basements

Today, a growing number of homeowners appreciate the vital importance of keeping residential basements clean and dry. Water seeping into the interior through damp basement walls or flowing back into the residence from a malfunctioning basement drain poses a significant hazard. It may damage air quality, or even cause structural problems.

Some Helpful Guidelines

Consider using some of these tips to achieve dry basement conditions throughout the year:

1. Ascertain the source of water entering damp basements.

Many factors contribute to the development of moisture in basement areas. Some of the most common potential sources include:

  • An elevated water table;
  • Leaky plumbing or a leaky roof;
  • Water soaking through basement walls into the interior of the home;
  • Very high local humidity;
  • Flooding in some low-lying terrains;

By identifying the chief source (or sources) of moisture in the basement, you’ll find yourself in a much better position to correct this problem.

2. Use a dehumidifier to help reduce basement moisture.

Installing a dehumidifier system in the basement helps some homeowners reduce moisture in basements and lower levels of a residence. In fact, some experts recommend using this technology on a 24/7 basis in some locales. Today many dehumidifying systems activate automatically, triggered by ambient room humidity.

3. Obtain regular plumbing inspections and maintenance.

Asking a qualified plumber to check over your plumbing system on at least an annual basis helps ensure leaky water, sewer pipes or malfunctioning drains won’t contribute to basement water accumulation and dampness. Although some pipes, such as high-grade copper pipes, will function well for decades, after the passage of time aging pipes eventually wear out. Repairing sections of corroded or broken pipe promptly ensures leaks won’t spew water into lower areas of the residence.

4. Ensure any basement household laundry appliances vent outside the basement.

Some older homes still rely on basement laundry rooms. If your appliances operate with popular vent systems, you’ll want to ensure the hot, moist air from these machines exits outside the basement, not where it could cause condensation to occur along interior walls. (However, take care to position vents in a way which prevents water from the exterior of the home from draining back inside the basement through vent systems during periods of heavy rain)

5. Consider seeking sump pump installation to promote a dry basement if your reside in an area subject to water buildup.

Sump pumps perform valuable service in basements in many locations in the United States. These pumps help force water out of basement areas. They may prove especially useful in preventing seasonal water accumulation, for instance. A waterproofing expert can provide assistance helping you select the best type of sump pump for your home’s basement.

6. Take steps to dampness-proof basement walls, especially foundation walls located below ground-level.

Sealing cracks helps prevent moisture from seeping inside the basement. Try and determine the basis for the formation of the crack; in some cases, this symptom could signify issues warranting the attention of waterproofing experts and/or construction engineers.

7. Don’t permit untreated woods to come into direct contact with the ground in lower levels of your home.

In some older homes, unfinished basements lack flooring. Wooden steps may directly contact excavated soil in these locations. Homes with low-lying windows may expose window frames to seeping water. Adjoining wet soil causes moisture to leak into the wood and create rotting and moldy conditions. This situation may even attract termites. One important aspect of basement moisture control involves remedying these situations. Protecting wood with waterproofing surface treatments and the application of waterproof siding helps minimize water penetration. Additionally, excavating around the exteriors of low-lying basement windows to install covered window wells sometimes proves very helpful also.

If Moisture Problems Persist

If you take steps to control moisture in a finished or unfinished basement yet problems persist, give serious consideration to consulting a full-time waterproofing firm. For instance, we offer services to help maintain a dry, comfortable environment in basements. We’ll help develop a plan to help keep the lower levels of residential property dry, and structurally sound.

The investment you make in eliminating dampness from a residential basement now may help enhance your household’s quality of daily life. Over the course of time, waterproofing returns other long term benefits, too. It helps optimize the anticipated useful lifespan of a residence. Measures to control dampness in basements help promote mildew and mold-free environments, for instance. Taking simple moisture-control steps can yield tremendous savings!