It is that time of year again.  You venture downstairs to retrieve the tree and all the trimmings to deck your halls.  The last thing you want is to find them soaked and damaged from basement or crawl space seepage.

Many people only use the basement as storage and rarely go downstairs.  The problem with that is if there is a slow leak it has probably gone unnoticed and had time to do some damage.

Be sure to elevate storage items until the moisture and seepage problem is addressed.

Hopefully, you aren’t dealing with soggy Christmas decorations this year.  But don’t leave it up to luck.  There are ways to prevent basement leaks and keep your Christmas decorations dry.

If you are going to get a basement leak, the most likely places will be at the basement window, any cracks in the foundation wall, the cove (where the wall meets the floor), or up through the slab.

If you are getting water coming up through the slab you may need to install a sump pump.  If you have a sump pump make sure you have a battery back-up system so the pump will still work in a power outage.

A sump pump will pull water from underneath the slab and channel it out before it has a chance to come into the house.  Remember, a basement waterproofing system is about controlling water.  Because basements are below ground they are surrounded by ground water in the soil.  In many cases, there isn’t much preventing it from coming inside.  An interior drainage system will channel out any water that comes in.

If your foundation wall has concrete cracks, they should be fixed with an epoxy or polyurethane crack injection.  The type of material used depends on the size, location, orientation and nature of the crack. Is the crack moving? Actively leaking? Is it a sign of a bigger structural problem?  Simply caulking the surface of a foundation crack doesn’t fix it.  Basically, if your foundation has even hairline cracks or gaps anywhere in the walls or slab, it is a potential entry for water.  All these cracks or gaps should be filled and completely penetrated with crack injection material. Call a professional waterproofing contractor to inspect the cracks and fix them with professional grade material.

If you have storage in the basement, don’t keep boxes on the floor or along the walls.  Even if you are using a storage shelf, allow for a space between them and the walls.  If there is moisture coming through the walls it could still damage boxes especially if you are using cardboard boxes.  Cardboard is an organic material, i.e. food for mold, insects and other pests. Plastic storage bins are a better option when you are storing items in the basement.  Storing up off the floor on storage shelves will keep the space more organized and dry if the basement flooded.

Overall, an interior basement waterproofing system equipped with a sump pump and back-up pumps system will control the water and keep your basement dry.  A professional basement waterproofing contractor will inspect the basement for free and assess your situation.  They will help fix any cracks and gaps you have in your foundation wall and make sure you don’t have a more serious structural problem.

If you have serious structural problems, we will just say you have bigger problems then wet Christmas decorations.