Anyone who lives in a home which has a basement, knows someone with a basement or has ever simply visited a neighbor’s basement probably has seen the problems which can occur if the basement isn’t properly waterproofed.
Yes, having that stack of cardboard boxes full of winter clothes and old cell phone chargers getting wet or damp can be aggravating. So too is the putrid smell that often surrounds that one corner that isn’t fully lit all the time. However, these small problems are not the only issues a homeowner faces by having an improperly waterproofed basement.
Dangers of Improperly Waterproofed Basement
The consistent dampness, putrid smells on hot summer days or having moisture always appearing along the walls can cause a lot more problems than merely aggravation. One of the more serious is the severe respiratory problems, lung infections and other health related conditions that can develop as a result of mold spores being breathed in by you and/or your family members.
When the basement has a regular source of moisture seeping into the walls or up through the floor, and by basements generally being dark, it all makes for a perfect breeding ground for mold to grow. While not all mold is the infamous “Black Mold,” any fungi could be harmful to some people’s lungs and respiratory system. Cryptococcus is one such type of fungal infection which can result from breathing in mold spores.
Cryptococcus invades the lungs and begins to inflame them, as well as spread along the unfortunate person’s lower lobes of their lungs. Cryptococcus Pneumonia can quickly develop and unlike the atypical pneumonia which often inflicts the lungs, Cryptococcus Pneumonia requires months and months of breathing treatments, antibiotics, antifungal medications such as Sporanox, Diflucan and daily steroid taking.
Sporanox alone can cost as much as $20 per pill, which has to be taken daily throughout treatment. Diflucan can run $12 per pill, per day. If required to be taken through 3-6 months of treatment, and without good insurance, waterproofing the basement would have been a bargain in comparison. Not to mention time lost from work for weeks or months until lungs are fit enough for unfiltered air/oxygen.
Other issues, which aren’t health related, can be extremely expensive as well. Moisture that remains for an extended period of time will eventually deteriorate the concrete walls and floor. At some point, these sections might flake off, chip off and at some point break off leaving voids in the sections which could cause the unaffected areas to crack. Cracks will eventually spread and disrupt the integrity of the entire basement structure, along with everything sitting upon it. Namely your home’s foundation!
Foundations issues are by far some of the hardest, and completely more expensive home repairs of all time. $25,000 might fix a slight foundational problem, yet odds are it could cost a lot more. It is far better, and cheaper to simply waterproof the basement long before any of these problems start.
Cost of Waterproofing a Basement
There are a few ways to have your basement waterproofed. Each comes with its own various price according to materials and labor, if hired out. If you plan to do it yourself, you might want to investigate exactly where the problem/problems are occurring.
If rain water or melting snow is running off your roof and pooling up alongside of the home and seeping into the basement, then your first investment should be gutters. Unless you have the proper equipment to bend metal in order to make the gutters, you will likely have to hire this done. Nevertheless, the gutters themselves will run somewhere around $5-$10 per foot.
The typical culprit is the home needs a drainage system around the base of it. Water from the roof or due to gravity itself causes water to pool up and seep into the walls. This can be fixed by buying digging a sizable trench around the bottom of the outside wall, layering it with slag rocks and laying a 3 inch seeping pipe (pipe with holes in top) over them and covering it all up.
The water will seep into the pipe instead of your basement wall and then drain out the other end, far away from the basement. Once you have the problems causing the moisture to come into your basement, you can then waterproof the basement to ensure no further issues for at least the next 8-12 years, depending on what type of waterproofing you decide to have done.
Price of Sealer
This is one of the easiest, cheapest and more often than not used methods of waterproofing a basement. Basement sealer can typically be purchased at almost any hardware or home improvement store. It cost roughly $15-$17 per gallon and each gallon will cover approximately 100 sq foot of basement. Simply apply it as you would if you were painting your interior walls inside your home.
Again, this is a relatively easy and cost effective way of repairing cracks in your basement walls. The hardware store or home improvement store will carry this thick and hard setting crack repair compound for about $14-$16 per quart. Every quart should repair roughly 10-15 cracks depending on how wide and long they are. Simply push into the cracks, or use an applicator that will squirt it into the cracks. Allow to harden and this can be painted over.
If the cracks are severely extensive or extremely long and flow under the outside soil, it is best to have a professional inspect the cracks and possibly repair them. Although this might cost more, it is better to be safe than sorry later.