Finding a leak in your basement is something you need to take very seriously. Leaving a basement leak because you don’t think it’s necessary or you don’t know what kind of damage it can do can lead to some big problems, some of which will be very costly to fix.
Yet although you do need to move fast, it’s important not to panic if you have a leak in your basement. Panicking will lead to errors, and that can be worse than taking your time. The key is to be methodical and repair your basement leak in the right way. When you do this, the problem won’t be as damaging as it could be. Read on to find out more.
Find The Problem
The first step in fixing a basement leak is to find where the leak is coming from and ultimately what is causing it. It’s entirely possible to repair the damage and waterproof the basement without taking care of this step, but it’s not a good idea. If you don’t find the source of the leak and make sure that it’s no longer a problem, the leak will continue, and even if you make the necessary repairs, more damage will occur sooner or later, and all the hard work you put in will be for nothing.
If you can’t pinpoint precisely where the leak is coming from, it might be more than a single leak – it could be a much bigger issue. You might, for example, have a problem with the foundations of the property. In a particularly wet climate or if you live somewhere with clay-like soil, the amount of moisture in the earth around the basement can be too much for the foundations, and they can crack, allowing water to seep in. Tree roots and other backyard hazards can do the same.
If this is the issue, the best thing you can do is call in foundation repair experts. Doing this means you can solve the initial problem, and you can go ahead with your basement leak repair knowing that your foundations are sound.
Once the source of the leak has been determined the problem fixed, the next step is to prepare the basement surface. This starts with the floor; any pools of water that have collected need to be mopped up. You should also remove any mold or mildew from the walls and floor – this can quickly grow when a room has a lot of moisture in it.
Once the water and mold have gone, use a broom to sweep the floor right up to the walls. Essentially, you’ll want to remove as much dust and debris as possible before you start making the basement waterproof.
Seal The Walls
Once the surface of the walls has been prepped, you can seal it. This will need at least two coats, so make sure you purchase enough sealant. For the first coat, you can use a polyester or nylon brush, and for the second coat, you can use a roller to make the process quicker. The sealant needs to cover the wall so that it makes its way right into the masonry.
After the second coat has been applied, you’ll need to leave the sealant to dry for a few days. After it has dried, check to ensure that there aren’t any holes in the surface. If there are, another coat will need to be applied in the same way as the second one was.
Seal The Floor
You might find that there are cracks in your basement floor, and if so, these will need to be sealed. If they aren’t and more water seeps in, the water will make these cracks worse and could cause damage to your foundations. Foundation repair from professionals is, of course, possible, but if you want to repair any leaks and ensure your basement is as safe as possible, it’s wise to try to prevent this issue from occurring in the first place.
Before you can seal the cracks in the basement floor, you should use a hammer and chisel to open the gap. This might seem counter-intuitive, but if you chisel at an angle that means the outside is larger than the inside, the seal will be better. Next, clean the crack so there is no dust or debris inside it and seal the crack with cement. Don’t try to use the same sealant you used on the walls for your basement floor; it’s not made to withstand foot traffic.
Now that the leak is fixed and the repairs are made, you can decorate – or redecorate – your basement as you need to. Remember, though, that the basement is underground, which means it will always have the potential for problems like this. Therefore, knowing the signs of a foundation issue and where to go for a foundation repair is crucial.