Fix Any Foundation Damage First!

Congratulations on making a smart decision if you’re planning to finish your basement.  A finished basement adds usable, versatile living space, and you can use it for almost anything – a cozy family room with a big TV and a built-in gas fireplace, a teenager’s bedroom or getaway, home office space, a billiards room, or a spacious workout area.  Even better, the work that’s involved is almost always much less expensive than constructing an above-ground addition.

There’s only one thing about it – if you have any foundation damage you’ll want to repair it first.  Who wants to go to all the work and expense of finishing a basement only to rip it out and re-do it later?  Well, that might be what you’ll need to do if you finish your basement without fixing any foundation damage first! 

If your foundation is damaged, laying carpeting and erecting drywall will (for a while, but only for a while) cover your water seepage issues.  But it will also allow any uncorrected problems with the foundation to worsen.

So, before you begin any work, hunt for signs of foundation damage and water seepage.  Look for cracks in the wall, but look for floor cracks too.  Is one of the walls tilting or bowed in?  Is the floor out-of-level or the foundation settling?  Are there any parts of your foundation where porous concrete block, brick or limestone is allowing ground water to seep into your basement?  Is any of the foundation’s joint mortar deteriorated to the point that water is able to seep in?

Some of these situations are more serious than others, but all of them should be corrected before you proceed with finishing your basement.  A tilting or bowed wall, for example, will continue to press inward until it’s stabilized.  Unless the right steps are taken, your home could suffer substantial structural damage.  Plus, stabilizing a wall like this now will be easier and much less expensive than doing it later.  You’re just asking for trouble if you ignore it.

Cracks in the wall or floor should be filled and sealed to prevent water seepage.  Soft, porous concrete, brick or stone foundations should be waterproofed.

We could go on, but you get the picture.

If you’re planning to finish your basement, have any foundation damage repaired and the causes corrected before you do anything else.  Hire a professional engineer to evaluate the status of your foundation and basement floors.  Then, if problems are discovered, hire the professionals at Xpert Flood Control and Seepage to correct the cause(s) and repair the damage.  Once that’s done, you’ll be able to finish your basement and enjoy it for many years to come.

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