Happy New Year! This time of year we get a fresh new start. As the calendar rolls over to a new year, we get a chance to look at ourselves, our lives, our families and our homes. It is a time to make goals, to change, make anew and resolve to ultimately live a little better than we did last year.
As basement waterproofers, our world revolves around basements, crawlspaces and foundations. We see some of the worst of the worst basements on a weekly basis. Honestly, the condition of some basements is so horrific that it is amazing anyone would want to live above it. It is mind boggling, especially considering what we know about indoor air and how almost half the air we breathe upstairs actually comes up from the basement and crawlspace. We wish everyone would prevent these conditions and live above a healthy basement or crawlspace. Believe it or not, most of the big basement problems can be prevented. There are simple things any homeowner can do to prevent water intrusion and protect their home from mold, rot, mildew and structural damage.
In the spirit of New Year resolutions, we have come up with a three basement resolutions for 2014.
Basement Resolution #1: Awareness (Check on the Basement Often)
With every resolution, first there needs to be an awareness of the weakness or problem before we can change. It isn’t until we actually recognize we are overweight (or acknowledge our favorite jeans don’t fit anymore) that we decide to start counting the calories and exercising. The same goes for having a healthy basement. We first need to be aware there is a problem or we can’t fix it. Wet basements and crawlspaces cannot be ignored. Even though they are easy to forget about, this site unseen is not without its effects on your health and structural integrity of your home.
Resolve to check on your basement regularly, at least once a month and for sure after any rainstorms. Catching the problem early is essential to keeping your basement or crawlspace dry and healthy. A small leak left unattended can turn into a big problem that will cost thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Basement Resolution #2: Fix the Simple Problems Early
So many basement problems could be prevented if homeowners would just maintain the landscape grade and the gutters and downspouts. We see so many homes with water problems in the basement where the grade around the house is sloping toward the house and downspouts are dumping gallons of water right next to the foundation. This would have been a small fix if the homeowner would have just reconnected the downspout to the field drain or cleaned the muck out of the gutter. By the time we are called on the scene, what would have been a small fix is now a big job. The hydrostatic pressure from the excess water build-up has caused concrete cracks, foundation leaks and in some cases structural damage to the house.
Resolve to maintain your landscaping grade around your foundation. Try to keep it sloping away from the house; never toward it. And make sure gutters and downspouts are working properly at directly rain water away from the foundation.
Basement Resolution #3: Be Healthier by Living above a Healthy Basement or Crawlspace
If you have a basement or crawlspace problem, resolve to get it fixed this year. Don’t wait another year. We understand how easy it is to forget about it when we don’t see or use that space on a daily basis. However, it truly is affecting you and your family. A wet and musty basement is impacting the indoor air quality in your home. It is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, dry rot and pests. Ignoring this problem will make it worse. The longer a foundation sits surrounded by water the more it deteriorates. The foundation moves, settles, and cracks. Extreme cases result in the foundation collapsing completely. Structural cracks should never be left alone; they need to be fixed and the house secured.
Make 2014 your year for a healthy basement and a healthy home.