Nashville, Murfreesboro, Knoxville and Chattanooga TN
It has almost become commonplace in the United States that basements are going to be damp and musty smelling. While it’s considered a “normal thing,” it is not supposed to be. Water in the basement is not a fact of life but a sign that the basement is in disrepair. This water is, at best, an inconvenience. Water in the basement can ruin stored possessions, damage walls and flooring (especially in a finished basement) and increase the humidity in the house, which might make the air conditioning system run longer, raising power bills.
Worse, it can lead to actual danger. A darkened, damp basement presents ideal conditions for mold growth, which can result in headaches, breathing problems, and eye trouble. Water also tends to attract other unpleasant things, like snakes, mice, spiders and ants.
To prevent this, basements should be waterproofed, especially if such tell-tale signs are already present. These include visible water itself, yellow or brownish spots on the walls or floor, peeling paint, or rust on metal surfaces or objects. While there is no “wrong” time to waterproof the basement, the best time is summertime. Why is this?
Chance for rain
Summer can often be very rainy, and this tends to make wet basements worse. Rain will fill the ground with water, which may seep into the house; it can also make bigger any cracks in the walls where water gets in. Furthermore, the air in the summer tends to be more humid, which means the water that is there will take longer to evaporate and potentially cause mold or make the mold that already exists all the worse. Finally, it can cause the HVAC system to work harder, cranking up the power bill. Waterproofing the basement during the summer can avoid all of these difficulties.
Almost always, waterproofing is going to involve digging into the ground outside to make sure there is adequate drainage or to install this drainage if it does not exist. This tends to be easier to do in the summertime, because while it may be rainier, it will also be hotter and, thus, the ground will dry quicker. By contrast, the cooler temperatures will slow down the drying, and ground that is very cold (such as in the wintertime) will probably freeze. Frozen ground is much harder to dig, which will likely mean the job will take longer and be more expensive.
Higher temperatures in the summer will not only help dry the ground and make digging easier, but they also have another benefit: in addition to whatever work is done outside, waterproofing a basement will also involve a significant amount of work indoors. Any efflorescence (mineral salts from evaporated water) will need to be removed using a substance called concrete and masonry cleaner and etcher, which is liquid; holes and cracks will need to be filled with cement and crack filler (which is essentially acrylic and silicone); doors and windows will need to be filled with an elastic sealant, and everything will finally need a coat of masonry waterproofer, a special kind of paint. All these substances need to dry completely before the waterproofing is complete, and the heat of the summer definitely helps the drying occur quicker.
Waterproofing the basement
If a homeowner knows or suspects a wet basement, an excellent idea would be to have it professionally waterproofed. This is one of many services provided by Ameri Care Services, which has been meeting the moisture management and pest control needs of Middle Tennessee for 25 years. To get started on the road to a dry basement, fill out the form on the website to schedule a technician visit.