How to prevent basement flooding and water damage?

Water damage, mold growth, ruined possessions, and expensive repairs are possible. When flood waters seep into basement crevices, the results are not superficial. Maintaining and preparing for basement flooding will mitigate many causes.

Inspect sump pump

A properly functioning sump pump is your basement’s main defense against flooding. The sump pump sits in a pit on the basement floor and pumps out groundwater before it rises and floods the basement. Check that the sump pump is plugged in, the float switch moves freely, and the discharge pipe allows water to exit your home. Test it monthly by pouring water into the sump pit and flicking the float switch manually. Install a battery backup system in case of power failures. The gutters become clogged and rainwater pools. Ensure gutters are clear of debris so they channel water away from your home’s foundation. Direct downspouts are five feet from the house so runoff doesn’t pool around the perimeter. Ensure the slope around your home drains away from the foundation as well.

Address landscape issues

Yards with poor drainage toward the house will funnel rain right into your basement. Build up the soil grade so it slopes away from the foundation. Improving drainage with landscaping elements like French drains and gravel beds will also help divert water away from the basement exterior. Trim back bushes and branches to prevent them from shielding the basement walls from sunlight and promote faster drying after storms.

Repair foundation cracks

Unsealed cracks and gaps in the foundation walls or floor facilitate water infiltration. Inspect the foundation for cracks periodically and seal them immediately with hydraulic cement, epoxy filler, or urethane sealant. If cracks are over 1/8-inch-wide, consult a foundation repair company about installing steel reinforcement beams or pilings to stabilize the foundation long-term. Applying waterproof coatings to exterior basement walls creates a protective barrier against moisture. Brush-on asphalt emulsion or cement-based waterproofing compounds work well for damp-proofing basement walls and floors. They applied right to concrete, brick, or other masonry exteriors. For frequent flooding issues, consider professional basement waterproofing using drain tile systems and sump pumps that divert water away from the basement’s exterior.

Install backflow valves

Backflow valves on drains and pipes prevent sewer water from backing up into the basement during heavy rains. Have a Vaucluse plumber install backflow valves on any basement toilets, showers, sinks, washing machines, floor drains, or other drains. The valves allow water to exit the basement but the spring closed to stop backups. A finished basement prevents sewage backups and flooding. It’s wise to have a wet/dry shop vacuum on hand to deal with minor flooding quickly. The suction power of a wet/dry vacuum removes pooled water from basement floors and carpets before it causes damage. Get one with a long hose attachment to reach standing water away from outlets. Have it handy in the basement or garage to deploy for water emergencies.


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