Do it yourself (or DIY) is a term used to describe building, modifying, or repairing of something without the aid of experts or professionals. The phrase "do it yourself" came into common usage in the 1950s in reference to home improvement projects which people might choose to complete independently.
In the mid-1990s, DIY home-improvement content began to find its way onto the World Wide Web. The growth of independent online DIY resources is also spiking. The number of homeowners who blog about their experiences continues to grow, along with DIY websites from various organizations.
You will find much helpful information on things you can do yourself to prevent foundation problems in our Foundation Maintenance section of Basement Questions.
Foundation waterproofing for the D-I-Yourselfer can be a real challenge if it is in need of new draintile system. Or it could just be a minor crack or rod hole leak.
I remember back in the day, my Dad had "let" all of us kids help him dig up the basement from the outside. The game turned into work real quick. Through all the hard compact soil, rocks, tree roots, etc all the way down to the old clay tiles that need to be replaced. Of course you also have to scrape and clean the walls filling in any cracks. Now comes the re-tarring of the walls laying new draintiles and backfilling in the dirt you dug out of the whole.
This is not something recommended. Now days you have codes that must be followed and safety measures to adhere to. You need to know what you are doing as far as installing the draintiles and discharge lines. There are obviously many foundation problems that may be structural in nature which should be repaired by a professional. Some instances of large cracking could be a sign of settlement which would require piering or shoring up the footer of foundation. Remember the basement or foundation is what holds your house up!!
As for minor cracking or rod hole leaks in poured foundations and cracking of mortar joints in block foundations, there are DIY products available to the homeowner which have been designed to be user friendly and relatively affordable.
For block foundation wall cracking visit Carbon Wall Repair
A wet basement is incredibly too common. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, 60% of homes are plagued by a wet basement.
Unattended leaks can rot a home's structure, attract termites and other pests, and cause mold to flourish. Any of these problems could require costly repairs. The worst thing you can do is ignore a water or moisture problem in the basement. Here are a few simple fixes - some you can even do yourself - that won't cost a bundle.
If your water problems are bigger than what we have described in this article, (say you have a have a three feet of water in your basement or water is continually seeping through the wall and the floor) than it may be time to call in a professional. Remedial waterproofing contractors and structural repair contractors are trained to install exterior or interior basement drainage systems.
The professionals will be able to assess your situation and determine the best solutions. No matter what, don't ignore the problem. Ignoring a water problem in your basement will only turn what could have been an easy fix into a problem that will make your home environment unsafe and will cost thousands of dollars to fix in the end.
Even a little water down there means big trouble. Avoid it with these low-cost ways to dry out.
Plug cracks and holes. Watch for water entering through seams between concrete blocks, cracks in old concrete or holes where pipes penetrate the foundation. If you find such gaps, fill them with hydraulic cement (cost: $10 for a 10-pound container - probably more than enough - at any hardware store). Just mix water with this powder to get the consistency of toothpaste and press as much of it as you can into the opening after you brush out any loose debris. It will harden into a watertight seam.
Seal damp walls. Sometimes water seeps right through the pores of a foundation wall or floor, leaving a telltale white powder behind when it dries. Sure, you could fix the problem by having the exterior of your foundation waterproofed, but that would mean excavating the yard - and paying $5,000 to $15,000. Treat the interior surface instead by painting on Xypex, a professional-grade brush-on sealant (cost: about $130 for enough to cover one wall). It's not available at home stores, but you can get it by calling 800-363-2002.
Dry the air. Even if you don't have any leaks, high humidity is all that mold needs to take root on organic materials such as wood, wallboard and even dust. So if your basement air smells musty, pick up the largest Energy Star-rated, digitally controlled dehumidifier you can find (cost: about $300). Forget about the built-in collection bucket - there's no way you'll empty it every day - and instead use a plastic hose to discharge the water into a utility sink or floor drain. John Lombardi, a basement waterproofer in Silverton, Ore., advises setting the controls to 50% humidity, which is too dry for mold.
Bring in the big guns. If you're getting full-scale floods or see water entering between the wall and the floor, call a basement waterproofing company. Go to the website of the National Association of Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors (nawsrc.org), find a few local companies and ask for a free assessment. They will probably recommend a sump pump, an in-floor machine that removes water under your cellar and costs about $2,000 installed. (Aboveground pumps are meant for emergencies, not long-term use.) The best units have a second pump for extreme rainstorms and a battery-operated third in case of a power outage.
The company may also recommend adding an in-floor gutter (cost: $3,000 to $5,000) around the perimeter of your basement floor to collect water and deliver it to the pump. Make sure that the firm you choose provides a warranty that your basement will remain dry for the life of the building. You'll never be afraid to head downstairs again.
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