Basement Waterproofing

If you are a homeowner who happens to have a basement below your main living space, how well do you know this area of your house?

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There are several reasons why your basement and home are experiencing these issues. But one major culprit is the ground on which your home was built.

There are many soil types throughout the United States and around the world, and more than 180 have been recognized in South Carolina. But there are three basic ingredients – sand, silt, and clay, as well as a combination of any or all of these – that make up all soil types and their texture. NASA Earth Observatory maps show how much of these ingredients can be found across the country. Faster-draining sandy soils can be found in southern states. Clay soils that hold onto water and silt soils that tend to have intermediate drainage properties are found across the country. 
South Carolina has a mix of each kind, with mostly sandy soils near the coast and a combination of sand and clay throughout the bulk of the state. It can be difficult to build in the state’s damp, wet soil, whether it’s clay or sand. That explains the lack of basements in the south, and why it can be more economical and practical to build on a slab foundation. Nevertheless, we have come across homes in South Carolina with basements that need waterproofing assistance. 

To start your home’s construction, a very large hole had to be dug in the ground to accommodate building the foundation. Some of the soil that was excavated and removed was then replaced or “backfilled” to fill in the gap that remained between the foundation walls and the rest of the earth after the walls were constructed. This soil is loose and fluffy, and not densely packed like untouched soil on the property. Because of this, the soil immediately surrounding the house easily becomes saturated and collects water, creating a “clay bowl” and putting pressure on the walls that leads to cracks and leaking water. 

As this force is constantly exerted on the walls by saturated, expanding soil – which is known as hydrostatic pressure – the structural stability of the walls is at risk. The walls will begin to show failure in the form of cracks and inward movement, and this can allow water to easily find its way inside. 

Coinciding with the clay bowl effect and hydrostatic pressure is soil settlement over time. As the backfilled soil around your house settles, it can do so at an angle and slope towards the foundation walls. Water then can easily run next to your foundation and contribute to issues like hydrostatic pressure and leaks. 

Mother Nature is unpredictable, and South Carolina experiences its share of various weather patterns. Heavy rainstorms can dump a lot of water on the ground with nowhere to go, and hurricanes often bring flooding with their torrential rains. All this water can find its way inside through saturated soil and wall cracks. 

As your home was being built, a footing drain was placed just next to the exterior foundation walls to help re-direct water. But this drain can clog and let water collect near the walls, just as with settling soils.  

Similar to the footing drains, any exterior drainage systems also can pose a problem. Clogged gutters can allow water to spill out and directly onto the foundation and cause problems with seepage. Any above-ground gutter-downspout and downspout conductor lines can let water drain too close to the walls and seep inside. Any buried lines also could break or collapse and lead to puddles or a backup of water. 

Sump pumps are the heart of a basement waterproofing system, and it is crucial to have a fully functional system. Sump pump systems commonly are installed in the basement floor with metal basins, lids that rest on top, and openings for the discharge pipes. Some may not have lids at all. Metal basins can easily rust and corrode, and partial or nonexistent lids let water evaporate back into or flood the basement. This leads to unpleasant odors and moisture issues that defeat the purpose of the sump pump in the first place. Debris and other items also can easily fall into the system and damage the pump if the sump pit is not completely covered. 

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William Cheek and his crew did an excellent job on my son Anthony and Amanda foundation repair, we are very pleased with the work and the professionalism Great team!!!

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Now that you’ve learned about common basement issues and their causes, don’t you feel motivated to get to the root of these problems and rid your house of them for good? Why would you want your loved ones to be around these kinds of conditions? There are countless benefits from investing in reliable basement repair solutions. Here are just a few of the perks

  • Better Health and Quality of Life — Mold loves dark and damp areas, so your basement could be a place for this harmful toxin to call home. More than half the air you breathe in your house comes from below-grade areas like basements and crawl spaces. So, if there’s mold and dust mites in these areas of your house, chances are you also are breathing them in. Health conditions such as asthma, allergies, and other respiratory issues can worsen or even begin because of this exposure to mold. But having a dry basement will help prevent your family from getting sick. Part of having a healthy home also involves conditioning the air. Running a dehumidifier will help improve the overall air quality and keep moisture and humidity in check. 
  • Protected Structural Integrity — As previously mentioned, leaking water and failing walls actually can go hand-in-hand. Over-saturated soil directly next to the exterior foundation walls can cause hydrostatic pressure that leads to wall cracks and movement, as well as leaks in your basement. This is most common in homes with block foundation walls. Water can easily saturate and seep through the porous material and find its way inside through any crack or gap. When this water has nowhere else to go, it starts building up inside the walls, resulting in an unsafe mess for your foundation walls and basement floor. When your basement is properly waterproofed, you also are protecting the foundation holding up the rest of the house. 
  • Improved Energy Efficiency — Basements are naturally cooler areas because they are below-grade. But ones with leaking water can experience even more of a temperature drop. The floors above the basement also can feel cooler, increasing the need to run the heat more often to reach a comfortable temperature. Higher humidity levels also cause the air conditioner to struggle to keep up in the warmer months. So, your HVAC system could be continually running and struggling to keep up year-round. Its constant operation also drives up your utility bills. To put an end to throwing money down the drain on heating and cooling bills, invest in reliable waterproofing solutions that will save your home and your wallet in the long run. 
  • Increased Real Estate Value — Your home’s real estate/resale value can be impacted by several factors. But it’s important to be aware of your home’s condition regardless. This includes any leaking water and other basement problems. As a South Carolina homeowner, when you sell your house you are required by law to provide a written statement to the buyer disclosing any known past or current defects. Some of these items include basements and infestation of wood destroying pests. Show buyers you care about your home and the finer details by addressing any issues beforehand. 

You might be excited to visit your local home improvement store to gather repair supplies after reading about what could be going on under your house. And there are so many resources like video tutorials and blogs at your disposal. However, no matter how handy and capable you are, wet basement repair isn’t meant to be a project you can knock out in a weekend with a friend. Basement waterproofing is serious work, and something that is best left to professional contractors. 

There are different DIY repairs you could use like sealants or paints, but these are only temporary solutions that will end up popping and flaking because of underlying, lingering water and moisture problems. Water follows the path of least resistance and it will find another way in even if you “sealed off” one intrusion area.  

Don’t waste your time and money on quick fixes that won’t get the job done. Fix the problems right the first time with a trusted company.  

If you’ve heard horror stories about working with contractors, it’s understandable that you’d be wary about working with one yourself. But don’t let a few bad apples out there completely influence your decision. 

Before hiring a contractor, make sure you do your homework and are comfortable with who you bring into your home. Request more information about the company and ask for reviews; references; proof of insurance, licenses, and other certifications; a written contract; and examples of completed work. Check out our “How to Pick A Basement Repair Company for Wet & Leaking Basements” blog to learn more. 

And don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Mount Valley Foundation Services! 

You found our website for a reason. As you investigate potential waterproofers and gather information, we want you to strongly consider working with our company. You might be thinking that we’re just like any other contractor, but we can prove to you that we’re not. Our world-class team and solutions stand head and shoulders above the rest.  

First off, we offer you a free, no-obligation inspection and estimate. Once you contact us, our office team will work with you to schedule an inspection with one of our highly trained certified inspectors. During this appointment, our inspector will complete a thorough evaluation of your home’s interior and exterior, checking for sources of water seepage along the way. The inspector will discuss his findings with you, as well as your goals for a repair project. As the inspector prepares your estimate for repair, he will tailor solutions to specifically meet your repair needs. He will also take your budget into consideration and discuss payment and financing options. 

The next step is the work itself. When you choose to move forward with a repair project, our office will work with you to schedule the job with one of our experienced installation crews. The crew members will treat your home as their own, with the utmost care and respect, as they install tested and proven waterproofing solutions. If something comes up along the way, don’t panic. Your satisfaction is our No. 1 priority, and we will work until you are 100% happy with the job. We also offer service and maintenance opportunities to protect our work and your home. 

Because we are 100% committed to you and the health and safety of your family and your home, we will install only the best, proven, warrantied products that will effectively work to keep your basement dry. The products we use are not outsourced. They are made right here in the United States, and they have been tested to stand up to harsh leaking water conditions. This is our commitment to you, your family, and your home. 

Here are the solutions we use to fix your wet basement and how they work. 

  • Drainage Systems – Interior drainage is the best option when it comes to tackling seeping water. First, we need to intercept the leaking water. After excavating your basement floor’s perimeter, we will install the BasementGutter™ interior drainage system in your basement’s sub-floor. This system will catch seeping water from the walls and floor and then direct it to a sump pump system. We also offer grated drainage pipe systems that can be placed in the floor in front of stairs and access points, which can easily be tied into the rest of the perimeter drainage system. 
  • Sump Pumps – Once the leaking water has been intercepted by interior drainage channels, it needs somewhere else to go other than back onto your basement floor. With our systems, the water is discretely collected and drained into a sump pump system that will effectively pump this water out of the basement and away from the home. We offer several sump pump systems to meet your waterproofing needs. 
  • Frozen Discharge Line Solutions – Water from the sump pump is pumped out through a discharge line. Sometimes the exterior line can freeze or become blocked. But our FreezeGuard™ outlet can be attached to the exterior line just outside your foundation wall to prevent water from backing up and leaking back into your basement. 
  • Dehumidification – Another important part of keeping the basement and home safe and healthy involves conditioning the air. Our dehumidifiers are powerful, yet energy efficient. They will clean and filter the air, control moisture and humidity, and reduce odors and the potential for mold growth. And, unlike conventional dehumidifiers, our units are self-draining. They can be directed to drain into sump pumps or perimeter drainage systems, so there are no buckets or reservoirs that you need to worry about emptying. 

We’ve saved the best concern for last. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most-asked homeowner questions. It’s a big deal, and we understand that. We also understand how frustrating it can be to not get a straight answer right away from our office.  

To give you a general idea, homeowners can expect to spend an average of $4,000 on basement waterproofing. Various projects that go into the repairs typically range from $2,000 to $10,000. The return on investment from basement waterproofing is estimated to be around 30 percent. 

There’s a lot to consider with the cost of wet basement repairs. Because every house is unique and has its own different repair needs, there’s no “one size fits all” solution. What may have worked for even your next-door neighbor’s home might not be exactly what your house needs.  

That’s another reason why being present for an appointment with one of our certified inspectors is so important. The inspector needs to physically be in your home to look at the problems and get a better idea of what’s going on. He will then be able to customize repair solutions specific to your home’s repair needs. Along with your budget and repair goals, your inspector also will take the severity of damage or problem areas, square footage, and amount of material needed into consideration. 

Even though the cost can range significantly depending on the basement problems and needs, can you really put a price on your peace of mind and family’s health? Think of it as an investment with priceless benefits. 

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