Inadequate drainage can lead to mold, musty smelling basements and damp air. If you suspect that you have a drainage problem then you need to find a way to drain water from your house as quickly as possible. First, you will need to find out exactly where the water is entering the basement and then you will need to find a way to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Doing Some Detective Work
It's important that you put on your detectives cap and do some homework. Try to determine how the water is getting inside your house. If you only notice the water when ice melts or in spring then it's likely to be caused by some form of drainage problem. The same can be said if the problem is only ever experienced straight after a lot of heavy rain. Gutter problems need to be dealt with as quickly as possible because if they are left untreated then they can cause serious complications.
If it seems to happen all of the time then this is probably due to a crack of some form in your basement walls. Make sure that you inspect any cracks or holes which could lead to potential leaks and problems. You may be able to solve this problem by sealing the walls, although the most common culprit will still be the gutters.
If any of your gutters are leaking, it could simply be because of a blockage. Use a hose or even a pressure washer to get rid of any leaves or blockages from your gutters and downpipes. If any of the guttering has come down then you should reattach this by nailing it back up. Also check the joints between the sections of gutter; you may need to use silicone sealant to ensure that there are no leaks.
A downpipe diverter can be used to direct the water away from the house, preferably onto a hard surface like a drive so that it can run away without causing any damage to your house.
Grading is the slope between your house and the surrounding ground. Building codes state that this should be a minimum of 6 inches higher than surrounding land. This is a minimum and the higher the slope; the faster water will be drained away.
A French drain can also be used to direct water away from your foundations. A French drain is a special type of perforated drain which allows the water to soak away in gravel.
Applying waterproofing compound to the inside of your walls is something else that is worth considering. This is a powder which needs to be mixed, it is then painted onto the walls and when it dries it forms a strong waterproof coating. By putting this on with a long brush you will ensure that it gets into all of the holes in the concrete.
If there are any cracks then make sure you repair these with hydraulic cement. Before doing this you should make the crack slightly wider at the bottom of the crack than at the top. Then fill it with the hydraulic cement which will expand as it dries. The hole being wider at the bottom will prevent it from coming out.