A finished or unfinished basement serves as a useful space for storage, leisure activities and more. To protect your personal belongings from moisture, you’ll need to monitor the area and make sure water can’t make its way through walls, windows and surfaces surrounding your property. You can save yourself the headache of an indoor flood by keeping your eyes open for the following indicators that your basement is susceptible to rainwater and runoff.
1. Groundwater Pooling Into the Basement
Rain and snow can lead to standing groundwater. In other words, small pockets of water sitting in grass, flower beds and gutters can back up into your basement if they’re left unattended for extended periods. During the next rain shower, pay close attention to your home’s perimeter to see if any sizable puddles form near your foundation.
You can help prevent flooding in the basement by cleaning out your gutter system and redirecting drain spouts away from windows and siding.
2. Musty Smells and Water Stains
If you’re in the market for a new home, have a professional take a look at the basement for traces of flooding. In some cases, even the average homeowner can identify hidden moisture just by walking down the stairs. Foul odors and stains along walls are signs that a basement has a history of flooding.
Look for peeling wallpaper, bubbling drywall and lifting floor tiles. Unfinished basements consisting of concrete will show white mineral stains known as efflorescence. Musty smells and water stains should be assessed by a local expert, as they are are telltale signs of mold.
3. Basement Walls Showing Cracks
Basements sit below the ground, making it easy for water to seep in after a storm. Check your basement walls to make sure the concrete surfaces are free from cracks and ready to keep inclement weather out year-round. Small cracks tend to grow over time, creating an open space for groundwater to work its way inside.
To stay proactive, allow a local contractor to repair cracked or separated surfaces with caulking and waterproof sealants. Catering to minor cracks before they have a chance to expand can save you from immense cleanup efforts.
4. Home Surfaces Angled Toward the Basement
Patios, garages, carports and concrete slabs are culprits for flooding in basements. The surfaces outside your home should always be angled away from the main foundation so that runoff is unable to enter through windows and porous materials. Consider having a contractor visit your residential space to rework decking, driveways and other angled sections of your property so that they guide water effectively toward the road or sidewalk.
5. The Absence of a Sump Pump
Sump pump installations are necessary when basements sit deep within the ground below a location’s water table. Under these conditions, groundwater can seep into a home’s foundation via soil. In response, a sump pump kicks on during emergencies to move water from the property to a nearby drainage area. Think about having a professional install an automatic sump pump system if you have an unfinished basement located near a pond, lake or creek.
Sump pumps can save you from significant water damage, using a drainage pipe to direct rainwater from a tank below your concrete floors to a spot outside your home.
Trust ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park for Water Restoration Services in Chicago
A basement flood calls for immediate action, so ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park helps those in Chicago and surrounding locations with 24/7 assistance. From emergency flood damage cleanups to complete water removal services, we can help you regain control of your property with tailored water restoration solutions for the home and office. If you require immediate help, give us a call at (773) 346-6767.