If it's too late to prevent basement moisture problems, there's still a lot you can do to remedy a moisture predicament.

Before you spend a lot of time and money finding someone to fix your leaky basement, try these tips from the Concrete Network, an Internet directory of concrete services and information:

  • Most of the time, the water is coming from a source located in the basement itself, such as a leaky pipe or a well tank. Check and repair any leaking water and insulate the pipes with tape or foam insulation especially made for this purpose.
  • Try installing framing and wall insulation on foundation walls to prevent humid air from coming into contact with damp concrete walls.
  • If the weather is hot and humid or rainy, keep your basement windows closed and use an air conditioner to cool and dehumidify the air. You might try using a large capacity dehumidifier to eliminate the problem (a 50-pint dehumidifier runs about $200).

    But be careful if you try to dehumidify the air. The report "An Overview of Solutions to Basement Moisture Problems" by the University of Minnesota Extension Services says that dehumidification can be used as a means of reducing the symptoms of humidity and odor in a basement, but it is not a permanent or complete solution.

    Over time, if a dehumidifier is used in a basement with moisture problems, it may cause greater damage by drying out the basement air, thus drawing moisture into the basement more rapidly.

    The Concrete Network also points out that if groundwater is seeping through the foundation walls or through the floor, your basement will need waterproofing. Sometimes the work can be completed from the inside, but if it's severe, you'll have to expose the exterior side of the foundation walls through excavation first.

    For jobs not remedied by these simple tricks, you'll likely need to call in a knowledgeable and competent contractor to evaluate and correct the situation.

    The Better Business Bureau recommends using a company that's been in business in the same area for several years and is bonded, licensed and certified (where applicable).

    It also recommends finding out if the company trains its workforce through apprenticeships or other training programs.

    The BBB notes that reliable contractors generally do not require more than a minimal down payment to start a project.

    Obtain at least three written estimates from different contractors. Ask for the cost of materials and labor and a statement of exactly what the contractor will do and how long the work will take.

    Once you have the estimates, be sure to compare not just the cost, but also the quality of materials to be used.

    You can check each contractor's reliability with your local BBB, as well as through the company's own referrals.

    After selecting a contractor, you should receive a written contract. Be sure to read and understand it before you sign.

    The BBB says the contract should include:

  • The contractor's name, address and telephone number.
  • A full description of the work to be done and a list of the materials to be used
  • A definite date on which work will start and the estimated length of time for completion
  • A provision that no change in plans or specifications may be made without your written approval
  • A requirement that the contractor will obtain any necessary permits or licenses to assure you that building codes will not be violated
  • Details of payment(s)
  • A statement that the contractor is responsible for insuring his employees against possible injury on the job
  • A warranty or guarantee with all conditions spelled out
  • The contractor's signature and local or state licensing number, if licensing is required

    And, finally, when you sign the contract, make sure all the blanks are filled in and that you have a copy signed by both parties. When the work is finished, inspect the job carefully to make sure the work was done satisfactorily before signing the completion certificate. If you have a valid complaint, don't sign the completion certificate (it's not unreasonable to delay signing until the next round of heavy rains have hit).

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    Gerard's Avatar
    Gerard replied the topic: #12977
    Hire the professionals and get references and referrals to make sure you choose the right one. It's better and less expensive in the long run than trying to figure out how to waterproof it yourself.