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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by Heather Hilding
Spokane, WA has recently experienced a good amount of snow and a drop in temperatures. This may have had you noticing long icicles hanging from your gutters.
Icicles are usually one of the first warning signs that there are ice dams on your roof. When you combine slow melt times and the dropping temperatures, more and more people will have to deal with water in their basements due to ice dams. Homeowners with ice dams on their roofs may have already found water traveling through the walls and floors down into their basements.
An ice dam is basically a wall of ice that forms at the edge of a roof, usually at the gutters or soffit. When an ice dam forms, the water then backs up behind the dam and creates a pool of water. This pool of water can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and numerous otherareas. When the accumulated snow on your roof starts to melt, it runs down the roof underneath the snow until it reaches an even colder area like the soffits or gutters. The water begins to freeze again causing an ice dam to form.
The problem begins when the ice dams start to slowly melt off your roof and create another ice dam on the ground beneath them. The frozen ground won’t be able to absorb the dripping water. This will cause the water to move horizontally against the home’s foundation wall. Water will then come through any available crack in the foundation. A home that would not normally experience water issues may now have water problems now. The water can now seep into the foundation through cracks that were previously not in an area where the water could have reached. Water can make its way through concrete cracks in the walls or floors, through openings around pipes, through basement windows, or even directly through the porous concrete. If you have block walls, water may pass through the block and begin to seep through the open cavities inside your walls.
Since most basements flood from the wall-floor joint, one of the best solutions to stop the flooding is to install a perimeter drainage system along the edge of the basement floor. This will collect the water and direct it towards the sump pump (if there is one), which would then discharge it out of your home. WaterGuard® is an ideal solution for most basement waterproofing applications. Unlike old-fashioned drain tile systems installed on the outside of the home, WaterGuard® is installed just underneath the perimeter edge of the basement floor.
It’s also important to seal the wall cracks where the water is getting through. Hydraulic cements, epoxies and urethane injections are not able to bend and stretch along with your foundation movement. As the concrete walls expand and then shrink slightly through the freeze/thaw and wet/dry cycles, the bonds of the materials will start to fail and the crack will allow the water back in.
While we can’t see what the weather will do next during each season, we can take steps to prepare our home for the worst case scenario. Sealing the cracks along your home’s foundation or installing a perimeter drainage system can help to reduce the possibility of basement flooding. The certified specialists at Premier Basement Systems can come to your property and perform an on-site inspection to give you a free waterproofing estimate.