So you have decided to add additional living space to your current home by finishing the basement. This additional square footage will increase the value of your home along with creating a new space for family to spend time together. But wait, there is the fear that finishing a space that is below grade can get wet and ruin your investment. What do you do? What do you need to know?
First, gutters should be cleaned and maintained. Gutters should be sloped a minimum of 1 inch for every forty feet of vertical run. Downspouts should extend either well beyond the area of influence around your foundation or intergraded into an underground network that collects storm runoff and sends it to a day light area down hill from the structure.
Next, the soil needs to be re graded around the foundation. If water pools against your foundation it's only a matter of time before it finds its way into the house. In order to create positive drainage, it is important to remove any mulch or debris from the surface before you move the soil. You can reuse the mulch on the new area but it's important not to mix it with the soil. A mixture of soil, mulch and debris can actually make your drainage problems worse. The soil should slope 6” over 10’ away from the foundation.
Installing or replacing your sump pump is one of the best ways to stop any flooding from occurring. Battery backup models are available so that even during power outages you can rest assured that your basement will not be flooded. As hydrostatic pressure rises, due to ground water, the sump pump will send water to the exterior of your home. Where this water exits the home you should have a PVC line extending beyond the area of influence or to your driveway to prevent that water from going back against your foundation.
At this point you need to assess the overall structural integrity of the basement walls. If there are any signs of cracks or bowing you should contact a foundation engineer immediately so that the situation can be evaluated and a structural plan can be devised if necessary. If foundation repairs are necessary the foundation engineer can recommend at foundation repair expert to perform the repairs on your home. Many times cracks and leaks can be solved quickly and inexpensively by trained foundation experts.
Upon completion of any necessary repairs work can begin on your new living space with the confidence that your investment will not be destroyed by water infiltration or structural failings. The steps are simple and many times only require minimal efforts and expense compared to having your newly renovated space being flooded.