by Christy Heitger-Ewing

Proactive Steps to Maintaining a Basement

Most modern-day foundations are built to accept and remove a certain amount of water with sump pumps, waterproofing and drainage tiles. If enough of these things are not appropriate, however, and/or if you don’t properly maintain your yard and downspouts, your system can become overwhelmed and you’ll wind up with a flooded basement.

“If you have any storage down there, it’s now sopping wet. If the basement is finished, now you’ve got wet carpet and drywall. It can be costly to fix,” says Jason Ells, Senior Vice President of Custom Concrete. “It’s an annoyance you don’t want, but these things can be prevented by some simple maintenance.”

Spring is the perfect time to take a walk around your property to assess things. For instance, make sure you have a proper slope away from the basement so that any patio or sidewalk water runs away from the house rather than pooling around it. You also want to maintain downspouts and keep gutters free of debris. In addition, when watering your lawn, check to see that the sprinkler system isn’t up against the foundation, thereby soaking the perimeter of the house.

“All water will eventually find its way down into your basement,” says Ells, who notes that one mistake homeowners often make is adding too much mulch to their flower beds. “Sooner or later that goes above the waterproofing layer. Then you have soil on your bare foundation wall so technically you don’t have waterproofing at that point.”

Basement windows should have a drain and be free of leaves and debris to dry properly. Ells has seen basements flood due to window drains not working.

“I once saw a basement window where the water was up three feet high,” says Ells. “It looked like an aquarium!”

Use dehumidifiers when humidity levels are high, make sure you have a battery backup for the sump pump, and as silly as it may sound, be sure it’s plugged in.

“You’d be surprised how many people realize their sump pump got unplugged because their kid plugged in their Xbox,” says Ells. Also check to be sure sump pit lines are not obstructed by tree roots, and replace sump pumps every five to seven years.

“Basements have a lot of benefits, therefore it’s important to take care of certain things to ensure that you can enjoy a dry basement for years to come,” says Ells.

To learn more about keeping your basement dry, connect with Custom Concrete today at or call 317-896-2885.