“Water is coming in through my basement wall” a Petersburg, VA homeowner told us when she called to schedule for a free estimate. The concern was clear, their basement was home to their furnace, hot water heater, and ductwork. The homeowner used their basement for storage, but it was far from a dry, healthy, or safe space to store items or house mechanical equipment.
When our Home Performance Advisor arrived, they noticed clear signs of water infiltration in the basement. There was staining on the walls and floor from water infiltration and the basement had a damp musty odor. Walls that had plywood on them, had defined water stain markings and some areas even had mud and silt. This was a great environment for pests, and mold to grow, but not for storing goods and housing equipment that could send the humid, musty air through the home.
So how does all this moisture and water get into your basement? The Department of Energy (DOE) tells us that “Most basement water leakage results from water flowing through holes, cracks, and other discontinuities into the home’s basement walls or water wicking into the cracks and pores of porous building materials, such as masonry blocks, concrete, or wood. These tiny cracks and pores can absorb water in any direction – even upward” (U.S. Department of Energy, 2018). High relative humidity, warm temperatures, and organic material allow mold to grow, and an unfinished, damp basement is the perfect environment for this to occur especially in Southeastern Virginia where we see high humidity and temperatures, especially in the summer months. Through the laws of convection and the stack effect, we know that air carrying moisture is pulled in through openings in your home’s foundation, such as the rim & band, leaky doors and windows, and utility penetrations and up through the home until it escapes through the attic. This means you are breathing in the air that comes from your basement or crawl space. This results in the moldy, mildew, musty odors you might smell in your home and affects the quality of the air you breathe.
After doing a thorough inspection of this homeowner’s basement we devised a customized solution to help make the basement a dryer and healthier space. Our Home Performance Advisor Proposed installing a CleanSpace Vapor Barrier on the basement walls, WaterGuard Drainage around the perimeter of the basement, and a sump pump and dehumidifier. The homeowner opted to go with everything except for the CleanSpace Vapor Barrier.
The purpose of the vapor barrier is to keep moisture and vapor from entering the basement and direct any water coming in through the walls, downward and into the drainage system. Without this, the drainage system will still collect water, but the home owner is allowing moisture and vapor to enter the basement.
The WaterGuard Drainage System was installed around the perimeter of the basement. To do this, a trench was dug and filled in with rock, the drainage track, and cement. The WaterGuard Drainage System will direct any collected water towards the Sump Pump. As part of the WaterGuard drainage system, a Trench Drain was also installed around the exterior basement door. The Trench Drain collects any bulk water that enters the basement from under the door and has an open grate that is easily removable to clean out any debris it may collect.
A SuperSump was installed to extract any water from the basement and pump it away from the home. The SuperSump is equipped with one sump pump, that sit in a basin that allows water to flow in from below the floor. The SuperSump is also equipped with a WaterWatch Alarm that sounds if water raises above the point where the pump should turn on giving time to address the problem before it causes damage. Finally, a SaniDry Sedona Dehumidifier is installed to address moisture and humidity issues keeping the basement dry.
This Petersburg, VA home is now equipped with a basement waterproofing system that will not only extract any water that comes in, but control the relative humidity keeping the basement
Sump Pump: SuperSump