Your Complete Guide to Basement Waterproofing for Winter

November 24, 2021

What do you use your basement for during winter? Storing outdoor furniture and beach gear ready for the warmer months? Do you use it as a relaxation space to play video games and watch movies in peace? Or do you simply stay out of there like you do for the rest of the year?

Whatever you use (or don’t use) your basement for in winter, it’s crucial that you check whether your basement is at risk of water damage as temperatures plunge. But why? And what can you do if it isn’t waterproofed effectively?

Read on as we answer these and other essential questions in this complete guide to waterproofing your basement for winter.

What is Basement Waterproofing?

Waterproofing your basement properly can help protect your home from potential water-related issues (or, in the worst cases, disasters). It incorporates various techniques to minimize the risk of water entering your basement, some of which can be complex.

That’s why it’s usually best to bring in basement waterproofing specialists who understand exactly how to secure spaces below ground level. Otherwise, you could overlook or underestimate problems with the potential to escalate.

Why is Basement Waterproofing in Winter So Important?

Flooding and Structural Damage

A gentle snowfall is beautiful at any time, but especially so during the festive season. However, snow can be problematic when several inches of it cover the ground for days or weeks. For example, heavy snowfall can make it difficult for you to travel and, worse, cause water damage to your basement.

How? We all know that snow will melt when temperatures start to rise a little, and that can produce more water than usual in the area surrounding your basement. That water could seep in through cracks in the basement’s foundation, walls, or window frames.

When the ground freezes over, the cold layer at the top brings water up from the layers underneath: the water stays in its liquid form, as the lower layers are warmer. And this water may freeze, turn into ice, and expand. That expanding ice can apply extra pressure on soil and lead to foundational damage — particularly if the foundation is already flawed.

Furthermore, bricks and cinder blocks may absorb tiny drops of water during warmer weather, which can then freeze during winter. This may form small cracks that damage the foundation and increase the risk of water penetration.

Whatever the cause, a flood can cause severe disruption and be expensive to put right: research by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) shows that the average cost to repair flooded basements is $43,000.

Mold and Associated Health Concerns

Wet or damp, dark spaces are ideal breeding grounds for mold, which can continue to grow, spread, and become a health risk. According to Government of Canada documentation, people living in homes affected by mold and damp are more likely to experience:

  • Nose, throat, and eye irritation
  • Wheezing and breathing difficulties
  • Worsened symptoms of asthma
  • Coughing and phlegm issues

Certain members of your household may be more vulnerable to mold-related problems, such as infants and elderly relatives.

4 Winter Basement Waterproofing Tips

Follow these four simple tips to protect your basement against floods and water damage this winter.

Prevent Pipes from Freezing and Leaking

It’s easy to forget about the water coursing through pipes in your home and basement. However, in extremely low temperatures, this water can freeze and expand. And that ice may push against the inside of pipes with enough force to break them. When temperatures rise, that water will unfreeze, seep through breaks, and lead to flooding.

So, you need to prepare your pipes for winter. You can insulate them and use heat tape to produce warmth, but only use heat tape to cover the pipe itself rather than external insulation.

Another handy tip: keep your faucets dripping slightly if temperatures plummet. This will keep a steady supply of warm water and should reduce the risk of pipes breaking.

Seal Cracks and Holes in Basement

Seal all cracks and holes in the walls and foundation of your basement to keep water from getting inside.

It can be time-consuming and difficult to identify all of them (especially hairline cracks) if you’ve never done it before or have no idea what sealant to use. But even one missed hole or crack could lead to water damage during winter. It’s best to bring in an expert to take care of this for you.

Waterproof Bare Walls and Floors

Waterproofing your basement’s interior properly involves installing a trench along the foundation wall, adding a drainage membrane and weeping tile system, and connecting this to a sump pump or drain. Exterior waterproofing can cut the danger of floods and make it harder (if not impossible) for rain or melted ice/snow to find a way inside.

You may feel reluctant to go through the waterproofing process, especially before the busy holiday period, but it could save you a significant amount of money if you avert flooding or water damage.

Install Effective Basement Drainage Systems

Basement drainage systems gather water from under the floor and direct it to the surface, where it’s pumped to a safe spot away from your basement. This is a fairly simple way to mitigate water-related threats during winter, when there may be extra rainfall and melted snow/ice to face.

How Can You Make Basement Waterproofing in Winter Easier?

Waterproofing the interior and exterior of your basement can be a complicated task. And that means it may seem daunting, even overwhelming. But it can bring you valuable peace of mind if your basement has previously been affected by floods, water damage, or mold.

The simplest solution is to leave the hard work to professionals. Aluneed Ltd provides comprehensive interior and exterior waterproofing for basements of all sizes across the local area. We’re a family-owned company with more than 25 years of experience performing expert foundation repairs.

To learn more about how we can waterproof your basement this winter, get in touch with our customer-focused team now!

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