Basement remodeling is one of the most cost-effective home improvements you can undertake. There is however one issue unique to the basement that can be quite a challenge and can never be simply ignored: moisture. No remodeling can proceed in the basement until any water intrusion issues have been solved. Happily though, while basement moisture is a real and significant issue, it’s not beyond your ability to control.
The First Step in Basement Remodeling: Water Mitigation
As much as you may want moisture problems to just go away they’ll only get worse if you don’t address them. Let’s take a look at some ways moisture affects the average Toronto basement and then at some remedial actions that can help ensure your basement remodeling project is successful.
- Mold – You don’t need to have deep puddles of water in your basement to have a water problem. If you see mold growing on the foundation wall you have a leak somewhere. Mold may look harmless but spores can cause allergic reactions and even bring on asthma attacks.
- Standing water – Standing water may denote a high water table or cracks in the foundation. Standing water can also become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and a red carpet for crickets, pillbugs, millipedes, centipedes and more who are drawn to the dampness.
- Widespread damage – Moisture, along with the mold spores it carries, can find its way into the HVAC ducts and be distributed throughout the house. It can also damage the electrical components of your furnace along with anything you have stored in the basement; like electrical appliances, clothes, artwork, computers and more.
Just building over basement water problems is like crossing the street with your eyes closed. You may get away with it for a little while but it will catch up to you. In order to mitigate water issues in the basement consider these steps.
- Modify the landscaping – Have a landscaper adjust the grade around the house to slope away from the foundation. This will sometimes solve minor water issues. Check your window wells too. If they turn into pools every time it rains you’ll want to have them redesigned.
- Fix downspouts – If the downspout doesn’t deliver runoff far enough away from the house this extra water can saturate the ground, resulting in hydrostatic pressure that causes leaks. Make sure downspouts deposit runoff at least 5 feet away from the foundation.
- Waterproof the walls – Sealing the inside of the foundation walls can sometimes take care of less serious water issues. You’ll want to hire a pro to ensure it’s done properly. After sealing wait to make sure this has taken care of the problem before basement remodeling
- Install a French drain – In more serious cases you may have to install a French drain to deal with groundwater. A French drain is typically located several feet from the house. It snags and redirects groundwater before it reaches your foundation.
- Install a sump pump – If you determine the water is coming up into your basement and not through the walls a sump pump should take care of it. During the remodeling the sump pump can be easily hidden in cabinetry.
Once you’re able to properly assess and fix any water/moisture issues you should be able to proceed with your remodeling and enjoy the many fruits of your finished basement for years to come.
Karen Homes are one of the Greater Toronto Area’s most experienced basement remodeling companies. We’ll make sure your basement is bone dry and properly prepared before we embark on any remodeling work so that the project unfolds the way it’s supposed to and you get the basement of your dreams.