Have you ever seen a completely empty basement? Probably not. Some put their food supplies down there, such as bags of flour and sugar, as well as canned goods. Some have converted it into a living area. Many basements across the country are being used as bedrooms, home gyms, or entertainment areas.
That said, having a functioning basement is not possible without proper waterproofing systems in place. Why is that? Keep in mind it is made of concrete. This material is porous, which is a problem since basements are surrounded by soil that is most often saturated with water. Therefore, staying dry on its own is impossible for a basement. The only way you can ensure a dry basement is if you install waterproofing solutions.
How Can I Waterproof My Home?
At Foundation Systems of Michigan, we have the tools, knowledge, and years of installation and repair experience to properly protect your home against any kind of water damage. With our waterproofing solutions, your home will be protected against mold infestation and foundation damage, while you will be at ease knowing that water damage is a thing of the past.
We offer only high-quality, durable products you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Our experts will create a personalized plan that will address the specific needs of your home and thoroughly protect it against water damage.
With the following products, we can ensure the safety of your home.
A sump pump is the heart of any waterproofing system. Due to frequent rainfalls in Michigan, the soil around your home can easily become oversaturated with water. Rainwater will accumulate below your home, threatening to damage your foundation and burst into your basement. A sump pump is designed to collect that water before it gets a chance to cause any harm and move it away from your home. It can also collect any water that ends up in your basement due to pipe leaks and send it away.
At Foundation Systems of Michigan, we highly recommend our Pro Series Pumps that are designed with cast-iron/cast-aluminum, so you can rest assured they won’t easily overheat like their cheap, plastic counterparts. To make your life easier, our pumps come with a reliable float switch and energy-efficient permanent split capacitor motor. If you are worried that your pump won’t work if there is a storm-caused power outage, we have a solution for you. With our Power Pack Backup, you can be at ease knowing that the pump will activate even if the power is out. Our backup sump pump is capable of pumping out over 13,000 gallons of water on a full charge.
Since concrete is porous, water will seep through your basement walls. While you cannot stop it from entering, you can manage it in a way that prevents water damage from occurring. With our VaporLoc Elite® Basement Wall Vapor Barrier System, you can protect your basement against water damage. This vapor barrier is installed against your basement wall to prevent water vapor from entering your home and increasing humidity levels in your basement. Keep in mind that this is not an ordinary plastic sheet. It is a 120-mil thick vapor barrier that will redirect water seeping through the basement walls into your drainage system.
Interior Drainage System
An interior drain is a pipe system that runs along the basement perimeter and collects water that seeps through the walls and the cove joint. Usually, drainage systems are installed outside. However, throughout the years we have seen the problems they cause because they often get clogged. Also, installing them when the house is already built involves a lot of excavation and is expensive. With our interior drainage system, you won’t have to worry about clogs. Our AquaStop® Drainage System is installed on the footing away from soil and roots. It can be installed in a day and once it is in place, it can be easily concealed with basement finishing.
Even if your basement doesn’t leak and there is no standing water in it, high humidity levels can still cause mold growth and attract rot. To keep moisture levels in your basement under control, you should install a dehumidifier. It will not only keep mold and wood rot away but will also remove allergy triggers, keep the air clean, and save you money on energy bills.
However, a standard dehumidifier that you can get at any department store won’t get the job done. Instead of wasting your money on weak dehumidifiers that are not able to keep your basement dry, contact your FSM experts and learn about our offer.
A grated drain pipe works just like our interior drainage system. The only difference is that it is placed at the bottom of a basement stairway or the doorway into a walkout basement. Our AquaGrate™ Drainage Pipe easily collects water from the floor and directs it to your interior drainage system.
Problems Caused by a Lack of Waterproofing Measures
Some homeowners try to maintain their homes without any waterproofing measures in place. However, many soon end up overwhelmed by problems caused by water damage. Let’s take a look at the problems you can expect if you do not waterproof your basement.
Wet basements and mold infestations go hand in hand. When your basement becomes damp, it creates a perfect environment for mold growth. Mold is even able to take moisture from the air to thrive and grow. Removing mold by hand every time it shows up is not a good solution, since this microorganism can imbed itself into the concrete walls. The only way you can keep your basement mold-free is to keep humidity levels in this area under control.
But why should you bother with mold removal anyway? If you have been exposed to mold for a long time, you can develop serious health issues, such as respiratory problems. It doesn’t matter if mold is only visible in your basement. It spreads through airborne spores that can easily contaminate the air in your living space. Inhaling them can affect your health, especially if you already suffer from respiratory issues, such as asthma.
Just like mold, wood rot thrives in damp environments. Since rot can slowly eat away your wood and make it fragile, it can severely damage your home. If it affects the wooden joists holding up your floorboards, it can compromise your home’s structural integrity. Soon, you will notice sagging, uneven floors in your home.
Once a wooden joist has started to rot, it will never be as strong as it once was. If you address the problem on time, you might be able to just remove the infected part and use the beam with the help of some supports. Otherwise, you will need to replace it completely. To avoid this problem and protect your home from wood rot, you need to invest in waterproofing solutions that will keep your home dry.
Since water is in the soil around your basement, it will always try to enter this area. If you do not have a sump pump or a drainage system, water will eventually flood your basement. Not only will it ruin your possessions, but standing water will instantly increase humidity levels and trigger mold and rot growth. Basements are not designed to direct water away from them, which is why waterproofing systems are required.
Waterproofing systems won’t just keep water from entering your basement and flooding it. Some waterproofing devices are designed to minimize the amount of moisture in the surrounding soil. One of those appliances is a sump pump. By removing excess moisture from the ground, it manages to slow down soil erosion and keep your home from experiencing foundation settlement.
Foundation settlement happens when gaps in the soil underneath your home occur. This can happen for several reasons. For instance, clay soil shrinks when there is no moisture in it, and drastically expands when it is saturated. These shrink/expand cycles can leave gaps in the ground. Since the foundation is no longer supported, it settles into those voids. Foundation settlement can also occur when water washes away a part of the soil beneath your home.
The consequences of the settlement will first be noticeable in your basement, where the walls and the floor will begin to crack and let water in. Eventually, your entire home will be impacted by the settlement.
Unfortunately, there are so many ways water can end up in your basement. Apart from the obvious flooding issues, like when a nearby river overflows its banks and floods the area around it, other culprits can fill your basement with water. Let’s check them out.
Hydrostatic pressure occurs when the soil gets saturated and water accumulates against your basement wall. If your home was built on clay soils, it is more likely to experience the consequences of increased hydrostatic pressure. Clay soils are known for their ability to retain water, unlike sandy soils that just let it drain away.
The weight of the water pushing against your foundation walls will make them bow inward. When this happens, your basement walls will begin to crack, letting water in. If not addressed on time, this problem can not only cause significant water damage in your basement but also compromise your home’s stability.
Rising Water Table
The water table is the upper layer of the area in the soil that is constantly saturated with groundwater. Due to heavy rains or snowmelt, the water table can rise. Since sometimes the basement is built just above it, the water table can surround your foundation walls when it rises.
If there are any cracks in your foundation, water can easily get through and enter your basement. Also, if large volumes of water accumulate below your home, they can cause cracks in your basement floor and make their way in.
Sometimes, water comes directly from your basement. A lot of pipes are running through it, and if just one becomes damaged, it can flood your basement in a couple of hours. When you notice a plumbing problem in your home, immediately go down to your basement and see whether there is a leak.
A broken water heater or a washing machine can also flood your basement very quickly. This is why it is important that such appliances are regularly checked and properly maintained.
Standing water in your basement won’t just affect your health and your home, it will also have an impact on your energy bills. Let’s look at it this way. Standing water makes the air in your basement humid. Because of the stack effect, this air won’t just remain in your basement. Instead, it will move upward, changing temperatures and humidity levels in your living area. To keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable level, your HVAC system will have to work overtime. As a result, your energy bills will skyrocket. With that said, one of the devices that will keep your basement dry is a sump pump. Since it is recommended that you have two sump pumps, you might be worried that these devices will also increase your energy bills.
Two Pumps are Better Than One
Michigan has certainly seen its fair share of rainy days. To keep your home protected against water that frequently accumulates below your home, your pump may have to work very often. Keep in mind that you should be able to hear your pump working, but it shouldn’t be a deafening sound. If your pump sounds like a small waterfall, it is way louder than it should be.
When a pump is too loud, it most likely is not able to single-handedly process all the water that is being collected. Therefore, it could easily burn out. Having a backup pump can keep your mind at ease.
A Backup Pump Is a Money Saver
You do not have to worry about the second pump raising your energy bills. Just because it is there in case the first one malfunctions doesn’t mean it will spend more energy. Even having three pumps is recommended if you live in an area prone to flooding.
There is no need to worry that your bills will increase. A spare sump pump can even save you a lot of money in the long run. Imagine a scenario where your first sump pump malfunctions during a storm, there is no backup and your basement ends up completely flooded. Repairing all the damage the water has caused will cost you a lot more than investing in a second pump.
As a homeowner, you are surely looking for the most affordable solution to your problems. However, the cheapest solutions are often the most expensive ones in the long run. If you have researched vapor barriers, you may have come across DIY tips that advise placing an ordinary plastic sheet on your basement walls. For several reasons, this won’t have the desired results.
Using a plastic sheet instead of a professional vapor barrier won’t work, because these two are not made from the same material. While store-bought sheets are made of regular plastic, vapor barriers are made of polyethylene. This material is much denser than normal plastic and is therefore can successfully block off smaller particles such as vapor.
Plastic is often used to protect items against water and therefore seems like a good solution for keeping your basement dry. However, what you are unable to see with your naked eye is that small liquid molecules can pass through it. Therefore, using it to protect your basement against moisture won’t work. You will still end up with a humid basement and you will waste money on large pieces of plastic sheets. If you want to permanently solve this problem, contact a waterproofing company and invest in a long-term solution.
Since it is located completely or at least partially in the ground, the basement is constantly exposed to moisture. To keep moisture from entering your basement, you need a durable material that will withstand years of moisture exposure. Ordinary plastic is not able to do that. On the other hand, polyethylene is one of the most durable plastics on the planet. It won’t rip and break apart even after decades of water exposure. It comes with a 25-year warranty.
Our VaporLoc Elite® Basement Wall Vapor Barrier System is made of inorganic material, so it will resist mold growth. On the other hand, standard plastic we use daily tends to harbor bacteria and thereby can encourage mold growth. When all these features are taken into consideration, it is easy to see that an ordinary plastic sheet can never replace a high-quality waterproofing solution such as VaporLoc Elite®.
Call Foundation Systems of Michigan for Your Basement Waterproofing Needs
If you live in Alpena, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Newberry, Saginaw, Sault Ste. Marie, Toledo, or Traverse City, do not hesitate to contact us. With our innovative waterproofing solutions, we can protect your basement against water damage and give you peace of mind. Our award-winning services will completely protect your home, so take advantage of our long-term financing options and give us a call today. Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation inspection and our knowledgeable field experts will create a personalized waterproofing plan for your home.