Nothing is worse than a leaky foundation in Detroit. Beyond the problem that a water problem ultimately renders the basement unusable, a leaky foundation can cause a spectrum of other issues. Odors and poor indoor air throughout the whole house, mold and mildew that can cause serious medical issues, rot and other structural issues are just a few. You definitely will need to solve the problem.
The basement waterproofing and foundation repair industry has an industry full of capable specialty contractors who solve leaky foundation problems on a daily basis. Don’t just think you can call a general contractor to handle your basement issue. Call a specialist.
Control the Source
If you have a leaky foundation there is usually a source of the problem. Where is the water coming from? Why is it building up by the foundation wall? Most of the time there is a landscaping grade issue sloping toward the house instead of away from it. Drainage and gutters are sometimes clogged, backed up or damaged letting rain water fall right next to the foundation wall. A puddle of water (even ones that come and go) next to the foundation is never a good thing. If you see this happening, fix the problem immediately. Don’t let water saturate the soil. Even snow fall built up by the foundation can cause a buildup of water in the soil and lead to a leaky foundation problem.
While the specifics of the waterproofing system can differ from contractor to contractor, most professional contractors’ solutions can be broken into two categories: exterior and interior.
Exterior Waterproofing Systems
To install an exterior system, the contractor excavates the soil around the foundation and solves the problem from the outside. This can be effective at blocking water from penetrating and diverting water away from the foundation wall. Essentially a waterproof barrier, membrane, sheeting or board is attached to the exterior of the foundation wall. At the foot of the foundation there is usually a French drain to catch the water and channel it away from the wall. Usually there is a space of some sort for the water that may get behind the sheeting to escape and get back to the French drain. However, the goal of the exterior waterproofing system is to not even let the water inside in the first place.
Interior Waterproofing Systems
Interior waterproofing systems are installed from inside the basement. All the retrofit work is done from the inside so there is no need to excavate the yard. Now, there are a lot of different interior systems. They are different and work to solve different water problems. Most of the time an interior waterproofing system uses a sump pump installed in a sump pit to pull water from below the foundation slab. This water is pumped up and out of the basement through a pipe. Interior systems also often have an interior French drain type of system. The contractor will cut out the concrete floor, place the drainage system and replace the removed portion of the floor. This is tied to a drainage wall board and the sump pump system to get the water out. It essentially controls and diverts the water. The theory is that water and moisture will come into any underground structure. Therefore, let the water in, capture it and divert it back outside away from the foundation. This works to keep the basement dry even if moisture that accumulates inside the house.
Remember, every house and every foundation problem is different. The contractor should have a “bag of tricks” to solve various leaky foundation problems. The best contractors have access and the know how to install various systems to solve every foundation problem.