How to Keep Your Basement Safe in the winter

It doesn’t matter if you use your basement as a recreational room or rarely visit this subterranean space and use it for storage. It’s crucial to keep your basement safe and dry to prevent foundational damage to your property. This is especially true in the winter. In Canada, the weather from November to April is very unpredictable, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Ice freezes, then melts, snowbanks form and then dissolve. All of these changes can negatively impact your basement and lead to cracks, mildew, mould or flooding. When there are large volumes of precipitation such as snow or rain the hydrostatic pressure around the basement walls is increased. This added pressure drives moisture into your basement and can additionally create cracks. These cracks can lead to a cold, wet basement that can decrease the house’s overall temperate.

Here are some tips to keep your basement safe throughout the year but particularly in the winter.

snow bank near home

How to Monitor Your Basement

Before the temperatures drop, investigate the following places in and around the foundation of your home to ensure your basement remains safe and dry for the whole season.

Grading

Ensure the grading of the ground surrounding your basement slopes away from your property. The grade should descend at a minimum of 15 centimetres for the first 3 metres away from the foundation of your home. If this is the case, any water will flow away from your basement walls, and you should be safe.

Windows

Ensure you build wells around your basement’s windows on the exterior. These window wells will need to have proper drainage systems, so they don’t get clogged. As autumn comes to an end, we recommend cleaning these areas and ensuring they’re tightly sealed against your home’s foundation. This step can prevent basement leakage as well as insect infestations.

basement window

Gutters

Before winter begins, ensure all of your property’s gutters and downspouts and cleaned and functioning properly. The downspouts should drain at least 1.5 metres away from the foundation, so large amounts of water don’t collect near your basement’s walls.

downspout and gutter

Mould or Dampness

The sooner you notice mould or dampness in your basement, the better. If you keep an eye out for this issue, you can solve it before it turns into a bigger and costlier problem. Look for dark areas on your basement walls or floors. When you see signs of mould or dampness, call Crackmasters right away, and we will solve the problem with one of our effective basement waterproofing methods.

damp basement

Sump Pump

In some houses, it’s essential to have a sump pump in your basement to keep it safe and dry. You’ll want to make sure it’s operating adequately once the temperatures outside drop to below zero. It would be best if you also cleaned the device’s strainer screen. The water collected in sump pumps can freeze in the winter, so if yours is over five years old, we recommend replacing it. The basement waterproofing experts at Crackmasters can have a look at your sump pump and let you know whether it’s ready for winter. If not, we will install a new one for you.

sump pump

Supporting Beams and Columns

Keep an eye out for gaps between each individual beam and column in your basement as well as:

  • Unusual slanting
  • Cracks
  • Sloping or leaning
  • Moisture or damage
  • Insect infestations.

Fill in gaps or fix sloping or leaning with a thin piece of metal or hardwood. If you notice moisture, cracks or damage, contact Crackmasters promptly, and we’ll find a custom basement waterproofing solution for you before the problem worsens.

Radon

Always monitor the levels of radon gas in your basement. It is a naturally occurring, odourless and colourless radioactive gas that seeps into bedrock. Radon is linked to cancer cases, so to keep your family safe, you will need to watch out for the presence of this gas in your basement. As cracks form in your basement’s walls or floor, radon levels can increase, which should motivate you to keep an eye out for damage and moisture. A professional radon test will let you know that the radon levels in your basement are safe.

Crackmasters

If you’re unsure that your basement is going to be safe and dry this winter, contact Crackmasters, and we’ll have a look. We specialize in affordable services such as basement crack repair, basement waterproofing and foundation repair. ¬†Rest assured, we will solve all of your wet basement issues rapidly and at cost-efficient prices!

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