There are lots of things to enjoy in Denver, CO – the beautiful views, the accommodating lifestyle, the chance to explore nature and city life without compromising. However, it can take a little while to get used to Colorado’s weather. The precipitation can be especially challenging, as it has a tendency to make its way into the city’s older homes.
How, though, can you tell whether or not your basement is leaking? Once you’ve found a leak, what can you do to fix it? Let’s explore your options so you can enjoy Colorado living to its fullest.
Signs of a Basement Leak
Not all leaks come in the form of standing water or seasonal flooding. Sometimes, the pressure from groundwater outside of your home can overwhelm your supports, and you’ll end up with a basement that feels constantly damp or cool.
If you suspect your basement may be leaking, keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Unpleasant Smells. Insects and critters will often let you know you have a leak before water does. Trust your nose if you start to smell something suspicious or unpleasant coming from your basement, be it in the form of animal droppings or mold.
- Sticking Doors. As water makes its way into your basement, it’ll start to affect the supports you’ve established. Wood, in particular, responds poorly to long-term exposure to water. Any wooden door frames or supports you have in your basement may start to bow or stick if you have a leak.
- Fogging Windows. If you have basement windows, watch them when the weather gets warmer. If your windows start to fog up, excess water vapor in the air is trying to escape from your basement. If this is the case, you may have a leak on your hands.
- Water Damage. As water ebbs and flows out your basement, any belongings you have stored out of sight may begin to suffer from water damage. Keep an eye out for curling paper, damp fabric or cardboard that’s beginning to dissolve. If the water’s gotten to your belongings, you’re going to need to invest in repairs ASAP.
- Dampness. That said, water may also appear in your basement as dew on the walls. Keep an eye out for excess dampness, as it’s a sign of a small leak that may get bigger if left untreated.
- Dropping Temperatures. The more water gathers in your basement air, the cooler the temperature is going to get. Consider keeping a thermometer in your basement and checking it incrementally. If you notice the temperature dropping, you may want to start looking for other signs of a leak.
- Standing Water. Finally, standing water is a clear and obvious sign that your basement is leaking. If you have to remove water from your home with a bucket, mop or shop vac, then it’s time to call a professional.
You can usually follow a leak back to its source with some ease. If you’re not able to spot the crack in your basement, though, it may be rooted in your foundation. You’re always going to need to plug your leak before moving forward with other waterproofing solutions, or else you risk undoing all of your hard work.
Available Waterproofing Solutions
Once you’ve found the source of your leak, you’ll be able to talk with a contractor about the different waterproofing solutions you have available. Some solutions are temporary and will need to be replaced or repaired as they’re exposed to Denver’s run-off. That said, some solutions are more long-lasting than others.
Your waterproofing solutions can include but are not limited to:
- French Drains. French drains direct standing or flowing water out of your home with the help of an interior sump pump. Interior drainage can be applied, along with sump pumps, to collect water from the walls and floor, and make sure it is removed from the basement.
- Sump Pumps. Sump pumps often pair well with French drains. These systems pump collected water out of the basement through discharge lines. The exterior discharge lines can be tied into downspout lines and directed away from the home. This way, water won’t find its way back towards your foundation.
- Temporary Sealants. You can seal your foundation to create a hydrophobic barrier between the material and the outdoors. These sealants are not a permanent solution, as they typically last for a year, and will need to be reapplied.
- Vapor Barriers. You can readily install a vapor barrier in your crawl space or basement. These large plastic-like sheets are impermeable to most gases, not to mention water particles. While they’re installed, they’ll serve your home well.
- Dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers work best in homes that only have minor leaks. These tools pull water out of the air and store it in a basin. You’ll be able to manually remove water from your home and use it to water flowers or simply to dampen your lawn. Your contractor also may have a self-draining unit so you won’t have to worry about emptying any reservoirs.
Waterproofing your basement doesn’t have to be a trial. Be sure to reach out to a professional if you suspect your basement is leaking, and they’ll give you back control over your home in little to no time at all.