LESLIE: Tim in Iowa is on the line with some issues with a basement floor. What is happening at your money pit?
TIM: Well, I’ve got a 1920s house. I’ve got a ditch out in front of the house. When I get a lot of rain, I get a wet basement. My question is: is there any product, purely decorative, to put on the basement floor that is not going to come up when my basement floor does get wet?
TOM: How about this idea? How about if we tell you how to stop that basement floor from getting wet, Tim?
TIM: Well, it’s – like I said, it’s an old house. It’s not tiled. Other than just – if the county would be willing to put a big, 6-foot drain in place of the ditch, that would probably fix it. But we’re not going to be able to do anything about that.
TOM: What’s causing this? Are you telling me that there’s something going on outside that you can’t control? Because generally, the causes of a wet basement are really two things. Number one, the failure of the gutter system. So that means you don’t have a gutter system or the gutters are clogged or the gutters are discharging too close to the foundation. And number two, the angle of the soil around the immediate, say, 4 to 8 feet around your house. If it’s flat, if it’s pitched into the wall, that’s going to fill up with water and lead to this wet basement.
The fact that you have a wet basement that is consistent with rainfall means that it’s not a rising water table; it means it’s just drainage. So the solution is to better manage that drainage. And no matter what’s going on around you, I have almost never seen a case where you couldn’t make it a lot better by controlling and improving what you can control, like your gutters and your drainage.
TIM: Well, I don’t mean to disagree with you but I get the same water during snowmelt.
TOM: And the same reason for that. Because, again, if you – if that water is coming from snowmelt or rainfall, it’s surface drainage; it’s not a rising water table. Believe me when I tell you, this is one of the easiest things to fix but people just don’t get it.