How to Keep a Basement Dry

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Is your basement damp, wet, or prone to flooding? Having a damp or flooded basement not only ruins a good mood, it can damage your home and belongings. Keeping a basement dry helps protect your home from flood and mold damage and allows you to make better use of your basement's potential. There are several things you can do to help keep your basement dry.

Things You'll Need

  • A stubbornly damp basement
  • Handyman skills
  • Install gutters and downspouts. If you have gutters, make sure they are flowing freely and clean of debris. Downspouts should extend 6 or more feet away from foundation walls.

  • Check the ground along the entire foundation to make sure the grade slopes down and away from your home. Driveways, walks, and patios should do the same. Surfaces that are flat or pitched toward the home can send enormous amounts of water toward the foundation. Also ensure your landscaping and plantings near the outside walls are not trapping water. If natural drainage is a problem, consider installing a perimeter drain along the foundation to carry runoff water away from the house.

  • Install an automatic sump pump in the basement. Locate the dampest area in the basement for this installation. If you already have a sump pump, you may consider lowering the pit. Ensure the pump is in good working order and the drainage from the pump flows clearly away from the home. Also consider adding backup power to your sump pump. This will clear standing basement water. An alternative to a sump pit is an indoor perimeter drain, which is preferable in some situations.

  • Use a dehumidifier. Let the drainage flow into the sump pump pit, so continuous emptying of a dehumidifier is not required. You may need two dehumidifiers on opposite sides of your basement. An alternative to the dehumidifier is ventilation. Simply opening the basement windows can help dry out the basement as well. This, however, is a temporary solution.

  • Seal the basement walls. There are many concrete sealing products you can use to stop moisture from coming through the walls of your basement. There are also products for basement floors. Keep in mind that these products will not stop significant amounts of water or seepage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Basement waterproofing often requires a multi-pronged approach. Consider trying several of the methods above.
  • Landscaping draining and perimeter drainage can be complicated. Consider what you are capable of doing, and hire a professional if necessary.

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