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What to Do About Basement Water Damage
By Jon Arnett and Randy Hough

Imagine that you just bought your first house. You are so excited because all the pieces have finally come together and now you actually have a place to call your own. The papers are all in order, you move in and are just thrilled.

Soon, however, you notice a musty odor coming from the basement. You try to ignore it, but then you realize that this is your house and you had better pay attention! So, you go downstairs to investigate.

To your horror, a snake wiggles across the floor and you see a mushroom popping up in the corner. How did this ever happen, you wonder? Maybe you were just too starry eyed when you first looked it over, or maybe somebody hid something from you.

Then you find out that you are stuck. It is now your house and yours alone. Your thoughts grow dark and you become angry. Angry at yourself for not being more careful, for not having an inspection done, as you were advised. The few hundred dollars you saved by foregoing the inspection look pretty insignificant now.

Once you get over the shock and blame game, you start looking for answers. The good news is: your dream home does not have to become a nightmare because of the water damage in your basement. A water leak can almost always be repaired; it might take a lot of work and possibly a lot of money, but it can be done.

Here is a list of actions to get you started:

    * Mop it up, pump it out. In other words, remove as much as you can right away.
    * Find the source, or sources. Once you get to the root of the problem you have a fighting chance to beat it. Water is a very persistent adversary and you must go by it's rules.
    * Check the drain and gutters for stoppage. You might be lucky and can fix it by unplugging the drain or gutter.
    * Check out the exterior around the house. Sometimes it is simply a matter of re-routing runoff away from the house.
    * If your problem is improperly laid concrete, you have a bigger problem and most likely need some help from a contractor.
    * Window wells are a common source of water in the basement. They need proper drainage and spacing from the house.
    * Make sure there are no bushes or shrubs causing water to run toward the foundation. You might have to remove the plants and rework the area, but it is worth it to solve the problem in the basement.
    * Beyond these simple remedies, there are many more complicated fixes. One common solution is the drain tile approach, also called French drain tiles.

As you can see, there are many simple solutions to a big problem. One thing for sure: you cannot ignore water damage in your house. It will continue to progress and the problem becomes much worse with time. You certainly don't want snakes and mushrooms in your basement! I know, it happened to me!

Jon Arnett and Randy Hough have a website about how to fix water damage. You can learn all about prevention, restoration, mold, odors and more at
There is also a section on basement water damage

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