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Wet Basement? Common Drainage System Solutions

There is more than one way to waterproof your basement. We'll break down what's worth your money and what's not. 

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It’s not uncommon for Michigan homeowners to get overwhelmed when it comes to solving their wet basement problems. It can feel like you’re all alone, but the truth is water seeping through basement walls is far more common than you may expect. And your neighbors or friends are likely dealing with the same problems.   

We’ll discuss common basement waterproofing methods, the problems caused if you don’t address them and why you’re dealing with the problem in the first place.   

Common Basement Waterproofing Methods  

A damp, wet, musty basement is more than frustrating. Mold and mildew can cause respiratory problems, and spores can easily travel into your main living spaces. So, it’s best to solve water problems right away. The issue? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Although some options offer a more permanent solution than others, it’s important to keep certain factors in mind, like your home’s soil type, weather conditions, and foundation type.   

Below are some common methods you may run across in your research.  

Gutters and Grading  

Clogged Gutters needing ProLoc Elite™ Gutter Protection System

With the internet and plenty of DIY videos available, it makes sense to try to stop water from entering your basement yourself. You may as well exhaust these options before contacting a contractor.   

Starting with your gutters, make sure they are clog-free, leak-free, and the downspouts move groundwater at least 8 feet away from your home’s foundation walls. Downspout extensions are reasonable and can be purchased at big box stores.   

Also, consider the slope around your home. Although your home was built with drain tile near the foundation, it clogs easily, so it’s best to get groundwater flowing away from your home. You can do this by adding low-cost dirt near the foundation walls until they are higher than the surrounding ground. Although this can be done on your own, a landscaper can also help.   

Basement Wall Polymer Sealants, Epoxy & Coatings  

Contractors not familiar with basement waterproofing may suggest paint-on basement wall sealants, epoxy, or a polymer coating instead of a drainage system. Both go on interior basement walls and hope to stop water seepage. These interior sealants are largely considered temporary bandage solutions since water will either find a new route in or hydrostatic pressure will cause water to push right through any sealants and coating. As low-cost, low-commitment options, contractors not interested in permanent solutions often offer these fixes without a warranty.   

Interior Waterproofing  

Water problems, including basement flooding, need a permanent solution so you can address the problem and then forget about it. FSM offers interior basement waterproofing, called AquaStop® Drainage System. This unique product collects water from the basement floor and walls while resting on top of the footer, rather than the mud zone where it is prone to clog. Both the design and installation allow for a lifetime warranty for ultimate protection. The system can be tied to a sump pump and dehumidifier depending on the basement’s unique needs.   

Exterior Waterproofing  

Exterior basement waterproofing typically involves a lot of excavation and an exterior wall sealant. This may or may not be combined with a french drain system to move standing water away from the foundation. Although this may improve your drainage issues for a while, this solution is similar to the system that failed you originally and will clog and fail again. Since so much excavation is needed, the solution can be pricey and doesn’t typically come with a lifetime warranty due to the clogging problem.   

Why Should I Waterproof My Basement  

As we touched on initially, a leaky basement is more than frustrating; it can lead to health problems and structural damage. Learn why finding the right basement waterproofing solution is so important.   

Mold, Mildew & Wood Rot  

Mold needs three things to survive, water, food, and oxygen, and your wet basement has all three in spades. Even if you don’t see standing water, high humidity can still cause mold to grow. Wood rot occurs on your basements’ organic matter, like wood and drywall. Although not all mold is toxic, breathing it is unhealthy, especially for small children or anyone with respiratory issues like asthma.   

Structural Damage  

When mold and wood rot target the items responsible for stabilizing your home, like the sill plate or beams, a damp basement puts your home’s structural integrity at risk. Homeowners may notice spongy or springy floors or gaps where the floor meets the baseboard. Structural damage should be addressed soon by a foundation repair specialist.   

Water Damage to Items  

The basement, especially an unfinished basement, is typically a storage spot for family items not in use. For everything from Christmas decorations to family heirlooms, even the smallest amount of water can ruin items, considering they are infrequently used, and mold could be allowed for a prolonged period of time. 

Choose the Best. Choose FSM.  

After doing your research, it’s always advisable to talk to a local expert in your area. The professionals at FSM can walk you through all the options you are considering and help you make a well-informed decision. These experts work in your town and are familiar with the neighborhood’s soil type and weather conditions.  

Since FSM inspectors aren’t salesman, they are never pushy, nor suggest products you don’t need. They look to find the best, permanent solution, backed by a long-term warranty. Contact FSM today to schedule your free, no-obligation inspection.   

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