What You Need to Know About Basement Water Damage
Basement Water Damage Is a Real Headache
A flooded basement can be a homeowner’s nightmare. Nobody wants to wake up or come home and find the floor of the cellar of his or her Indianapolis, Noblesville, or Carmel area house covered in water. Basement water damage can be expensive to repair/ Sometimes it’s just not possible to salvage water-soaked objects. Valuable electronics and irreplaceable family mementos are sometimes lost for good.
As one of the community’s most experienced and professional water mitigation companies, we at Five Star Complete Restoration know a lot about preventing basement water damage to your Indianapolis, Noblesville, or Carmel area home, or, failing that, minimizing water damage and the pain and hassle of dealing with it. We’d like to share that information here.
Preventing Basement Water Damage
The ideal way to deal with basement water damage is to keep it from happening.
Your basement is underground. That’s what makes it a basement. Being underground means it’s in constant danger of water intrusion.
Waterproofing: Your First Line of Defense
To deal with this issue, the builders of your home installed a waterproofing system. It’s on the outside of the basement wall. That waterproofing system took the form of a peel-and-stick membrane. It’s your first line of defense against basement water damage. I you’re lucky, the installers put it on perfectly.
That’s not always the case, though. Even if they did, in an older house, the covering may not protect as thoroughly as it once did. In that case, you’re dependent on your second line of defense. That’s your sump pump system.
The Sump Pump: Your Second Line of Defense
Your sump pump system consists of drainpipes located at the bottom of basement foundation walls, a sump pit, and the pump itself. The job of the sump pump is to pump away water exerting pressure on the basement walls after a heavy rain or snowfall. If it pumps the water away, and it can’t get in to cause basement water damage, and relieving the pressure removes stress and a source of potential damage to the walls.
That sounds good, and it is when the system works as intended. But there are a number of problems that can arise in relation to your sump pump system.
One is that the sump pump fails because it’s too old. You should get a new one every three to five years, but some homeowners don’t remember to do this. Some have no idea how old the existing sump pump is.
Another is that the existing sump pump is too small to protect the particular space from basement water damage.
A third is that if the power fails during a storm, the sump pump may not get the electricity it needs to operate. Some people try to prevent this from happening by installing a battery backup system. The potential problem with a battery backup system is that the 12 Volt Lead Acid Battery the battery backup system typically contains may not put out enough power for long enough to do the job.
Connecting the sump pump to a backup generator may prove to be a surer way of preventing basement water damage. A 2500 to 3000 watt gas-powered generator will almost always provide sufficient electricity until the utility company restores power to the house.
The Basement Dehumidifier: Your Third Line of Defense
The drama of a basement flood isn’t the only source of basement water damage. Over time, if there’s too much moisture in the air, building materials can absorb it, suffering damage and providing a breeding ground for mold.
A basement dehumidifier will prevent this and is thus the third line of defense against basement water damage. The better ones have an auto pump feature. The auto pump gets rid of the water that collects inside the unit without the homeowner needing to empty a drain pan.
Minimizing Basement Water Damage
The tips above are good advice, but let’s imagine you do experience basement water damage. In that case, the size of the bill the water mitigation company hands you can vary considerably depending on the construction materials that went in to the basement.
Whether it’s hardwood, engineered hardwood, or wood-based laminate, any wood flooring is extremely vulnerable to water damage.
Carpet is vulnerable, too, but it does have the advantage of being cheaper and thus cheaper to replace.
Vinyl Laminate Plank and so-called Waterproof Laminate Floors are water-resistant. They resist water damage better than wood or carpet, but your water restoration company still needs to take them up if the basement floods.
Concrete and stone-based and ceramic tiles can be considered genuinely waterproof when installed on a concrete slab. Thus your water mitigation professionals won’t need to take up the floor in the event of a basement flood.
The Finished Basement
A finished basement provides many amenities you may want and enjoy often including wood walls and baseboards, carpet, and pad flooring. You could conceivably have a complete bathroom, a complete or partial kitchen, and/or a big TV. If you go this route, though, do so knowing that all those nice features will provide special problems and a higher bill from the water restoration company if the basement floods. It’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to find how much of the basement water damage will be covered if the worst happens. (For more on insurance, see below.)
A special note on basement bathrooms: They need a properly functioning trash pump. The trash pump takes the wastewater from the sink and toilet to the sewer system.
Your trash pump doesn’t work as hard as your sump pump, but like the sump pump, it will eventually wear out and need replacing. When a trash pump fails or backs up, you can find yourself not only with basement water damage but sewage damage as well. Sewage cleanup requires getting rid of all the material the dirty water touched. That can include carpet, baseboards, drywall, and insulation.
Basement Water Damage: Paying for Water Damage Restoration
If you suffer basement water damage, you want your insurance company to pay for it, not you. Accordingly, it’s a wise idea to make sure you’re covered. As you review your policy, check to see if any limits on the dollar amount are likely to prove adequate to your needs. Note that the typical policy will pay out if the water damage happened suddenly, but not if it was the result of an ongoing maintenance issue.