How to Flood Proof your Basement

It’s an unfortunate fact that basements tend to get flooded. Even without flooding, they are often damp and prone to leaks. During heavy rain or the spring thaw, you can find your basement full of water.

Even if you are only using your basement for storage, you still want to protect your belongings. Preventing floods before they happen is a smart investment in your home. Here are a few tips on how to flood proof your basement.

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1. Check your Landscaping

Plants in your yard do a great job of absorbing water. But, if they are too close, they can cause damage to your foundation. The roots become larger and remove the supporting soil.

Tree roots, in particular, can cause cracks and breaks in the foundation. You can get the plants and trees moved back from the foundation to help prevent floods in your basement.

You may need to dig some type of culvert to divert the water in another direction. You can also add a rain garden or a pond. Add heavier mulch beside the foundation to absorb the water. 


2. Seal your Basement

One of the easiest basement flood prevention methods is to seal it. This involves sealing up all the openings in your basement. First, start with cracks in the walls, floors, and ceiling. Sealing is the best way to flood-proof your basement walls.
Check that all the windows have secure caulking and that the weatherstripping around the doors is in good condition as that will flood-proof your basement door.  For any larger problems, you should hire a basement contractor to take care of them.

3. Properly Grade around the Foundation

The grading around the foundation can shift. Wind, plants, and animals can remove the soil that helps keep water away from your walls. After a while, the water will start to seep into your basement.

You can add or move some plants, add some more soil, or contact a landscaping company. Rain and melting snow will pool around the base of your foundation, so it needs to be guided away.

It often doesn’t require a lot of involved work. Sometimes, just a few adjustments are all that is needed to keep your basement free from getting flooded.

4. Install a Sump Pump

Another great way to get a flood-proof basement is by installing a sump pump. You should also consider a backup system. A sump pump works when there is water in the basement.

The sump pump is slightly lower than your basement floor so it can detect the presence of water. It kicks in right away when there is water, and a backup system works when that one can’t.

If you are gone from home and a flood happens with power outages, your sump pump should have a battery backup pump. A lot of damage can happen while you are away with water pouring in.

5. Install a Backwater Valve

This valve is installed along your sewer line to prevent raw sewage and wastewater from flooding your basement. It’s a one-way valve with a flap open at one end. This can be an important part of your basement flood prevention system.

The flap is open to move water and waste away from your home and toward the main sewer system. If there is a flood or heavy rain, water can get backed up in your system causing a flood. The flap will automatically close during this time, keeping your basement flood-free.

The last thing you need is raw sewage in your basement, so this little device is a great investment in flood-proofing basement flooring. The cost of clean-up alone would be incredible.

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6. Install a French Drain

A French drain is also a great step in how to flood-proof a basement. This is installed outside in your yard. They don’t require much work and you can add rocks or plants around them to make them look great.

It is a small trench that you dig that can prevent excess water from pooling around your yard and near your foundation. Once the soil is packed down, you can add a layer of rocks for draining, the perforated pipe to remove water, then cover it.

You can sod it over, put decorative rocks on top, and make it all even with the rest of your yard or landscaping. They work well for keeping extra water from seeping through the yard and into the basement.

7. Use Downspout Extensions

If your downspouts are not long enough to get the water safely away from the house, then the water will stay there. It can cause a lot of damage to your yard and the foundation. 

Make sure the downspouts you install are able to carry the water at least 1.5 meters away from your foundation. You can add a few feet more if you don’t have proper grading. 

It’s an easy project and will go a long way in keeping your basement from t being flooded. Lay a concrete splash block underneath to prevent excessive amounts of water from seeping into the ground.

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8. Keep your Gutters Clean

Your gutters work overtime when it comes to basement flood prevention. But they are only as good as their condition. Make sure they are in excellent working order and kept clean.

Leaves, debris, and animal messes can clog up your drains. As a result, water has no choice but to come over the top and sides, down the side of your house, and end up all around your foundation.

Twice a year is ideal, preferably in the spring and late fall. If you are not confident about getting up a ladder, hire a professional from Harmony Basements to come out and do it for you. We can also inspect them to see if there are any breaks, holes, or other damages that need to be repaired.

Flood Proof Basements

These steps can really help you keep flood water out of your basement, or at least, keep the flooding to a minimum. Your own individual situation will vary, as will the preventative steps you can take.

Contact Harmony Basements for all your basement needs. If you need to seal your basement, you need repairs after a flood, and more tips on basement flood protection, we can help!