by Jo Borrás
We’re all about innovative “green” homes here at GBE. From inexpensive Hobbit homes to low-cost concrete bubbles to million-dollar technological showcases, if someone’s building an Earth-friendly structure, we’re there. What’s most surprising about all these varied buildings isn’t how different they are, however – it’s what they have in common: they all need water-proofing.
The need to keep water out of human shelters – from the primitive to the future-iffic – is something that, maybe, we should have noticed earlier, but it took Ameri-Dry Waterproofing reaching out to us about new basement waterproofing materials for the idea to really soak in. (Get it?)
Put simply, “major flood damage is unquestionably one of the most destructive events your home can experience,” according to About.com’s home experts. “Floods and water damage from major storms can affect your entire home, from the roof, to ceilings and walls to flooring and, of course, your basement.”
In other words, those solar panels on the roof of your green home? Wrecked. The cleverly-built renewable rice walls? Trashed. Those new, super energy-efficient windows you put in last fall? They could be compromised, as well, if too much water intrudes into your green home’s basement or foundation. Water that can freeze, expand, and crack structures up – literally! – and that water damage doesn’t have to come from swollen rivers or wild rain storms.
Common Causes of Basement Water Damage
As a concerned homeowner, you may be wondering what caused your basement to leak in the first place. The exact cause can only be determined by a basement waterproofing expert, of course, but there are typical reasons for a leak. These include foundation wall cracks, clogged or broken downspouts, and poor drainage. (See the illustration below for additional causes.)
Think of it this way: When your home was built, a hole had to be created to accommodate the basement. The ground never completely recovered from the creation of this hole, so whenever it becomes saturated, water will always travel towards it. This water then creates pressure around your basement walls and floors, (hydrostatic pressure) which eventually causes seepage at any cracks, joints, or openings. This problem is so common, in fact, that the National Association of Realtors states that 85% of all homes in America have wet basements at some point.