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Non-Basement Solutions To Waterproofing Your Basement

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According to a study by the University of Toronto, in an average year insurance agencies in Canada pay $1.7 billion in claims due to water damage. Recently, an upswing in extreme weather events has increased the incidence of basement flooding in Canada to more than two times what it was a decade ago.

While the costs of repairing a flooded basement can range anywhere from $500 to $10,000, one thing is certain--no matter how extensive the damage is, no one wants to deal with the cleanup. Luckily there are many things any homeowner can do to other parts of the home to help with basement waterproofing.

1. Invest in clean, quality gutters.

One of the most common causes of a leaky basement is improper roof drainage. Gutters are meant to funnel the massive amounts of water collected by the roof and direct it away from the home's foundation.

Gutters that are spaced too closely or are dirty and clogged can overflow and dump water down the sides of the home and toward the basement. There should be at least one downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface. Similarly, downspouts that empty too close to the home or end in an area that slopes down toward the home can spell trouble. Spouts should extend several feet away from the foundation.

2. Install a dehumidifier.

Even if you live in a fairly dry area, condensation can cause potentially harmful damp conditions in your basement. A basement weakened by moisture is more susceptible to leaks and flooding, so fixing the problem before it becomes larger is a good step. Dehumidifiers come in a range of sizes and capacities and run from about $100 to more than $1,000. Make sure you choose one that can handle your basement's square footage. 

3. Angle your soil.

Even with great gutters, rain falling on your lawn or excessive watering of the grass can contribute to basement flooding if your soil doesn't slope away from the home. Yardcare.com recommends a grade of two to three inches every 10 feet, not to exceed 12 inches for every four feet.

If any change in grading needs to be done to your home's yard, use fill dirt, topped with a layer of topsoil. This will improve drainage and prevent erosion. As an alternative to dirt, use stone, mulch, or other porous landscaping materials.

4. Do some landscaping.

Finally, adding plants to your landscape can help insure your basement against flooding. Water-loving trees and shrubs will collect excess water, keeping it from making its way to the foundation and basement.