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Don’t ignore the room under the house

A basement or cellar is notorious for being a damp, musty place. But by waterproofing the room it can save money in the long run. If there is an existing leakage problem the root cause will need to be found. Instead of replacing both the walls and the floor there are a few waterproofing tips which will help find and then repair the cause ensuring the basement can be kept dry.

If the house is to be let then the owner will make sure that the basement is protected as they will not want to claim on their landlord insurance policy.

A lot of leakage problems emanate from water seeping through the walls and then seeping into the joints where the walls and floor meet. Small cracks /chips and any other damage (no matter how small) to the concrete will be an open invitation to water. Start by cleaning and repairing any damaged areas by patching the concrete. When all of the cracks have been repaired, seal the concrete. This is done by simply painting sealant onto the interior side of the concrete.

Hydrostatic pressure could be a problem for some homeowners even if the concrete has been sealed. It is important to have a good drainage system in place. Drainage problems will require a lot more work than simply painting on a sealant; but remember when it comes to waterproofing it is very important that a drainage system is in place.

Check and make sure that the gutters are not blocked and the drainpipes are working properly. All the drains and pipes should be checked at regular intervals for blockages. The best time to do this is just before winter. Extending the drain spout so that any rainwater is brought farther away from the house will help with the waterproofing. Also check the sump pump (if there is one) to make sure it is in good working order.

A lawn which slopes towards the house will invite water drainage problems. A good drainage system will include having the lawn graded properly. It may be necessary to change the lawn so the slope goes away from the home. This will require building the ground up so that the area closest to the house is the highest.

Another waterproofing system involves sealing the concrete walls except the last three inches closest to the floor and then putting in a good drainage system which will collect and channel all of the water out. A system like this is not very difficult to install and can be easily hidden by building materials.

By Simon Dack