Don't Overspend When Fixing Your Wet Basement
by Francine L. Huff
Old House Web Columnist
Do you have a wet basement? If so, you're not alone. Many old homes have problems with water seepage, mold, and humidity. Make sure you understand the root of your water problem to avoid overspending on basement repairs.
Inspect Your Wet Basement
Letting a water problem in the basement go unchecked can detract from the value of your home, attract termites or carpenter ants, and cause structural damage. Having your wet basement thoroughly inspected can help you find the source of your problem and choose the right method of repairing it.
Should You Finance Repairs?
You've probably seen ads for basement waterproofing companies offering free inspections. However, many of these companies will only give you estimates for basement repairs that can run you tens of thousands of dollars, and will offer you the option to finance those repairs. Avoid financing repairs with a basement waterproofing company that pressures you to make a decision on the spot and requires a large sum of money upfront.
Find the Source of Water
In many cases, the cause of your wet basement may be a water-supply-line break, leaky plumbing, or seepage through basement walls. Problems with poor drainage can sometimes be solved inexpensively by grading the land outside your home to direct water away from it and by removing plants near the foundation. For many homes, cleaning gutters and directing downspouts away from the home is all that's needed to stop water problems.
Cost of Basement Repairs
If your foundation is older and has cracks, you may be able to solve your wet basement problem by using a waterproof sealer or masonry agent on the interior. Having a professional construct a perimeter drain around the interior of your basement may run you about $2,000 to $4,000, according to Smart HomeOwner magazine. If you choose to install a baseboard system that directs water into a sump pump, expect to pay $600 to $1,500 if you do the work yourself. If you have to resort to excavating, damp proofing, and installing external drainage tiles outside your home you may spend between about $8,000 and $15,000.
Take the time to find the source of your wet basement to determine if you can fix it inexpensively or need to resort to some of the more expensive solutions.