When your home has a basement, whatever you use it for, you have to have a clear plan for maintaining it. This is because a basement often needs a different type of maintenance to the rest of the house because it is below the outside ground level. Extra pressure on walls below ground, often means basements and cellars are much more prone to damp problems and other issues such as decay and high humidity.
Common basement problems
Some of the maintenance issues to look out for are often in other parts of the house but have a direct effect on the basement. Others are more about the basement itself.
Gutters and downpipes
One example is poor external maintenance, such as defective rainwater goods and defective external rendering. It is very important, to keep your home dry internally, that all external maintenance is carried out on a regular basis.
Another outside problem that can affect basements is tree roots. These can cause two main problems – blocking or changing the flow of water from the basement or more seriously, causing structural damage to the walls. Monitoring trees that are nearby are very important and if you are unsure, the tree should be removed.
Leaks in the basement
If you don’t use your basement frequently, you should frequently check it for leaks. Leaking plumbing in a hidden area of a basement can lead to much bigger problems such as damp and timber decay issues.
Sump pump maintenance
If you have an internal basement waterproofing system, the core element of this is the sump pump. If it stops working, the basement floor can flood and cause damage to the finishes, so it is important to regularly check and service the sump pump to ensure it working properly and continues to do its job.
If you have just moved into a house or haven’t had a maintenance plan in place for the basement, it can be an idea to have a basement survey carried out by a specialist company. This involves looking at the surfaces and surrounding areas and inspecting externally to check there are no problems.
Some of the key elements of a basement survey include:
- An internal review of the basement to look for signs of water ingress
- Look for signs of damp including mould on plasterboard, black mould, even signs of wet storage boxes or furniture in the room
- External review of the property around the basement
- Checking the lower part of the basement to analyse water ingress
- Inspection of the current waterproofing measures to see if anything else is needed
Useable and dry basement
The combination of a basement survey and regular maintenance means you can have a dry and useable basement for any kind of storage or utility room functions. It also means the basement is in good condition if you want to consider a conversion at some point in the future to widen the use of the space.