Your kids might like the idea of a swamp in the basement, but a cesspool is probably not the amenity you are looking for in your home. There is no question that a wet basement is going to hurt your home's value, but it could also be creating health hazards. Wet basements can quickly become a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can lead to many allergy and respiratory issues. Putting off waterproofing your basement only causes you more trouble down the road, so tackle this project as quickly as you can.
Stop Filling the Pond
There is no point fighting an uphill battle, so your first step should be to stop the water from coming into the basement. Checking your pipes for leaks will be a great start. Once you are certain the water is coming from outside, you will need to inspect your exterior, and make changes if problems are spotted. You may need to adjust the grading of your landscape, or move downspouts so that they drain further from the foundation.
Check it Out
Your exterior inspections should include looking at the grade. It should slope away from the house. The slope should go down 6 inches in the first ten feet, moving away from the house. Another important step is to check that your sprinklers do not spray the house. Watering your home is a bad idea on many levels.
DIY or Hire it Out
After you've checked your exterior, you need to decide how you want to tackle this job. If you are good at home improvement projects, you could probably install your own drain tile system. If you don't like the idea of jackhammers, and digging a trench in your basement, you will want to hire the project out.
Here are some points to consider when choosing whether or not to hire help:
- DIY is considerably less expensive--following the instruction from FamilyHandyman.com, a drain tile system might run $1500 or less in materials and tool rental.
- The work is not incredibly complicated, but you will need to use a jackhammer to break up some concrete. This might not be a good idea if you don't have the strength to handle a jackhammer.
- It takes 5-6 days to do this project yourself, with a little help. It will take longer if you aren't experienced with tools.
- You can hire this project out for $5,000 to $8000, depending on the size of the basement.
- If you hire help, they can usually have it done in a couple of days.
If you have the money, and need the job done right the first time, hiring it out will make the most sense. If money is tight, and you are willing to do some manual labor, you can save a lot of money by making this a DIY project. (For more information on basement waterproofing, contact a company such as FreeFlow Environmental)