Water In The Basement
When buyers consider a house for purchase, one of the important "must haves" is a dry basement. Often, buyers are turned off by a damp smell; black mildew stains on the foundation walls, water stains or the presence of water. It's no wonder. Damp basements can be expensive to correct. The grapevine is full of horror stories, and some waterproofing companies get rich performing needless modifications for naive homeowners.
In my experience, the vast majority of basement water problems can be corrected inexpensively by the homeowner. Water usually gets inside because of something on the outside. The usual suspects are:
- Downspouts discharge rainwater next to the foundation. The remedy for this is to attach a downspout extension to the bottom of the downspout so water is discharged four or more feet from the foundation.
- The soil next to the foundation is too porous, or is sloped so water runs towards the foundation. The remedy is to replace about 6 inches of the porous soil with clay-rich dirt, and add more such dirt in a sloping fashion so water runs away from the house.
by John R. Berry, PE
© Copyright 2001
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