The first thing that comes to mind when you consider home improvement, is definitely not basement waterproofing. However, a traditional crawl space under a home consists of soil or sand that was the ground before construction started. Sometimes the topsoil is removed, but what you see is bare soil. The ground under and around your home contains moisture. This liquid water wants to evaporate and get back up to the atmosphere. If you could see water vapor, you’d see a constant flow of this gas floating up into the air. When it’s warm, the flow rate is faster. This water vapor, when mixed with wood, is not a good thing. If enough water vapor collects in a crawl space before getting back to the outside atmosphere, it can condense and turn to liquid water again. This water fuels mold growth and fungi growth you might call wood rot.
Therefore, basement waterproofing should be included as part of maintenance. The result of this process is a clean, dry crawl space that isn’t affected by moisture in the soil or in the outside air. So maybe it straightaway seems to you that the best decision is to have the work done. If, however, you are not still sure to spend thousands of dollars on a part of the house you rarely visit, let’s take a look at some of the reasons:
1. Increase Space and Protect Your Belongings
Most people think of the basement as little more than an old, musty storage space for your junk and a place to do laundry. This is quite simply the wrong way to look at it. Looking at it from a square footage point of view, the basement accounts for an entire floor. For most people, that’s either 1/3 or 1/2 of their home’s total space! This is a huge amount of wasted space, and certainly not a percentage of space you’d rather dedicate to seepage, bacteria, and mold growth. Waterproofing adds considerable square footage to your living space, protects your valuables such as family heirlooms and photographs that can’t be replaced. Adding healthy, usable space to your home will certainly boost its value, giving you an advantage if you ever decide to sell.
2. Minimize Energy Output
Sealing cracks and crevices improves the building envelope, or its seal, to outside elements. The absence of cracks helps keep cold air and drafts out in the winter, thereby increasing energy efficiency. Alternatively, in the warmer and wetter months, when seepage and cracks in your foundation cause excess moisture to enter the home, so HVAC have to work harder to remove humidity from the air. This problem isn’t present in a waterproofed basement. Believe it or not, you may actually be able to save on energy costs by waterproofing your basement or crawl space!
3. Healthier Environment to Avoid Serious Long Term Health Risks
Under the right conditions, toxic black mold and grow in a little as 24-48 hours! The growth of potentially toxic mold is one of the hazardous effects of allowing basement leaks to remain. Mold can have long-term health risks, particularly for children or those with compromised immune systems. When conditions are right, mold can grow within 48 hours, invading not only surfaces, but also the air that you breath. Imagine the effects of letting mold accumulate for weeks or even years!
4. Maintains Your Investment
Your home is your biggest financial asset. By taking action to ensure the long term health of the very foundation your home stands on, you are strengthening or even increaseing the future value of your investment. Showing proof that your home’s basement has had professional waterproofing services can even increase its market value when the time comes to sell it.
5. Peace of Mind
Not only is stress being linked to more and more health issues every day, it’s just simply a good old fashioned waste of time. You all know the feeling; that knot in the pit of your stomach as the first claps of thunder rattle your windows before a heavy thunderstorm. You begin to prepare the Wet-Vac, mops, and cleaning supplies… Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about cleaning up after your faulty basement for a change?
Finishing the crawl space area can be a large undertaking. Depending on its present condition, the project may take weeks and cost thousands of dollars. But leaving the crawl space area a humid, musty and energy-inefficient hole in the ground can result in an unhealthy home, substructure damage and high utility costs. Proper waterproofing, ventilation blocking and crawl space conditioning will help green the home and keep the temperature, humidity and energy bills at a comfortable level year-round.