After trying to do some renovations to a semi-detached 1970s house we had invested in, we discovered basement seepage.
It wasnt a lot of wet, but enough to cause a damp smell and ruin some flooring we had put down. We didnt have the funds left to start getting in basement professionals so decided it was worth trying to tackle it ourselves first.
We started with the easiest things first, and in the end that was the true problem of the dampness.
Step 1 Check the downspouts to make sure that rain water is being diverted far enough away, this may mean hanging around outside in the rain to see where it goes.
Step 2 Take a look at the slope of the yard. In our case we realized that slowly over the years the large tree in the center of the front yard had been pulling the ground up a bit creating a downward slope towards the house.
Step 3 Are the gardens too high? This was another problem we came across. We decided to take out some messy looking shrubs and transplanted others and then with a shovel we simply dug down until we got to the black foundation paint.
It turns out this was at least 6 inches below all the wet dirt that was up against the wall. If there is no black foundation paint where the dirt hits the wall chances are the dampness will get it.
Basement Seepage Solutions?
We did this is two parts. We dug away from the wall and once we got to the original black line, we cleaned the wall with a brush (dont wash it or you will add more water to your problem!) then we painted more black paint on it (this is called foundation waterproofing and you can get it in hardware stores) and brought the line of defence up higher.
We then decided to dig a channel at the edge of the garden (about 3 or 4 feet out from the wall) and we gradually made the channel deeper as we headed towards the driveway with it along the edge of the gardens. Then we filled the channel with large gravel.
The idea behind this was to stop any water draining towards the house by diverting it at this channel which is deeper than the garden. The driveway slopes downhill so the water would simply leave.
This has worked out very well, the basement is a much happier and dryer place now. So, before you spend big bucks on basement professionals, start with these simple steps first. You would hate to have paid out huge dollars to have equipment come in and dig up your yard only to find out the garden was simply too high or the slopes of the yard was wrong.
It costs me some meals out for the family and an afternoon and it was a great excuse to change the garden to something different. We added larger decorative stones to the garden to match up with the channel we had dug.
Basement Seepage Solutions
I am now thinking of collecting all this water into a rain barrel so that I can use it to water other areas of the garden. You can get cute decorative ones that work well. Just make sure they dont overflow!