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There are few projects that can potentially take more effort and money than exterior basement waterproofing, whether it’s brand new or a century old. More than a few homeowners have seen basement waterproofing jobs that they assumed would be little balloon into fiascoes that end up costing thousands of dollars and weeks of time. Fortunately, most of these cases were preventable and probably could have been solved with a vastly less extravagant solution. When it comes to protecting your home from flooding and water damage, you might be surprised to learn that less is sometimes more.
What exactly do we mean by “less is more?” While completing a thorough exterior basement waterproofing on your home that hits all possible points is a smart idea if you have the money to fund it, there are sometimes more affordable ways to protect your basement from flooding that aren’t quite as elaborate. No one is advocating a “quick fix” or cutting corners on any project that involves protecting your most valuable investment, but if you aren’t able to finance a complete basement waterproofing, there is nothing wrong with putting a patch on the problem that will last a few years until you save more money.
Take, for instance, a typical older home that has experienced some mainline drain backup in the basement. In this case, simply snaking the drain or using a high-pressure jet system to clean away obstructions will probably be all the further you need to go in order to keep your basement dry. Some companies, however, will try to convince you that in addition to the drain cleaning, you should do a complete basement waterproofing including excavation, block work, and footer drain emplacement.
In most cases, this really isn’t necessary at all, and could end up costing you thousands of dollars. Now, is it wise to fully waterproof an older basement that hasn’t been properly maintained in many years? Sure, if you have the money to do it; in fact, basement waterproofing is one of the best ways to insure long-term security of your investment and resale value. And due to unpredictable precipitation levels and an increase in flooding problems in some parts of the country, you could be gambling with your financial future by not taking the precaution.
But will your home necessarily be doomed if you fix the immediate problem and save a thorough exterior basement waterproofing for a time in the future when you can afford it? Of course not. Budgeting your money wisely is just as important to keeping your home as is insuring against any possible emergencies. By waiting until you can really afford to waterproof your basement, you can research local contractors more closely, plan for the project, and stay well within your own personal budget, too.
If you’ve ever experienced an unexpectedly flooded basement, you know what a horrible feeling it is to find that your property has been damaged by what, in retrospect, was probably an avoidable problem. Cities in the Pacific northwest and northeast have a higher than normal instance of flooding and water damage problems, and exterior basement waterproofing is a subject that local residents are starting to learn more and more about. If you’re one of the many local homeowners whose home could use some basement maintenance, there are a few simple tips you can follow to make sure that it’s done right the first time.
First of all, don’t assume that just because your basement is flooded that the only solution is a exterior waterproofing job that will cost thousands and thousands of dollars. While it’s true that some situations call for a very expensive and extensive amount of plumbing or excavating work, most water damaged homes can be fixed fairly easily. If you let your initial reaction or panic affect your reasoning skills, you are much more likely to be taken advantage of by an unethical waterproofing company.
Secondly, never immediately choose the first company you find in the phone book or on line to perform your basement waterproofing right away. Give yourself a couple of hours to research local contractors, ask for references and get a feel for pricing and what individual companies are capable of. Calming yourself down and doing some comparative shopping could end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on any home improvement work that needs to be done.
Remember: a flooded basement isn’t necessarily something to get too upset about. Take as much time as you can choosing a competent professional to help with your problem, and odds are that everything will turn out just fine.