With the Spring rains approaching, many homeowners will begin to experience water intrusion issues inside their crawl spaces and basements after heavy rain events. It is important to remember not to panic, but to instead focus on identifying the underlying problems causing these symptoms to occur in the first place. Foundation drainage improvements being at the center of any proposed combined solution. Homeowners face a barrage of opinions from contractors to either address the challenges from the inside and/or the outside of the house. Few contractors have the expertise to do both. And the answer may be a combination of both strategies. Please see the attached video for clarification.
Customers tend to make quick, hasty decisions about these water intrusion problems because they are frightened. This has resulted in a rather predatory, franchising class of contractors to develop inside the industry over time constructed on high pressure fear based selling tactics combined with commissioned based sales strategies. Improper diagnosis, embellishment of symptoms, blatant price gouging, and/or flat-out incompetence is now being reported by clients quite regularly in the field during the bidding process. It is important to never sign an agreement with a contractor on the first site visit. No matter how much pressure is applied by the contractor with creative discounting and/or financing gimmicks. Always explore other alternatives and get other opinions. Utilize the civil engineering community as needed before consulting any contractors for bids. Utilize a 3rd party for diagnosis if possible. It is important to locate a local, qualified professional that can look at the problem independently from all angles and make an objective analysis of the situation without bias and/or hidden agendas promoting canned, one size fits all protocols that tend to be corporately framed and driven. Each inspection must be treated and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There is never a one size fits all solution that applies to all scenarios for waterproofing and/or moisture challenges on structures and the X never marks the spot. Ever. Often, detailed analysis can provide alternative, common sense driven, inexpensive solutions that can be recommended and applied to solve the problem saving the customer thousands of dollars on unneeded services.
Start with common sense maintenance items first;
- Clean out the gutters as needed and keep them free flowing at all times.
- Upgrade the gutters and downspouts to extra-large sizes to carry a higher flow of water.
- Install 6 ft. gutter extensions at all downspout locations and get the water away from the foundation.
- If possible, install underground piping systems to move gutter discharge completely away from the house. Especially at above grade soil locations.
- Keep vent wells dug out and free of debris with 3-4” of pea gravel installed at the base of each well below grade.
- Install new vent wells at all below grade vent locations.
- Replace broken foundation vents.
- Remove all large invasive trees, shrubs and bushes within 10 ft. of the foundation wall and grind out the stumps as needed to prevent root system heaving and associated hydrostatic pressure from building up against the foundation walls.
- Re-grade the flower beds to slope away from the structure.
- Deploy french drains, drainage swales, and rocky hardscapes along the flower bed areas to move surface drainage away from the structure.
If water intrusion challenges continue to occur into the basement and/or crawl space after these maintenance issues are applied more aggressive measures can be explored and developed. Always start on the outside of the house first to prevent water from coming into the structure in the first place. For more information and potential strategies and solutions for crawl space and/or basement waterproofing challenges please feel free to contact us directly for more information as well as scheduling site consultations. We are here to help!