How to Fix a Wet Basement
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Dot in Wisconsin who’s dealing with a wet basement. Tell us about it.
DOT: We get water in our basement and I’ve had many different ideas as what to do about it, but I was wondering what options you might have for me.
TOM: Well, Dot, tell us when does your basement get wet. Is it after heavy rain or a snow melt?
DOT: Just, yes; that is the time, yes.
TOM: OK. So the reason it’s getting wet is because you have bad drainage on the outside of your house. You need to look at your gutters; make sure that they are clean and free-flowing. You need to extend your downspouts away from the corners of your house and you need to look at the grading around the house. You want the soil to slope away four to six inches. And those three things will stop your basement from leaking. Because what happens is water is collecting at the outside foundation. It’s sort of laying against that wall, going through the foundation wall, could actually even come up into the floor of the basement – almost like a geyser I’ve seen this happen – all because the water is collecting at that foundation perimeter.
LESLIE: And finding it’s way in.
TOM: So if you dry out the outside, that’ll stop it.
DOT: OK, I have to let you know we do have a cement driveway and then we have an attached garage and I believe that the cement that was put down was kind of sloped the wrong way and I’m thinking we might have to get that all taken up.
TOM: Well, that’s indeed possible if you have a driveway that’s running into the house. But you don’t have to tear it all out. You can put in a curtain drain at the low point; try to collect the water and then run it around the house or someplace downhill and then drain it out there.
DOT: OK, I thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.