Monday, April 1, 2013

Great Lakes Waterproofing is a big fan of a properly working gutter and downspout system to help with wet basements.  Without a working gutter system most homes will see foundation and landscaping damage within three years here in the Midwest which means a lot of water in the basement. 

Homes built in areas of the country with four-seasons see some of the most punishing weather conditions, in addition to wet and dry, cold and hot, wind and sunlight can also contribute a lot of damage.  On the positive side, a lot of these areas also can be excavated for below grade space, or basements.

Basements are great but a large number of homes are several decades old and years of neglect have left the foundations unable to stop moisture from getting inside.  This foundation in the photo is very typical of what we see several times a day.  The home owner has a wet basement, actually very wet basement and wanted foundation waterproofing. 

Great Lakes Waterproofing's philosophy is to stop water on the exterior and truly waterproof a wet basement whenever possible, but even foundations like this can be challenging.  We start with the inside walls,  using inspector-grade equipment like moisture meters and infared thermography, we track moisture to it's point of entry.  In this case the block walls were full of moisture.  The next step is to do a exterior foundation survey to see what the drainage plan is.

What's a drainage plan?  Most homes are built slightly elevated, the original developers tried to have water moving in one direction away from the foundation.  Over time things may have changed, the most common is ground or concrete sinkage next to the foundation creating a negative slope.

This home seemed to have a decent drainage plan but the gutters were undersized and the extensions were pretty much useless.  We never recommend this style extension, always use plastic or aluminum.

After years of water splashing around this foundation, it has slowly damaged the concrete blocks to the point that large chunks are crumbling off.  We can only imagine what's happening below the surface.

This wet basement was quoted during the spring thaw, as you can see the extension goes right into a snow bank, any guesses what happens to the water draining off the roof when it hits this downspout? that frozen water in there?  Yep, this gutter has become completely useless at this point.  Although the heat of the sun is melting a lot of snow on the roof and around the foundation, there's no way for it to properly drain away.