Simple Steps to Keep Your Basement Dry

Wet basements are a common concern for homeowners. While some opt for costly water-proofing services, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, there are simple and cost-effective ways anyone can keep their basements dry.

Basements accumulate water through walls and joints. Poor yard slope, leaf-filled gutters or malfunctioning sump pumps are just some of the root causes.

Let’s dive into some easy, DIY-friendly ways to keep your basement dry.

  • Proper Yard Grading: Proper yard grading is essential to ensuring a dry basement. It should feature a gradual slope down and away from your house to ensure natural water runoff. To properly grade your yard, you must use adequate soil, compact it and maintain a consistent slope of about 4 feet from your foundation. If your property has slopes directing water towards your home, you may need additional drainage systems or swales to redirect the flow.

  • Insert Gutter Guards: Clogged gutters pose serious risks to your home’s water system. Leaves and debris block water flow, leading to pooling near your foundation, which can adversely affect your basement. If trees are nearby, consider installing gutter guards. Even with this precaution, regular gutter inspections are necessary to ensure gutters remain clear. WIN Home Inspection is top ranked in the industry, offering a Drone Roof Inspection that identifies gutter clogs safely and efficiently. Call your local WIN home inspector today for more information on service offerings.

  • Install Downspouts and Sump Pumps Properly: Ensure your downspouts and sump pump discharges extend at least 4 feet away from your house and foundation.

  • Sump Pump Care: Your sump pump is critical for proper water drainage; perform monthly checks by pouring water into the pit or lifting the float switch. Additionally, consider investing in a battery-powered backup system for added protection, particularly if your basement is finished and/or used for storage.

  • Heavy Dump Pumps: In regions with high water tables, you may require heavy-duty pumps, as regular sump pumps may not suffice.

  • Install Window Wells and Ensure Appropriate Ventilation: If your basement windows or vents are at ground level, they are vulnerable to rainwater infiltration. Installing window wells can help keep water out.

  • Consider Poured Concrete Foundation: Home foundation type can impact its resistance to water intrusion. Concrete block foundations are common but less water-resistant, whereas poured concrete foundations provide better protection. Regardless of your foundation type, the above recommendations can help maintain a dry basement.

  • Identify Past Water Issues: When inspecting a house, be vigilant for signs of past water problems, such as water stains or rust on basement stairs or posts. High storage in the basement can also indicate previous issues.

  • Seller Disclosure: Always inquire with the seller about any prior water problems, and obtain comprehensive details. Documentation related to repairs and warranties is invaluable.

  • Control Humidity with Dehumidifiers: Operating a dehumidifier in your basement during spring through fall can effectively reduce humidity. While it won't prevent water from entering, it can mitigate musty odors and mold growth. Mold can activate respiratory ailments like asthma and allergies, so invest in a WIN Mold Air Test today for peace-of-mind.

  • Obtain an Infrared (IR) Scan: Home inspectors use infrared thermography to detect concealed water damage in finished basements, even behind walls. WIN’s IR Scan is non-invasive yet thorough, identifying electrical hotspots that would otherwise go unnoticed.

During a home inspection, we diligently search for signs of water intrusion, such as rust stains, water marks, visible mold, and more. If you're selling your home, be transparent with your inspector about any past water issues. WIN Home Inspection is ranked number one not only for our industry expertise, but also our stellar customer service.

Maintaining a dry basement does not need to be daunting or costly. Armed with knowledge, regular upkeep and strategic improvements, you can effectively manage basement moisture. Stay dry and informed!

Author Bio:

Josh Rogers

As a former professional home inspector and Training Specialist at WIN Home Inspection, Josh has years of experience in both performing and teaching home inspections, infrared scans, radon testing, mold testing, and more.