Owning a basement can be a lot of fun. It provides extra storage space and makes the floorplan of your property much, much bigger.
But it also comes with many types of problems. And these can wind up cutting into your household maintenance budget.
In this post, we take a look at some of the most common basement problems, what causes them, and how you can solve them.
Cracks In The Basement Wall
Believe it or not, basements absorb a lot of water. When rain falls, it slips down the side of the house, through the soil and comes into contact with the sub-surface masonry. Over time, it seeps into the brickwork, causing it to become soggy and lose strength.
Short term, this is okay and something builders plan for, but if it continues for a long time, it can create problems. As the brickwork dries out in the summer months, it contracts, leading to cracks. Repeat this process enough times and the cracks get larger and larger until they compromise the integrity of the wall.
The trick here is to use an impermeable membrane. You insert it between the ground and the wall, stopping water from travelling into the brickwork from the sides.
Basements are also the first place that gets flooded.
Flooding can occur for all sorts of reasons. If a flood drain outside your house becomes blocked during a storm, for instance, it could overflow and enter your basement. Leaking pipes or even heavy rain can also cause basement flooding.
When this happens, you’ll need to remove the water and then dry out the basement so that you can use it again and prevent mould building up.
Basements are prone to bad smells, especially if they become humid. Bacteria, rot, mould and dust mites can all thrive in basement environments. And when their numbers go high enough, they begin churning out all kinds of smelly compounds.
The trick here is to take control of the humidity in your basement. If you know that water vapour levels are high, install a dehumidifier to run around the clock. This way, you can keep atmospheric water content levels low and eliminate bad smells for good.
Failed Sump Pump
A sump pump is a device that some basements use to reduce the water table around a property. However, these devices can sometimes become blocked or malfunction during extreme conditions. And when this happens, it can lead to flooding.
The best advice here is prevention, not cure. Get a professional to check your sump pump for faults annually and protect yourself against this risk.
Bowing walls are probably the most serious of all basement problems and require urgent attention. Sometimes, you’ll notice that the walls appear to buckle inwards or outwards, as if they are collapsing under the weight above.
In this situation, you need something called a bowed basement wall repair. These use a series of anchor systems to hold everything in place, preventing the problem from getting any worse.