While your yard may benefit from the warmer weather and rainfall that typically occurs in spring, these same conditions could spell disaster for your basement. Basement leaks can lead to flooding and necessitate expensive clean-ups and repairs. In addition, this scenario can result in mould growth, which is a serious health hazard. To avoid dealing with a wet basement in your Ottawa home, Bol-Dan Foundation & Masonry has put together an inspection checklist for homeowners.
1. Check your gutters
The condition of your basement is directly related to that of your gutters. Their job is to direct water away from your foundation. If they’re warped, damaged or clogged, then they may not be able to do their job. Severe winter weather is a common cause of damaged gutters, so make a point of inspecting them when spring rolls around.
2. Check your downspouts
After making sure your gutters are in good shape, inspect your downspouts. They should direct water away from your house. Allowing water to pool near your foundation is extremely risky as it’s likely to crack the concrete. Even small cracks may result in water seeping through and causing serious damage.
3. Check your sump pump
The last thing you want is to find out the hard way that your sump pump needs to be repaired. Make sure you stay on top of regular maintenance by removing the grate and looking for debris in the sump pit every few months. Check the power lines for signs of wear and tear, then test your pump by pouring around 20 litres of water into the pit. Finally, make sure the discharge pipe is directing water away from your house and that the one-way valve is working properly.
4. Check your basement for cracks and leaks
Inspect your basement for new cracks and keep an eye on existing ones to see if they’re expanding. Common indicators of a leaky basement include:
Water stains on the walls or floors
A musty or damp smell
Mould, which may be black, yellow or green
Efflorescence, which can produce white or grey salt deposits from evaporating water
Spalling, which refers to the surface of concrete or brick flaking away or breaking off
5. Check your Window Wells
Proper maintenance of window wells is vital to prevent water damage in your basement. They retain the dirt and drain the rainwater away from your home. Apart from proper installation, window wells require some maintenance over time. Here’s a list of a few things you need to do:
Clean out any visible debris such as grass, leaves and trash from the opening drain
Ensure the Window wells is rightly fastened to the wall
Test the vertical drain located inside the well
Left unchecked, basement leaks can lead to flooding, which is likely to severely damage your home’s foundation, causing more damage and even more flooding. Any basement leak requires immediate repair by experienced professionals.
6. Call a professional