Leaky Basement? Should You Put Off Waterproofing It?
A leaky basement is quite an annoyance. Basement leakage and excess moisture at the very least can cause a stinky mildew smell, mold growth, and the inability to use some or all of your basement for storage. At the worst, it can lead to ruined personal property, worsening of basement wall cracks, a heaved up basement floor, or foundation problems.
No one WANTS a leaky basement. But taking the time to research, interview, and hire a contractor is no picnic either. Various contractors may all present different options to fix the problem and leave you more confused than you were before you started. Or a high pressure sales pitch or fear mongering tactics that some companies use will make you wish you never opened your door. Be that as it may, there are certainly downsides to putting off a basement waterproofing project and many reasons for doing so. Let us consider just a few common reasons and try to dispel some of the hesitation you may have.
Reasons for Procrastinating
Waterproofing is really expensive – Waterproofing your basement may not be quite as expensive as you think. Maybe only a portion of your basement needs waterproofed. It may be possible to waterproof the part of your basement that is worst and waterproof the rest on a future date, if needed. If a basement is consistently leaking over a period of time, the problem can and will only get worse. When the problem gets worse, it gets more costly to fix it. Spending the money to fix it before the problem becomes serious can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. You may even find out that your leaky basement is caused by something simple, such as a gutter issue.
Using a waterproofing “paint” or coating will temporarily fix the problem and buy some time – In reality, waterproof paints and coatings will only mask the problem. They will not keep water out, but they may keep you from having to look at it for a short time. Water intrusion can cause basement wall cracks to progressively get worse. A coat of paint will not prevent this from happening.
The leak isn’t that bad – Maybe your basement only leaks on occasion and it’s not that bad. It would probably still be best to have a professional take a look at it just to make sure that it will not lead to any future problems. Again, it may be best to fix the problem early and “nip it in the bud” so to speak. This may prevent a small problem from turning into a big problem down the road.
What is that white powder?
That white powder on your basement walls or floor is lime. Lime is the bonding agent in concrete. When concrete gets wet and dries out the lime leaches out of it. This process is called efflorescence. Over time the loss of lime weakens the block and or floor and will cause it to get crumbly. This decay if left unchecked will lead to structural integrity issues such as blocks shifting out of place or mortar joint rot to the point of the wall moving.
If you are on the fence about what to do or unsure if you even have a problem, we can perform an inspection and give you a diagnosis. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity. We will not try to sell you something that you don’t need. Contact us for a free* estimate. (*Free for homeowners)
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