How to Waterproof Your Basement

how to waterproof your basement from the outside

If your basement has suffered water damage, you are not alone.  Statistics show 98% of basements will experience some sort of water damage.  Household water damage costs up to $20 billion annually, and 14.6 million homes are at risk of flooding.  Here’s how to waterproof your basement from the outside.

How Water Enters Basements

There are several  ways water can seep into your basement and cause a mess. Here are a few of them to look out for.

Foundation Leaks

Wall cracks are the most common source of seepage in basements with a poured concrete foundation.  They are usually caused by stress, settling or shrinkage during the concrete’s curing process.  Most cracks are hairline ones and are relatively easy to fix.

Floor Seepage

Seepage from the floor happens often, especially during heavy downpours.  Water gets in through cracks in the basement floor and the cove joint.  Sealing the cracks isn’t recommended.  You are best off having an interior drain tile system installed.   It drains the water that has collected beneath the floor and directs it to a sump pump.

Sump Pump Issues

Sump pumps don’t always work as they should.  If you suspect problems, contact a professional for an inspection.

Water in Window Wells

If there’s too much water in the window well, it can easily leak through the window frame and into your basement.  Leaves and other debris can easily clog the drain, allowing water to build up.  As soon as the weather conditions allow, remove the water from the well.  This can be done with a wet/dry vacuum or a pump. You might want to consider buying a custom window well cover. 

Uneven Grading

If your home isn’t properly graded, water can easily seep into your basement.  Make sure the ground is sloped away from your home. If you live on flat land, make sure the grading doesn’t extend above the top of the foundation.  If it does, water can access your basement through cracks in the mortar.

Waterproofing Essentials

Before you start doing a waterproofing project in your basement, there are some basic steps you can take to make the job easier.

Clean the area you will be waterproofing. Remove any existing coatings on surfaces. Many waterproofing products won’t work unless they are applied directly to the foundation.  Plug holes and large cracks with hydraulic cement. Seal smaller cracks with filler. Use caulk to seal openings in doors, windows, and window wells. Once you are done sealing, put a waterproof coating on your basement surfaces.

Protect Your Basement

There’s no doubt that water can wreak havoc if it gets into your basement. Here are some tips that will help keep the water away.

Maintain the foundation by sealing up any cracks. Gutters that have proper downspouts and extensions will steer water away from your home’s foundation.  Make sure they are free of debris.  Locate downspouts at least six feet away from your home to stop water from collecting.  Install a sump pump to get water out of your basement. Control condensation by insulating pipes and walls.  Reduce the humidity level with a dehumidifier.

Let Us Clean Up the Mess

When it comes to home disasters,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.


How to Spot Water Damage in Your Home

When the weather outside is frightful, it can get into your home as well.  Clogged gutters, drain pipes and downspouts can lead to indoor water damage. Look for leaking pipes and clogged drains inside your home too.  If you know the signs of water damage in your home, it can prevent bigger issues.

Signs of Water Damage

Many people tend to put off repairs or try to fix the issues themselves.  However, the damage you see may only be the tip of the iceberg. It’s best to have a professional check it out before you take action.  Here are some signs to look for that could indicate trouble is brewing.

 Stains.  A key sign of water damage is discoloration or stains on your walls or ceilings.  For instance, a beige or brown spot that appears on a white surface is a clear indication of damage. Water damage on darker colored walls or ceilings can appear as a patch that is deformed or sunken.

Paint.  Drywall isn’t waterproof. If moisture seeps in, the paint on the wall will begin flaking and peeling.  Excess moisture also causes paint to lift off its surface.

High Water Bill. If your water bill is gradually increasing or suddenly spikes, it could indicate a water leak. Have a professional check your home.   According to the EPA, about 10% of all homes have water leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.  Fix these and save money on your water bill.

Strange Sounds.  If you hear running water when no one is showering or using appliances, you may have a problem.  Try to pinpoint where the sound is coming from and look for water damage on the wall.

Damaged Drywall.  If your drywall is warping, swelling or sagging, it’s likely water is weighing it down. This could eventually lead to structural damage in your home.

Mold and Bad Smells. Damp, musty or moldy smells often mean water damage is present.  If something smells off in your home, check it out. Mold looks like light green to black spots and has a distinct odor.

Protect Your Home from Water Damage

There are some things you can do to protect your home from water damage.  Install smart water leak detectors.  They will alert you to leaks and can prevent costly damage.  Make roof repairs.  Fix missing, rotten or damaged shingles.  Clean out your roof gutter as well.  Fix water damage quickly.  Mold, mildew, or structural damage can result if you put off repairs.

What Insurance Covers

A standard home insurance policy normally covers water damage that happens abruptly.  This includes appliance or plumbing related damage caused by an unexpected event in your home. However,  water damage caused by lack of routine maintenance is not included. Be sure to address persistent leaks and recurring maintenance issues right away.

Let Us Clean it Up

When it comes to water, flood, or fire and smoke damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.


How to Handle Home Water Damage

Water damage from excess rain, leaking appliances, a broken pipe or other emergencies can wreak havoc in your home.  Water can cause severe damage and mold can develop in as little as 24 hours.  Safety hazards and structural problems may also occur if the moisture from the water isn’t taken care of right away.  Follow these steps so you know how to handle home water damage and keep your dwelling intact.

Contact Your Insurance Company

If your home has suffered water damage, Take several photos before and throughout the clean-up process.  Document the value of every single item.  This will help the insurance company when they send an adjuster to survey the scene and determine what flood damage is covered.   Keep in mind that not all home insurance policies cover flood damage.

Filing an Insurance Claim

If you have flood insurance, contact your local insurance agent.  They will start the claims process and schedule an adjuster to come to your home.

Be sure to document all of the damage, both inside and outside the house. Take plenty of pictures and do a video walkthrough. Keep records and make copies of all the paperwork to give to your adjuster.   Keep a record of your contacts with the insurance company including dates, times and details of what was discussed.

The adjuster will survey the damage, provide you with a flood certification number, and give you a suggested proof of loss.  Sign and submit the document within 60 days after the damage.

If you believe the adjuster’s estimate doesn’t cover your loss, file a claim for additional damages.  Also, keep track of where your claim is in the process.

What’s Covered

If a pipe bursts, it’s likely your homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of repairing the damage.  However, damages caused by flooding are usually not included in a standard homeowner’s policy.  If you live in a flood-prone area, you may need to purchase a separate flood policy.  Make sure you understand what type of damage and property your insurance covers.

Open Your Eyes

Regularly inspect areas of your home that are prone to water damage. Check window and door openings, washing machine and dishwasher hoses, plumbing systems, under carpet and flooring, bathrooms and crawl spaces.  Look around the house for leaks and water stains at least a few times a year, and right after storms.

Get Rid of Mold

Eliminate any mold that results from the water in your home. It is commonly found in closets, the basement and showers. Sanitizeeverything. Scrub and disinfect flooring, appliances and kitchen surfaces.  Inspect damaged materials and call in a professional to check for mold in hidden areas like inside walls or under floors.

Water Damage Clean Up Tips

If there is standing water in your home, here are some safety guidelines to follow.  Always wear protective gear, including rubber boots, waterproof gloves, long pants and sleeves when you re-enter your home.  Never go into wet areas to access the main power switch.  Have an electrician turn it off for you.  Remove as much water as you can. Tear down wet wallpaper and paneling, and get rid of wet carpet and rugs.  Use fans and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process.  Toss out items damaged beyond repair.

Let Us Clean it Up

When it comes to water, flood or fire damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in  Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online

Home Water Damage: When Will it Dry?

There is no doubt your life will be disrupted if water invades your home and you might be wondering, when will home water damage dry.  If the unfortunate happens,  knowing the facts and having a plan to dry out the premises will help curb the panic.

Drying Out Time

The first question at the top of mind is how long it will take your home to dry. The process typically takes five days, however the time can vary depending on the extent of the damage, and how long the area has been wet.  A home normally dries out on its own in a week or two, but further damage may occur if the drying process isn’t sped up.

How to Prepare for Clean Up

You and your family will likely have to leave the house for a time while the mess is being cleaned up.  This will allow certified experts to survey the damage, set up drying equipment, and make repairs.  The process could be further delayed if water has saturated carpeting or flooring.  It may have to be pulled up and replaced to keep mold from growing.

How to Dry Your Home

Air drying is the most simple method.  If you open a few windows and let the house air-out, the water will dry out faster.  However, pay attention to the weather forecast as you don’t want to leave the windows open if it’s raining.  Keep in mind that this method won’t work if you live in a humid climate.

Home Water Damage Drying Devices

Keep safety in mind before plugging in any device to help dry out your home.  Do not use any equipment near water and make sure there is no water damage to electrical outlets. If in doubt, call in a professional.

There are some tools you can use to speed up the drying process.

A high-power fan will efficiently and quickly dry up the general area.  It works similar to an automatic hand dryer in a public restroom.  The water may even clear up within a couple of hours.

Dehumidifiers will help dry out the moisture in the air.  In a drier environment, water is less likely to soak into furniture and the room will dry out faster.

A high-power vacuum will quickly draw water out of carpets, fabrics or cloth and will reduce the drying time.

Use a pump to eliminate large amounts of standing water.  Once the water is out, continue drying out the affected area with one of the methods already mentioned.

Don’t Ignore the Damage

Water damage that is untouched can lead to mold growth and mildew, which are bad for your home and your health.  It can cause skin problems and respiratory issues; leave a bad smell in the house, and create water stains on walls.  Electrical damage, high water bills, costly repairs, and lower house values are other issues that may result if damage isn’t tended to.

Let Us Clean it Up

When it comes to water, flood or fire damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in  Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.

Stop the Flood: How to Prevent a Frozen Pipe Disaster

The risk of pipes freezing and bursting in your home goes way up when cold temperatures arrive.  Water expands when it freezes and puts tremendous pressure on its container, including pipes, causing them to break.  Burst pipes are a leading cause of property damage and can be costly to repair. We have some advice on how to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

The best way to stop a pipe from freezing is to take preventative measures.  Insulate exposed pipes in attics, basements, crawl spaces and other cold areas to warm them up. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to get to the pipes. Let cold water drip from a faucet. It will relieve any pressure that can build up if pipes freeze. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature, day and night. If you are leaving town for a few days, set the heat to no lower than 55 degrees.

The American Red Cross reports pipes that tend to freeze most often are pipes exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines and water sprinkler lines. Water supply pipes in unheated areas, and pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

One telltale sign of a possible frozen pipe is when you turn on a water faucet and only a trickle comes out. If no pipes have burst, you can take these steps. Turn on the faucet to let water through to help melt the ice.  Apply heat to the section of frozen pipe. Wrap an electric heating pad around it, or towels soaked in hot water.  A hair dryer or portable space heater will also help thaw the pipe.  Apply heat until water pressure is back to normal. Check for other frozen pipes in your home.

Take Action Outdoors

Follow proper instructions and drain water from the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines.  Remove, drain and store outdoor hoses.  Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain.  Keep it open so any remaining water in the pipe can expand without breaking the pipe.

Frozen Pipe Repair Costs

When a pipe bursts, water will pour out and flood your home. It won’t stop until the main water supply is shut off.   If not dealt withimmediately, burst pipes can send as many as 10 gallons of water a minute into your home, causing extensive water damage.   A burst pipe in your home can easily cause more than $5,000 in damage.  Make sure you take care of it right away.  Once the water has been shut off, call a licensed plumber.

Need Help With Clean Up?

When it comes to water, flood or fire damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in  Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.

Plagued by a Flooded Basement? Here’s How to Cope

how to deal with a flooded basement

Whether it’s due to Mother Nature or a busted water pipe, flooded basements are a common and costly problem in the United States. You are probably wondering how to deal with a flooded basement.

Statistics show 98% of basements in America experience some sort of water damage.  Nationwide, household water damage costs up to $20 billion annually.  Home water emergencies affect 14,000 people daily.

Here’s how to deal with a flooded basement and help keep the water away.

Flood-Proofing the Basement

Common causes of basement flooding include heavy rain, melting snow, a faulty sump pump, and poorly installed drainage systems. Even a burst water pipe can wreak havoc.  So, how can you flood-proof your basement? Here are some ways.

  • Install an electric sump pump to keep water damage to a minimum. Have a battery-backup system if the power goes out.
  • Put in a backwater valve to prevent sewage from seeping into your basement. Cleaning up sewage is a costly process.
  • Seal your basement. Put weatherstripping around doors and make sure windows are caulked.
  • Make sure the soil grading in your yard is sloped to move water away from the foundation of your house.
  • Don’t put plants too close to the foundation. Roots can cause cracks or bowing walls which lets water in, and overgrown shrubs can keep water from draining.
  • Install inexpensive extensions to your downspouts if you notice water pooling at the bottom. Position downspouts away from the foundation to keep the water out.
  • Keep gutters clean by removing any debris that collects. Consider installing roof gutter covers to help. 

What to do if Your Basement Floods

Even with preventative measures, water can still get into the basement and cause damage. Here’s what to do if the flood water wins out.

Make sure the electricity is turned off.  If you can’t reach the breaker box without stepping in the water, call your electric utility to shut it off for you.

Once it is safe to do so,  remove the water with a pump, wet/dry vacuum or a mop and bucket. Make sure there is no standing water left. Next, move damaged items out of the basement, and dry the area completely, using fans and dehumidifiers. Open windows and doors as well to air-out the basement. If the water isn’t removed quickly, mold can grow and water may damage the floor, the foundation of your home, or your property.  Consider having a professional come in to ensure the job is done properly.

Once the basement is all dry, it’s time to clean up the damage. Remove the wet carpets and furniture; replace drywall, and repair any electrical damage.  Again, professional help may be your best option.

The Costs of Flood Damage

According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage.  Most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.  Flood insurance must be purchased separately.

The cost of fixing a flooded basement varies depending on the depth of the water and the type of water that got in.  That is, clean water, storm water, or sewage. Pumping out water and drying a slightly flooded basement can cost  between $500 and $1,000.  The cost can jump up to $10,000 if flooring, walls, ceilings and furnishings need to be repaired.

Got a Flooding Problem? We Can Help!

When it comes to flooding and water damage, Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in  Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.

What’s the Difference Between Flood Damage and Water Damage?

difference between flood damage and water damage

Many people use the terms flood damage and water damage interchangeably when going through the claims process after an accident or weather event, but the two are very distinct things! Knowing the right term to describe your situation is vital for receiving compensation from an insurance company, filing a claim and working with a remediation company to restore your home to the previous condition.

Water Damage

Water damage is a very broad category that includes a huge range of things that can happen in a home. Water seeping out from a broken water heater, a burst sewer line, a leaky toilet or countless other sources could lead to water damage. Because there are so many possible causes of water damage, it can also drastically range in severity and scope.

Flood Damage

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) establishes the guidelines for what constitutes flood damage. First, the definition of flood is “a temporary situation where two or more acres of dry land, or two or more units of property, are covered in water from a list of water sources. The potential sources of flood damage water include:

  • An overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Mudflow
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters
  • Collapse of land along the shores of a lake or similar body of water due to erosion or caused by waves
    exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that lead to a flood

Water Damage vs. Flood Damage

Based on the above, there is one key question that dictates what type of damage your home is dealing with—is your home the only house that is having problems? If the answer is no, there’s a good chance you are coping with flood damage.

While water damage is often covered by homeowner’s insurance policies, flood damage is only covered by a flood insurance policy. It’s essential to understand what you are dealing with to work with both Flood Department and your insurance company. We can work with you to determine what type of damage your home has incurred and develop an adequate restoration plan. Because the clean-up process is different if the damage is water damage or flood damage, the source of the water matters. Is it safer to clean up water from a leaking faucet in your home that was already filtered and treated? Or, is it safer to clean up flood water that could contain sewage, toxic material and pathogens? The difference matters!

Flood and Water Remediation from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration, smoke damage remediation and crime scene clean-up services. To learn more about our services and get your water damage problem taken care of before it becomes worse, give us a call at 301-829-2600.