With spring right around the corner, we all should start thinking about the potential for wet basements and crawlspaces. With spring come heavy and frequent rains. These rains can and will create havoc under your home if you are not prepared. Gutters need cleaned, downspouts checked, sump pumps need checked, perimeter grading must be maintained and foundations need to be kept in good shape.
The best sign that spring is right around the corner is the amount of waterproofing contractors advertising their latest, greatest interior water diverting system. These waterproofing contractors are the first to ignore the causes of water infiltration, only praying on the easy band aid fixes. These band aids include encapsulation, interior drain systems and super duper wonder sump pumps. These quick fixes do not address the problem only the symptom. You have to keep water away from your home and maintain your foundation if you want to have a dry basement or crawlspace.
Look for the signs and your home will tell you what is happening. These signs include efflorescence, mold, cracks in drywall, windows and doors that are sticky and water leakage. Once you know you have a problem your next step is to look for the cause. Causes include transpiration, plumbing leaks, poorly maintained gutters, drainage and poor soil conditions. Any of these can cause undue pressure on foundations which results in leaks and cracks.
Checking your basement for cracks and leaks should be the first step in making sure that you will not end up with a wading pool in your basement. Whether you hire a qualified foundation engineer or a foundation repair expert your foundation needs to be thoroughly inspected for wall cracks and ruptures, bowed foundation walls, settling footings and walls along with other structural defects. These defects must be solved before the rains start to prevent your basement from flooding. Neglecting structural defects assures foundation problems in the future.
A simple way of detecting whether your foundation is under structural stress is with crack monitoring. Crack monitors are simple devices that measure and record movement of foundations over a period of time. These simple products can help determine if foundation repairs are necessary or not. Not only are they simple to install and read, they also are fairly inexpensive. Just have one installed over a crack and record the movement over time to really see what the basement walls are doing.