One of the great things about our house is the large basement that would nearly double our living space if it were all in good shape and livable. That’s why we’ve been working to get it up to par so much lately. The real impetus for change was when we won this great basement makeover from Apartment Therapy, which took our basement bar area from this:
We were thrilled with the updates; the guys from Apartment Therapy took our dreary glum basement a long way toward being a really great hangout spot for us and our friends. We still have a few things to do to really finish it off (like repair much of the ceiling and floor), but it’s nearly there.
After that, we decided to update our outdated and only partially functioning basement bathroom. We haven’t quite finished that project yet, but we’re *this* close!
Next, we took our basement workroom and cleared all the tools out to set up shop in our detached garage.
The plan is to take the old shop and convert it into a guest bedroom, making a comfortable guest quarters downstairs complete with a private bathroom. While we’re not planning a family just yet, we thought while we have the time, we’d make as many updates as possible to make way for a family we hope to have sometime soon.
With all the changes going on downstairs, we certainly wouldn’t want our hard work ruined by flood waters. Our neighborhood has been known to get a lot of rainwater, and our neighbors a couple of streets over have seen their basements under several inches of flooding. While we’ve not gotten any serious water in our basement (fortunately, our house is at the top of a small hill), we don’t want to chance it and are taking every precaution we can to keep out any dampness. Here’s what we’re doing to make sure our basement stays dry:
1. Keeping all Gutters in Repair. Last summer, we noticed that the gutter on one side of our house was partially detached from the house. Rainwater was spilling over the side of the roof and missing the gutter at that detachment. Water not directed away from the foundation has an awful way of seeping inside. Right away, we took long gutter screws and reattached the gutter to the roof.
While I was up there, I also used a gutter scoop to clean out all the leaves and gunky material keeping the gutters from draining effectively. We plan to clean them out twice a year.
2. Caulking Sidewalk Seams. Along the same side of the house as we made the gutter repairs, we have a long sidewalk abutting the foundation of the house. Between the sidewalk and the house, I used concrete/masonry caulk to fill the seam. I used a polyurethane-based caulk to allow for the seam to expand and contract in the changing weather.
3. Foam Fill Sidewalk Cracks. Along with caulking the seam along the sidewalk and house, I used a foam insulating material to fill all the cracks we couldn’t afford to repair right away. This foam sealant is completely waterproof and will hopefully keep water that might seep through the cracks and into the basement well at bay. 4. Waterproof Masonry Paint. We used this Behr Masonry and Concrete Waterproof paint to paint the brick and concrete walls in our basement. It’s designed to keep seepage out of concrete walls and has a built-in mold and mildew inhibitor.
5. Sloping Adjacent Land Away From The House. For the landscaping in front of our house, we made sure the soil was tapered to slope away from the house at least one inch for every six linear feet of land. This helps to keep rainfall aimed away from the foundation and out of our basement.
All that prep work should lead to a dry and (soon) welcoming basement.