Essential Tips for Successful Basement Repair
If you’re a homeowner, keeping your living space in good condition is vital to maintaining its value and ensuring your comfort. Your basement, in particular, plays a crucial role in both.
However, this area is often neglected until an actual problem arises. Waiting this long can cause serious water damage in your basement, including flooding or mold, like in the image.
Thankfully, preventing basement damage is possible when you know the right tips and tricks. Proper maintenance and professional tools will keep your basement dry and safe. Let’s dive in.
Understanding the Causes of Basement Damage
Your basement is susceptible to structural damage and water damage that arise from several different causes. Understanding these causes helps you stay prepared and is the first step in preventing basement damage.
Wall or Plumbing Leaks
Water leakage is one of the most common problems in basements. Leaks lead to significant structural damage, standing water, and mold growth.
There are several reasons why leaks may appear in your basement:
- Poor outdoor drainage
- Improper yard grading
- Faulty plumbing or appliances
- Hydrostatic pressure
Generally, cracks in the basement walls allow water from the outside to enter your basement, especially after heavy rain or snow. Old water pipes are also prone to leaking, especially in the winter when it’s easier for pipes to freeze and back up.
Additionally, if your home is located in an area with a high-water table, you may be at a greater risk of basement flooding.
Foundation Cracks and Settlement
Foundations can crack and settle over time, especially in parts of West Virginia with silty soil. Settlement is caused by a variety of factors, including soil movement, freeze-thaw cycles, and poorly compacted soil.
Most often, water is the main culprit behind foundation settlement. During rain or snowfall, moisture may displace the soil supporting your foundation.
As a result, the ground becomes unstable and no longer provides a sturdy base for your home. Your foundation will move with the soil and lead to sinking, cracks, or settlement. This causes damage along your basement walls.
Mold and Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew thrive in damp, dark areas, like basements. Generally, mold growth skyrockets due to high humidity levels, water leakage, or poor ventilation.
Really, anyway that moisture can get into your basement will contribute to mold growth, so cutting it off at the source is important. If left untreated, mold and mildew break down structures in your basement and can even cause health problems for you and your loved ones.
Many pests like to make a home in your basement since the area is generally dark and cool in temperature. Common basement pests include rodents, insects, and spiders.
Basement damage, like cracks and holes in walls, provides easy access for many pests. Unfortunately, we all know that pests only create more issues.
Identifying Signs of Basement Damage
Identifying damage in your basement can help you catch problems early and repair them before they get worse. Thankfully, most basement problem signs are quite visible and can be spotted by yourself or a home inspector.
Cracks in Walls and Floors
Cracks in your basement walls and floors are a clear sign that foundation settlement has occurred, or water is pushing against the basement walls. Floor and wall cracks allow water to enter your basement, leading to further damage and potential structural issues.
Bowed or Buckling Walls
Another sign of basement damage is when the walls start to bow or buckle inward. This issue usually results from hydrostatic pressure outside the basement pushing against the walls, causing them to bend or deform.
Bowed or buckling walls can compromise the structural integrity of your home and cause other issues inside your house, like uneven floors or wall gaps.
Water Stains and Damage
Another common sign of basement damage is the appearance of water stains and damage on walls, floors, or ceilings. This can include discoloration, peeling paint, or warping.
These signs indicate that water is seeping into your basement and causing damage, usually because of wall cracks or plumbing leaks.
When to Call a Professional
It’s a good rule of thumb to call a professional if you notice something that concerns you about your basement. Even if you’re unsure if it’s a minor or major issue, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and hire a professional to inspect your space.
A professional will determine the extent of any damage and recommend the best course of action for prevention and remediation. They can also provide you with tips on how to prevent future damage and keep your basement in good condition.
Basement Authority of West Virginia offers free inspections, and our inspectors have a local understanding of how our state’s environment can damage your home. That understanding is what sets us apart from other repair companies – we actually address the problems at the source.
How to Prevent Basement Damage
Obviously, preventing basement damage is always preferable to dealing with complete repairs. Taking the proper preventative measures will minimize your risk of basement damage and save you significant time and money in the long run.
The best way to prevent basement damage is to make sure your home drainage systems are working as intended. We’ll quickly outline the different types of drainage systems that can help your basement stay protected from damage.
Interior Basement Drains
Interior basement drains are an effective way to capture water quickly before it can cause damage to your basement. These drains are installed around the perimeter of your basement in the wall cove (where the floor meets the wall).
A sump pump is a device designed to remove accumulated water from a sump basin. When water enters the sump basin, it triggers a float switch, which activates the sump pump.
The pump then uses an impeller to create a centrifugal force, forcing the water through a discharge pipe and away from the building.
Gutters and Downspouts
Ensuring that your outdoor gutters and downspouts are working effectively can save your basement from damage. Remove any clogs and perform regular maintenance to make sure water is flowing the way it should.
Another useful tool is a downspout extension. Sometimes, downspouts drain water too close to your foundation, so it seeps into the soil around your basement and puts pressure on the walls. Extensions helps to move water far enough away from the base of your home.
Best Tools for Basement Repair
Repairing basement damage is best handled by a professional team like Basement Authority of West Virginia. Generally, the best solutions involve repairing and supporting your basement’s walls.
BAWV offers a variety of basement repair options. Even if you don’t decide to work with us, it’s useful to have an understanding of these options so you can choose the best company or service for your home.
Wall anchors are a common basement repair solution used to stabilize and straighten bowed or buckling foundation walls. The system consists of two main components: an interior wall plate and an exterior earth anchor, connected by a steel rod.
To install wall anchors, small holes are drilled through the bowed wall and into the soil outside, at intervals determined by the severity of the bowing and the wall’s height.
The earth anchors are then placed in the soil outside the foundation, providing resistance against the inward pressure on the wall. Steel rods are threaded through the holes in the wall and connected to the earth anchors.
Finally, wall plates are attached to the steel rods inside the basement wall, and the rods are tightened using nuts or a torque wrench.
By applying pressure against the wall, wall anchors counteract the forces causing bowing or buckling, gradually straightening the wall and stabilizing the foundation.
I-Beams, also known as steel support columns, are made of steel and have a characteristic “I” shape, which provides strength and rigidity. I-Beams work by transferring the load from a damaged wall to the basement floor and ceiling, countering the forces that cause the wall to bow or buckle.
To install I-Beams, the top and bottom of each beam is securely fastened to the ceiling joists and the basement floor using brackets or bolts. The I-Beams are then placed vertically against the interior side of the bowed wall at regular intervals, determined by the severity of the bowing and the wall’s height.
Over time, the pressure from the I-Beams provides ongoing support to prevent further damage to your home’s structure.
Carbon Fiber Support Straps
Carbon fiber support straps are a modern and innovative solution for basement repair, specifically designed to stabilize and reinforce bowed or cracked foundation walls. These straps are made from high-strength carbon fiber, which is lightweight, non-corrosive, and incredibly durable. Carbon fiber straps work by evenly distributing the load across the wall’s surface, counteracting the forces that cause bowing or cracking.
To install carbon fiber support straps, the basement wall is first prepared by removing any paint or debris and ensuring a clean, smooth surface. The carbon fiber straps are then adhered to the wall using a high-strength epoxy resin, running vertically from the top to the bottom of the wall at predetermined intervals.
Once cured, the carbon fiber straps provide continuous reinforcement and support, preventing further bowing or cracking and restoring the structural integrity of your home’s foundation.
Basement Authority of West Virginia is Your Local Basement Repair Expert
If you encounter persistent or severe basement damage, it’s essential to consult with a professional contractor or waterproofing expert who can diagnose and address the problem. Timely intervention can help protect your home from water damage and maintain the structural integrity of your foundation.
When faced with basement repair issues or waterproofing needs, don’t hesitate to contact us for expert guidance and assistance. We’ve been serving homeowners in West Virginia since 2003 and are always ready to help.