Here’s What You Should Do Before Calling a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

When faced with a wet basement, most people’s first reaction is to call a water damage repair contractor. This is not always a good idea because while most basement problems are easy to fix, your contractor will probably blow them out of proportion just to get you to install an expensive interior drainage system that’s completely unnecessary. Of course, this means more money in their pocket as the installation costs will be huge.

Sometimes, the best course of action is to seek alternative and cost-efficient solutions that enable you to fix your basement by yourself. Read on to find out how to do just that.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Oftentimes, the best way to improve your water damage restoration measures is to perform regular maintenance on your gutters. This includes cleaning them out, mending holes (if there are any), and positioning them so that they face your downspouts, enabling the water to go straight from the roof to the ground.

Ideally, you want the water coming from your downspouts to fall at least 4 feet from your house. If the water spills closer than that then you’ll have to extend the water spouts, which shouldn’t cost you more than $15. This is much less than what you’d have to pay for gutter repairs.

Check the Soil

The soil around your house should preferably slope away at 1-inch per foot, while the grading should mostly contain fill soil and about 20 -30% of clay content. Sandy soil is not recommended because it won’t shed the water properly. The same goes for soil with organic matter.

We’d also recommend that you remove any leaves, mulch or ground cover that’s there before you pour soil onto your foundation, as they will create a water-retaining layer that defeats the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve, which is to slope the water away from your house.

On the other hand, if some of the soil is actually sloping towards your house, then you’ll have to dig a steep U-shaped ditch to divert it away.  

Waterproof Your Walls

You can also waterproof your walls by digging a trench until you reach the footings of the affected walls.  Then, install a drainage pipe to catch water and divert it to the nearest drainage pit. You’ll also have to add a vapor barrier and reparge the exterior walls, fill the trench with soil and then regrade the surface area for better drainage. While this solution is more expensive than putting in an interior drainage system, you’ll find that it’s more effective and long lasting because it will completely divert water away from the wall before it even reaches your home’s interior.

Finding the Right Contractor

If you feel that you’re not comfortable with attempting these water damage solutions on your own, then it’s advisable to hire an experienced contractor that specializes in drainage work. Make sure to consult different contractors before you make a decision, and choose a contractor whose payment schedule allows you to pay most of the cost after the job is done. You can even arrange to hold out payment until after the first heavy rains, which is the best way to test the system’s performance.