You may be building a basement in your new home to maximize and make the most of your space. But not following basement waterproofing do’s and don’ts can cause all your effort to go to waste.
Water damage is one of the most common issues plaguing homes, from water seepage near the bottom of your walls to spots on the ceiling. Most water damage is easily reversible, but basement water damage can cost thousands to fix.
So, why not make your basement waterproof before you ever use it? Wondering how to do that? Let’s talk about some do’s and don’ts of basement waterproofing.
1. Do: Install a Subsurface Drainage System
A subsurface drainage system should be the first thing on your mind when you’re building a basement. It’s a system made from pipes, tubing, sump pits, and buried or open drains that remove water that seeps into the soil.
The system essentially stops water from collecting under, around, or within your foundation slab by draining it quickly to a lower gradient. As a result, your basement has no problem staying dry.
You could install a subsurface drainage system within, under, or above your concrete slab. Just ensure it is buried within or under it to reduce the risk of leakage. A subsurface drainage system is necessary for Dubai neighborhoods with lots of ground or seawater exposure.
2. Don’t: Don’t DIY Sealants
Though the idea of sealing your basement yourself can seem attractive when you’re in the store and dreaming about not spending thousands of dirhams on basement waterproofing, don’t do it.
The thing is that while DIY sealants can be effective in the short term, they’re not a solution for long-term basement use. For example, if you coat your basement walls with a sealant, they’ll stop water from seeping into your basement, but the water isn’t going to go away.
Instead, it’s going to collect behind your walls, drain underneath the floor slab, and create puddles that’ll slowly erode and crack your foundation. A few years after you renew your DIY sealant, you’ll be hit with a mountain of bills for a foundation repair.
That doesn’t sound too good, does it?
So, leave the sealing to the professionals, and better yet, as we’ve mentioned above, get an exterior and subsurface drainage system installed in your home. It’s more effective at removing water that’s biding its time near your basement.
3. Do: Get Proper Grading
Grading is the slope of the ground around your basement. If the ground slopes towards your basement or is flat, you’ll never get rid of seepage because water will always drain into it.
If you want to ensure your basement stays dry, make the slope of the ground around your basement really high. Lower it at least one inch per foot for at least six feet. That’ll ensure no flood will come into your basement anytime soon.
4. Don’t: Skimp on Window Wells
Most people ignore window wells when they’re making subsurface or basement windows. If you’re thinking of putting windows in your basement, invest in a gravel window well with a tile system underneath. It’ll ensure rainwater will seep into the ground instead of standing next to or draining into your basement.
Make sure your window well is at least eight inches wider than your window and eight inches deeper than the windowsill to allow for maximum safety.
5. Do: Keep an Eye on Your Sump Pits
Sump pits contain a sump pump responsible for channeling water away from damage-prone areas like basements, floors, ceilings, walls, etc. They are the main reason water drainage works so well.
However, if your dump pit breaks down, you’ll be left with backed-up water in your pipes, and this water may even travel back to where it came from and cause water damage. So, if you think the water in your home isn’t draining well, check your sump pit.
6. Don’t: Let Your Pipes Fill Up
Your pipes are responsible for channeling the water collected by gutters and drain pipes. If your pipes are clogged with tree roots, gravel, sand, or silt, you’ll never get rid of the water that’s plaguing your basement. Instead, the water will stay where it is, causing the wood to swell and the foundations to break down.
So, get your drainage pipes checked every six months to a year to ensure they’re not clogged or obstructed. If they are blocked, have someone open them up.
7. Do: Check for Foundation Cracks
Foundation cracks are the bane of homeowners’ existence. They pop up anywhere, and most of the time, they’re caused by water damage or constant freeze-thaw, which is common in places with fluctuating temperatures like Dubai.
So, if you live in a Dubai neighborhood that gets cold at night and burns during the day, keep a close eye on your foundation. The burning heat may cause it and the water inside it to expand, and the night may cause the opposite. This constant back-and-forth motion can lead to cracks.
8. Don’t: Ignore Defective Downspouts or Gutters
A defective gutter or downspout can stop water from flowing toward the sump pump, causing it to stay stagnant or backpedal where it came from. It can also cause water to seep out of drain pipes, causing it to saturate the ground, wall, or wherever the pipe is positioned.
So, don’t ignore a blocked, unaligned, or unsealed downspout or gutter. Always have your contractor install it in your basement during your house building or during a renovation if you want to stay relatively free of water damage.
9. Do: Clean Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can also lead to water damage. Here’s how: sand, silt, soil, and small gravel pieces travel into your gutter every day. They don’t look as much, but when you leave them to collect for a month or two, they can create roadblocks within pipes that stop water drainage.
The blocked water drainage can make water stop flowing away from wherever it has collected. As a result, the water stays underneath your floor or within your walls, causing them to bloat and leading to water damage.
So, instead of spending thousands on water damage, try to keep your gutters clean as can be.
Ready to Waterproof Your Basement?
Your basement is probably the place where you put your excess stuff or live if you’re a fellow Dubai native. And when you’re living somewhere, spills become an important part of life. They’re inevitable, just like sand getting into your car.
Plus, you won’t want to live in a musty-smelling basement, right? So, getting basement waterproofing is essential. But getting someone to perform a functional, sealed basement waterproofing can be challenging — doubly so if you don’t know where to look.
However, if you have been searching for a waterproofing company in Dubai, check out Greensense Environmental Solutions LLC.