Finished basement spaces add additional living space to your home, but they can be prone to water damage. Further, damage can be harder to locate and repair once the basement is finished. Some preventative steps before you begin finishing construction can save you from a water disaster later.
1. Vapor Barriers
A vapor barrier prevents any moisture from making its way through the basement walls The first step is to patch any cracks or leaks in the concrete walls. Next, a barrier system is chosen and installed. Barriers can be as simple as thick plastic sheeting or a waterproofing sealant installed over the interior concrete, or they can be more complex such as exterior encapsulation systems that require excavation to install. What you choose depends on the leak pressure to which your basement is exposed.
2. Leak Sensors
One of the challenges of a finished basement is catching water incursion before it causes extensive damage. Leak sensors can solve this issue. Your waterproofing service will install these sensors in areas where water leaks are most likely to occur, such as along the base of the upslope wall or near basement drains. The sensors will alert you if moisture is detected, which means you can address the water before it causes major damage to the finished parts of the basement.
3. Gap Ventilation
Basements are prone to moisture and condensation even if they don't leak, but ventilation can help prevent damage. When finishing the walls and floor, it's preferable to use a gap system. Gap systems leave a space between the finished walls and the concrete basement. Ventilation is then installed so that air can still circulate and dry out any moisture that tends to collect.
4. Drainage Systems
If you live in an area prone to basement flooding, then an interior drain system may be necessary before finishing work begins. Your waterproofing service will install a network of drains into the basement floor. These will lead to a drainage pit, which will be emptied by a sump pump. A floating flooring system with drainage maintenance access hatches can be installed over the top.
5. Condensation Management
Blocking out exterior water is only one part of keeping a basement dry, as condensation tends to collect in basements as well. If you have plumbing in the basement, such as a shower or kitchenette, then condensation is even more likely. Your waterproofing service may recommend the installation of a dehumidifier in the basement to combat the problem.
Contact a basement waterproofing service for more help.