The answer to this question can be found in three simple factors: economic considerations, family and household health improvement, and good old common sense. Any one of these responses is sufficient to motivate the thoughtful and practical homeowner.
Basement leaks are usually unexpected. Water leaking into the basement from the ground is a common and always unpleasant problem that homeowners will experience. We say will because, without corrective measures, there are two types of basements- those that have a water problem and those that will. It is from this knowledge that insurance companies do not pay for damage resulting from foundation leakage. If you are like many of us and use your basement partially as a storage unit, the stuff you are saving may well be damaged or destroyed by water infiltration and its value is unrecoverable. If the stuff is worth saving and storing in the first place, it’s worth protecting from deterioration.
It is not only stuff that can be damaged when water invades. Installed new or existing interior finishes will equally be ruined. Once leaking water has affected drywall, insulation, and so on, these finishing materials have to be replaced as their integrity is compromised. Certainly common sense dictates that any homeowner planning a basement renovation needs to ensure that modern waterproofing technology is a part of their renovation plan and budget. When the basement is a clean slate, all unseen problems can be readily addressed. Modern waterproofing is a small expense when compared to the wholesale replacement of your belongings and basement interior finishes. Left unrepaired more extreme water damage to structure and foundation will progressively occur.
Basement water leakage seriously influences the value of your home. Prospective buyers generally turn away from homes with leaks because it is seen as a major, expensive fault. Despite mopping and a lick of paint to hide the evidence, home inspectors and experienced agents readily spot signs of a wet basement. Leakage must be declared to the person buying your home and is usually a deal-breaker or a factor in lowering the offer to purchase.
Health concerns join with such economic considerations to enhance the importance of deciding to thoroughly and properly waterproof. The presence of moisture encourages the growth of mould and mildew. Early warning signs include increased humidity, smell and dandruff-like wall or floor efflorescence. Moulds, mildew, bacteria and fungi all thrive in the damp, humid conditions of most leaky basements. Not all can readily be seen. They can cause unsightly stains, damaged paint, wood, drywall and fabrics, allergies, and illness. Household mould and mildew substantially exacerbate breathing problems that may exist and can contribute to the development of such sensitivities. CMHC, Health Canada and Agriculture Canada studies have concluded that respiratory problems are more common in damp and mouldy homes. When they’re cleaned up and repaired, people feel better. The key to removing the irritants is removing the water or dampness. They cannot grow without it. Corrective contemporary waterproofing techniques are the clear solution.
Finally, common sense dictates that a leaking foundation be waterproofed in a timely fashion. If your basement leaked last spring, it will leak again. If water comes in during thunderstorms, it will come in again. If a fast, mid-winter thaw produced a telltale trickle, you will see it again. Once water has found an unobstructed path of entry through your foundation, it will continue to use this established route. It will also, due to its phenomenal physical pressure, expand its course. You may get lucky and there may be a dry period, but if it leaked before, one day it will leak again unless action is taken. Some people mop up the water and pretend it never happened. As we have seen, they risk economic loss, health problems and over the long term, potential deterioration of the house members and the foundation itself. Permanent, technologically- advanced waterproofing repair by knowledgeable professionals is the logical choice. The first sign of water is the time to act.