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I’ve always believed that the only way to fix a water leak is at its source. This applies as much to kettles as it does to car pumps. If you have a wet basement the same logic applies. It’s pointless to even begin to think of drying it out, until you’ve found a way to stop what’s causing the wet conditions in your basement.
Toronto is famous for having wet basements, the extreme weather changes, rain/snow and aging foundations makes it the perfect candidate for water leaks.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take preventative action to protect your assets stored down there, there are several things you can do to curtail the situation and keep the environment safe down there. This does not only make sense, it’s also imperative, because your insurance company will most likely not pay out if they conclude that you didn’t take reasonable steps to curtail the problem.
Possible Causes of Your Problem
- If your wet basement problem develops suddenly, then something must have changed. The most likely possibility is that rainwater has found a way to saturate it from the outside. Typical causes include overflowing gutters immediately above it, a faulty irrigation system you just put in, something you or your neighbour did to change the flow of surface water, or the failure of surface water-proofing.
These are often problems that you could solve yourself, perhaps with assistance from your garden service, or the local handyperson. Of course, it will take time for your basement to dry out. However, you can speed up the process by switching on electric fans, and turning the central heating up to maximum down there.
- If you’ve noticed your wet basement getting steadily worse as years pass, then you’re likely faced with a subsurface water problem that needs an expert to address it. Possibilities include:
b) A rising water table as a consequence of global warming, leading to hydrostatic pressure against the wall and floors
c) Failure of a window well through aging, or a stoppage in its underground drainage system
d) Back-pressure on your sewerage line as a result of cracked pipes or an overloaded municipal system.
These wet basement problems are generally beyond the ability of the average householder, who would be wiser to call in a professional waterproofing contractor. At least that way you have a guarantee that what is done will work, and that you are not applying untested skills learned “on the hop”.
Consequences of Doing Nothing
The cement products that hold your foundations and walls together will ultimately fail if there’s water continually filtering through them. When that happens, partial or complete demolition and re-building may be the only option you could have left.
If you wish to protect your basement from long-term degradation, then you should consider calling in a firm that’s an expert in dealing with a wet basements.
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