How to Keep Your Basement Flood Free

Your finished basement is your pride and joy after spending thousands of dollars converting your concrete dungeon into a comfortable living space. The last thing you need is a tidal pool of groundwater or sewage infiltrating your newly refinished living quarters. 

If your basement has ever flooded or experienced any water damage, this can be extremely stressful. A heavy downpour over days can develop into a flash flood. A cresting creek can transform your new carpeting into a massive, mouldy sponge.

It’s important to remember that your basement isn’t "finished" without some flood prevention steps. These are prevention actions to protect your home when flooding does occur. It’s also important that you have an emergency plan to provide for your family's welfare until you can return to your home.

With a few simple maintenance tips and a few layers of protection, you can adequately safeguard your family, property and can greatly reduce your risk of flooding.

Here are seven ways you can prevent basement flooding

  1. Clean & Maintain Gutters & Downspouts: Cleaning your gutters and maintaining your downspouts is an essential part of maintaining your home. By keeping your gutters free of debris and ensuring downspouts are properly positioned away from the foundation, water from rain and storms will flow freely, rather than pooling up against your home.
  1. Properly Landscape Your Yard: The slope of your yard, or the shape of your flower bed, could be contributing to your water issues. If the slope of your yard directs water towards your home, water will pool up around your property and eventually find a way in. Depending on your specific landscaping, you may need to regrade your lawn or even have a French drain installed.
  1. Inspect & Repair Foundation Cracks: Cracks in your home’s foundation can act as an open invitation to water intrusion. To prevent basement flooding or water damage, visually inspect the exterior of your foundation, basement walls and floors regularly. If you come across any cracks during your inspection, fill them with epoxy. If leaking persists, or you encounter a more serious foundation problem, call a professional.
  1. Proper Sump Pump Maintenance: Sump pump failure is the most frequent cause of basement floods. If your home has a sump pump, you’ve already got a great defence in combating mould, water damage, and flooding. However, simply owning a sump pump shouldn’t give you a false sense of total peace of mind because you’ve got to maintain it too.
  1. Inspect Sewers & Clean Septic Systems: For homes that operate on a sewer or septic tank, it’s wise to have them inspected or cleaned. Bypassing this important maintenance procedure is a sure fire way to invite havoc into your home. By not doing so, you invite clogs, sewer backups and overflows to occur in your home because of lack of maintenance eventually. Not smart.
  1. Install Window Well Covers: Homes with below-grade basement windows should always be protected with window well covers. When fastened securely over your basement windows and latched on to your home’s foundation, window well covers work wonders in waterproofing your basement. To keep your basement bright, look for clear acrylic window well covers.
  1. Get Familiar with Your Insurance Coverage: Do you have flood insurance? How about additional coverage for sewer backups? This won't prevent basement flooding from happening, but it could help you significantly if a flood does occur. Take a few moments to review the details of your home’s insurance policy and discuss any upgrades with your insurance agent for peace of mind.

Be a Proactive Homeowner:

Owning a home is never a buy and forget proposition. Whether problems arise from flooding, fire damage or even mould growth, issues are bound to occur because there’s no such thing as the “perfect home.” By being a proactive homeowner, you can spot small and easily fixable issues before they become full-blown disasters. When it comes to a dry basement, a little bit of pro-activeness goes a long way.