Basement flooding is one of the most stressful, yet prevalent issues homeowners face on a yearly basis. Flood damage is not only difficult and timely to remove, but it can also ruin Super Bowl parties or lifelong memories for you and your family. Nonetheless, like almost any home issue, there are certain precautions homeowners can take to ensure no water comes anywhere near the basement. Below are our five tips to avoid a flooded basement.
Keep Gutters Free of Debris
The best way to prevent basement flooding is by keeping your gutters free of debris. Preventing water from leaving your premises is never helpful. Your gutters were put in for a reason and driving water away from the home is its No. 1 function. If leaves or branches get caught in your gutters, water could start to pile up and leak right around your foundation. The more water near the foundation, the more likely your basement is going to flood. Cleaning your gutters is easy and should be done every spring and fall. See our step-by-step guide for cleaning your gutters here.
Make Sure There are No Cracks in the Foundation
Even if your home has no history of flood damage, it is vital that you seal cracks in the foundation walls and basement ﬂoors. I don’t need to explain that if there are holes in the foundation, water will get into the basement. There is no way around it.
Many sealing solutions are DIY projects, but some require professional installation. Start by removing any crumbling concrete and repair all cracks in the walls and floors. Use masonry caulk on cracks less than 1/8 inches wide. Caulk only costs about $10 per tube. Patch wider cracks with epoxy filler and a putty knife. Remember to patch the places where pipes and tie rods pass through the concrete. Drylok Fast Plug is effective for sealing cracks in masonry. For complex cracks or those subjected to movement, hire a professional, as DIY kits are less reliable for this level of damage.
To see what it cost to seal the cracks in your foundation, check out our basement sealing cost estimator.
Position Downspouts Away from Foundation
Your gutters could be as clean as whistles, but if you don’t have proper downspouts directing all that water away from your foundation, basement flooding can occur. They need to be thick and long enough to handle large amounts of water. Especially in areas of heavy rainfall, downspouts of 3X4 inches are highly recommended. They should be placing the rain gathered from the gutters at least five feet away from the home. If your current downspouts are not meeting these basic guidelines, you should think about extending them, another simple DIY project.
Extra Tip: You should have the water flowing onto a hard surface versus grass to ensure puddles do not form.
Install Window Well Covers
Another great way to avoid a flooded basement is by installing window well covers. Many homeowners leave their window wells open and exposed to natural weather. This can be very dangerous for numerous reasons. The first reason is of course flooding. With no protection, rainfall can easily start to puddle in the well and could seep into the basement. The second could be lack of insulation. If condensation is common in your basement, it is a good idea to open the windows once in awhile. However, if it is raining outside, you won’t be able to open your basement windows. Window well covers allow you to open those basement windows throughout the year.
If water has already started to pile up in the window well, you will want to read What to Do with Leaking Basement Windows.
Check the Sewers Around Foundation
Don’t worry, we are not recommending you open up the sewer and head down there. The responsibility for clearing the pipes could be yours. If that is the case, we highly recommend hiring a contractor. More often than not, this choir would fall under the city.
Nevertheless, it is vital to check and double check to make sure the sewers around your foundation are not clogged or backed up. This goes for the little sewers that may be right next to your back door as well. When sewers clog, water has no choice but to move up. If you have stairs leading down to your basement, chances are, you have a sewer nearby. That water will enter your home. Just like your gutters, you need to always ensure that no debris, leaves or garbage are blocking the passageway.
What to do if Basement Floods
First off, you should call a plumber to assess the situation. If you decide to start cleaning before the water has totally regressed, then you must turn off your electricity to avoid electrocution. Open all the doors and windows to allow some fresh air into the room. Clear the sump pump drains and the basement floors as much as possible. Eliminate excess water using old rags or towels. A wet/dry vacuum may also help with this. After grabbing your more memorable items, be sure to remove any wet carpeting or rugs. After these steps have been made, it is time to contact a plumber in your area.