More and more homeowners are using their spaces in different ways, including in the basement. Whatever way you choose to use your basement, it’s crucial for it to be a safe and dry area.
Depending on its current condition and any past damages, the basement waterproofing measures needed to make this happen can be quite small, but it is important that no matter what else you do, you properly seal your basement hatchways.
Why Sealing Basement Hatchways is Important
External access hatchways are incredibly convenient things to have, but they have one major flaw. Most hatchways are built separately from the foundation walls of a property, which means they have a very distinct seam between them and a property. This would be fine, but these seams were often left unsealed at the time of construction. This means that they let in water, dampness, and even pests once time and the weather have taken their toll.
This exposed seam can lead to problems with dampness, mold and mildew, and even leaks and flooding when severe weather hits. The fact that many older hatchways have wooden or metal doors with very little waterproofing features only exacerbates this issue. So, as you no doubt see, it is incredibly important to properly seal your basement hatchways when you consider your basement waterproofing options in Winston-Salem, NC.
Hatchway Weak Points: Where to Look for Signs of Dampness
Generally speaking, there are three main areas in which you will find dampness or water if your basement hatchway is leaking or damaged. They are:
The Hatchway Doors
Older hatchway doors are more likely to let in water than new ones. The most common culprits are wooden hatchway doors, which are generally in older homes, and metal hatchway doors. Wooden doors let in water in a number of ways, but for metal doors, the main point of entry for water tends to be under the bottom of the doors. Metal doors tend not to be flush against the concrete frame. As such, water that runs down them will drip into your basement if it doesn’t go into your yard.
The Seam Between the Hatchway and Foundation Wall
It was common, previously, for contractors to leave the seam between the hatchway frame and foundation wall unsealed. As a result, water frequently leaks through this seam, especially when heavy rainfall leads to soil saturation. Over time this seam can widen as a result of frequent leaks and environmental exposure.
In Pre-Damaged Areas
Your basement is subject to all kinds of stresses. Hydrostatic pressure on the walls, frost heave, sinking foundation, and settlement can all cause cracks in the walls and floor. When this happens, cracks can spread. Any visible cracks in or around your hatchway will also be vulnerable to leaking and dampness.
How to Protect Your Home
If you do notice dampness in any of these spaces, you should call a Winston-Salem, NC, foundation and basement repair specialist to look into solutions. Generally speaking, you will have three options.
First, you can replace your basement hatchway doors or else modify them to repel water. Second, you can seal all cracks as well as the seam between the wall and the hatchway frame. Third, you can install a drain system just inside the doors to catch and remove water before it seeps into the stairway. A professional generally will recommend a combination of these options for the best results, especially if you intend to use your basement as a living space.
For help with keeping your basement dry, contact the expert team at Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free basement inspection and repair estimate. Our professionals will evaluate the condition of your basement and recommend the best solutions to fix your home’s unique repair needs.