Unless you’re really very fortunate indeed, your home is almost certainly the most valuable thing you own, so it’s only natural that you want to preserve and enhance its value as much as possible. An often overlooked factor in the price a house can command starts at the very bottom: a properly waterproofed basement.
The Importance of a Healthy Basement
Your basement is both the physical and metaphorical foundation of your home, so making sure that it’s in tip-top condition isn’t something you want to sleep on when it comes time to prepare it for sale.
Even if you’re not planning on selling, keeping up on basement maintenance is something that should be on the mind of every home owner. If left unattended, minor issues have a habit of spiralling and becoming major.
Not only does dampness and mold make your basement unpleasant and useless as storage or living spaces, they can do serious damage to your health and property values. Even scarier is the potential for serious structural damage to develop if problems aren’t nipped in the bud.
Understanding Basement Waterproofing
While basement waterproofing is usually best left to the professionals, it’s a good for any homeowner to understand the basics.
At the most basic level your basement’s waterproofing is the combination of systems which keep water from threatening your home from below. There are a number of parts which could be employed to ensure your basement stays nice and dry:
- External systems: from gutters to grading, drainage to wrapping – these are the parts which sit outside your walls and ensure that water is diverted harmlessly away.
- Internal systems: these include things like sump pumps, dehumidifiers, internal drains, sealants and paints. Unsurprisingly, they mostly sit within your basement.
Each of these brings something slightly different to the party.
Gutters, drains and pumps
While they may be located in very different places, these all serve basically the same purpose: moving water away from where it could do harm to somewhere it won’t. French drains, for example, allow water an easy path to avoid your basement.
Sealants, wrapping and paints
These are all barriers which seek to physically block water from getting in. While some are marketed to the DIYer, caution should always be taken- getting them wrong can actually trap moisture in and make problems worse.
Before taking any action that might affect your basement waterproofing, it’s always best to consult with a professional as they will be able to walk you through your options better than any blog can.
The Impact Of Waterproofing On Home Value
An effective waterproofing system can work wonders for the value of your property. Likewise, one which needs work will have a negative impact. Here are a few of the ways which waterproofing can affect value:
Preventing Structural Damage
Let’s start with the big one: water ingress can cause serious structural damage to any building and who’s going to pay top dollar for a home that might collapse?
Even if water isn’t getting in at the moment, hydrostatic pressure from the groundwater in the earth surrounding your home can cause cracks and bowing in your basement walls. If left unattended, this can spread.
Of course, your basement holds the weight of your whole home, so any damage here can have wide ranging impacts throughout the house.
Investing in your home’s waterproofing might seem like a big cost but the alternative is most certainly not going to save you anything in the long term.
Enhancing Living Space
While the stereotype of the basement may be a dark, dank hole below the home, it really doesn’t need to be that way.
Not only are they a great place to store all that stuff you just can’t bring yourself to part with, there’s nothing stopping you from finishing a properly waterproofed basement like any other room. How about a home gym? Game room? The options are limited only by your imagination.
If your basement isn’t dry however, it’s not much good for anything.
Now think which home you’d rather buy.
Health and Safety
Damp basements breed mold and mildew and can have additional effects on the air quality in the rest of the home too.
Not only do mold and mildew make your basement unsuitable as either a storage or living space, they can seriously damage your health. Allergies and respiratory conditions are often triggered by mold spores and can be incredibly serious.
Again, these are all serious considerations for any potential buyer.
The Financial Benefits Of Basement Waterproofing
Tackling and improving your basement waterproofing can really reap the rewards in a few ways:
Increased Market Value
Not only does having waterproofing work done directly improve the market value of your home (as it’s one less thing for a buyer to have to deal with), it opens up other options which can also improve your selling price.
A fully waterproofed and finished basement adds an extra room to a home and that opens up all kinds of options which can be very attractive to any buyer.
Reduced Maintenance Costs
While it may seem a large expense, especially if you’re considering selling, waterproofing is a great long term investment (and one that any buyer will reward).
Tackling any issues properly means that you’re not wasting cash on temporary solutions again and again.
Insurance and Liability
Another financial consideration is the savings that can be found from reduced insurance premiums.
Water damage and flooding will push up your insurance costs and, in extreme cases, may even make it harder for you to take out a home insurance policy at all. On the flipside of this, being able to provide evidence of preventative work being undertaken will have the opposite effect.
Worse than generally higher premiums is that an insurance company may decide that, if proper preventative works haven’t been undertaken, you are fully liable for any damage that occurs and that can get expensive very quickly.
Making sure your basement waterproofing is fully in-hand means that not only will your home attract the best possible price, it means you can get the most from your home even if you decide not to sell too.