Want to Avoid Problems in Fall? Clean and Prepare Your Basement!

While fall doesn't pose a serious threat to your basement like winter, cold and precipitation can lead to moisture issues that can hurt your basement.

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If you knew what impact the autumn weather had on your Raleigh, NC, home, you’d appreciate the importance of basement cleaning and preparation. A lot of homeowners let their guard down thinking the worst is behind them. Yes, summer was sweltering hot, but that doesn’t mean problems will lessen in autumn. Cold and damp conditions prevail around this time of the year. 

Don’t put off basement preparation and cleaning. Act now before the weather conditions change. By then, it could be too late to salvage the situation. 

installing basement waterproofing solutions

Why Autumn Preparation is Necessary 

Given a choice, many homeowners would rather spend their time outdoors on a calm autumn Saturday morning than cleaning their basements. However, that doesn’t take away the risks associated with autumn weather. Seasonal changes, especially excessive moisture can turn your basement into a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria. These organisms thrive in warm, dim, and moist environments. Within a short time, they will spread and cover the entire wall and ceiling, creating black streaks and musty smells. Together with grime, these can make the basement dirty, unhealthy, and an eyesore. And then there’s the deterioration and water damage that follows. Both can ruin the basement and leave you staring down a huge repair bill. 

Fall Preparation Tips 

Cleaning cement basement walls 

If you have cement basement walls, make sure you clean them before autumn arrives. Wet your cement block wall and scrub it before rinsing it with water. Remember to disinfect the wall. 

With your basement walls all cleaned up, you should now focus your attention on protecting your basement. We recommend the following prevention measures

Clear the gutters 

Your basement’s health and dryness depend on the conditions of your gutters. Falling leaves can block them in autumn, forcing water to pool around your home’s perimeter. This water will saturate the soil and exert hydrostatic pressure on the foundation walls. You can avoid this problem by clearing leaves from your gutters regularly. 

Reposition your downspouts 

Likewise, check the downspouts to ensure they point away from home so they can keep water away from your perimeter. If you’re concerned about the possibility of downspouts shifting, they can be installed underground, where they won’t budge. 

Reseal basement windows 

While windows light up the basement, they can also let in water. Re-caulk the windows and ensure their wells are in good shape or you’ll experience water issues when winter comes to an end. 

Regrade the yard 

Backflows are a common problem in homes with inward-sloping yards. Grade yours outward so melting ice and rainwater won’t flow back and pool around your perimeter. 

Seal doors an entry points 

Air can get in through gaps or spaces around your doors. This cold air can make the surfaces and walls noticeably cold in autumn. If the caulk around the moldings is loose or missing, re-apply it. 

Remove worn weatherstripping on yours too. 

Check the roof 

Go outside your house and inspect the roof. If the roof is steep or high, ask a roofer to check the roof for you. They’ll tell you whether shingles are intact, broken, or missing. Don’t forget roof projections and your guttering systems. The gutters need to be in top shape and clean. Left unattended, leaves and debris can weigh them down. 

Enhance your insulation 

Flaws in your insulation can expose you and your loved ones to unbearable cold in late autumn and winter. Check the insulation in and around your home in readiness for the cold weather. If it’s inadequate or poor, upgrade it. Foam and insulating blankets are readily available and inexpensive. Don’t forget to seal up your unused fireplace as it can bring home air into your home. 

Waterproofing Your Basement 

We can’t stress enough how important waterproofing is to the health and dryness of your basement. From controlling moisture to preventing floods, there are many solutions that can create the perfect basement environment. Consider the following: 

  • Interior drainage – These systems arrest water that enters the basement walls/floor and directs it to the sump pump. 
  • Basement sump pump – Coupled with interior drains, a properly functioning sump pump ejects water that seeps through or gets inside through snow melts or flooding. 
  • Dehumidifier – This unit dries out the basement air and prevents secondary moisture problems like wood rot, peeling wall paint, and mold growth. 

If you are having problems with your basement or suspect moisture could pose problems in autumn, get in touch with Tar Heel Basement Systems. We carry out free basement inspections in Raleigh, NC, and recommend solutions that help create dry, comfortable, and healthy interiors.