Flood water can lead to mold growth in as little as 2 days. During the summer it only takes 2-3 weeks for this mold to fully mature. Mature mold can then release potentially harmful mycotoxins. It can rot wood. It can damage a homes frame & foundation. Basement waterproofing is employeed as a strategy to stop this from happening.
What is the best way to waterproof a basement in NJ?
There are 2 main ways to waterproof a basement. Interior vs exterior waterproofing.
Interior water management (waterproofing) systems are the most common. This is where you drill out a trench around the perimeter of your basement. The trench has a “gravity feed”.
Meaning the trench is dug with a slight angle downwards. To help water flow easily towards the pump. Then a pipe is installed in this trench. It is covered with stone. Cleanouts are installed. Concrete is poured to reseal the trench. The pipes are connected to the pump & the pump directs water into your sewage drain. This relieves the immense pressure that builds on basement walls when it rains or during a flood. And quickly directs water away from the house.
Exterior waterproofing can also be done in New Jersey. But it’s more expensive & is reserved for serious problems. This is when the outside of walls are excavated (dirt is removed). Then the outside walls are coated with tar & sealed. Which forms a strong, waterproof shield on the outside of the walls.
Can I waterproof my basement myself?
If you have an engineering background technically you could. But don’t be deluded into thinking you can just paint Drylock on your walls. This will not work. It is like putting a bandaid over a damn & expecting it to stop a flood.
So many homes we do work on in Jersey were treated with sealants or drylock first. These sealants quickly fail after the first or 2nd time it rains. Leading to a flood. If you’re going to attempt installing a water management system or a french drain, please educate yourself first. It requires a lot of work & precision. You need the right tools, equipment & preferably a team of people to help who know what they’re doing. Just one or 2 mistakes can quickly raise the cost so also consider just having a professional doing it.
Is waterproofing a basement worth it?
Due to how often it rains in NJ, and how common flooding is – yes. Waterproofing a basement will stop flooding. It will improve indoor air quality. It will prevent harmful molds, viruses & bacteria from growing. It will stop further degradation of your frame or foundation. And will increase the value of your home when you sell it.
Also, you simply can not finish a basement with water problems. You can’t install a nice wooden floor. You’ll never feel safe to have furniture or electronics in an area that regularly gets flooded. Meaning the basement will mostly be unlivable until it is waterproofed. So yes absolutely it’s worth it.
Should I use Flex Seal or Dry Lok on my basement walls?
There are so many businesses overrecommending these products. But MMRG has seen how quickly these sealants fail in practice.
Rain & flood water creates an immense burden of hydostatic pressure on your walls. This water already managed to break through your solid foundataion walls. You think painting a thin layer of sealant will be enough to stop it next time?
If you had a leaky fishtank, would you try fixing it with duct tape? Or elmers glue? Likely not.
This isn’t to say all sealants fail. Epoxy makes a great sealant. But epoxy’s too expensive in the amounts needed to cover walls. It’s only available in small amounts. Tar is also a great sealant. But you need special equipment to prepare & treat with tar.
Mold Cleanup After A Flood & Indoor Air Quality
What basic actions you should take after a flood in NJ? To prevent mold or air quality problems?
This job might be too hard or dangerous to do on your own. Before you get started, we have a full guide on conducting mold inspections here: Full Guide on Mold Inspections in NJ
Before entering a flooded home you want to make sure you’re protected. Wear an n-95 mask, gloves & goggles to be safe. If a generator is being used due to a power outage, make sure it’s not venting carbon monoxide back into the home.
The first basic action is to remove standing water. Flood water can mix with sewage, bacteria & bring all sorts of harmful contaminants into a home. You need to safely remove the water. And will want to use a water pump wherever possible. These can be connected to a hose, direct the hose outside. Turn it on & let the water drain from the basement.
Remove any water damaged materials.
Anything that’s wet can quickly become contaminated with mold. It’s important to establish air flow after water is removed – to avoid mold growing. Turn on fans. Get a dehumidifier in the basement. The more fans the better. If possible open all the windows in the basement to dry it out quicker.
If construction materials have to be thrown out, protect yourself from lead or asbestos dust. Carefully carry them outside & discard all damaged materials.
Continue to ventilate the house.
You may need to leave fans on & dehumidifiers for 24-48 hrs after standing water is removed from the basement. If you have wooden floors in the basement, this wood can warp. You may need to replace flooring. Though you can save this until after it’s dry, to make it easier to dispose of.
If you need help identifying specific types of mold, check out: Did you know – How To Identify Mold?
Do you need more information on cleaning mold? Check out our page: Mold Cleanup in New Jersey
How Do I Stop My Basement From Flooding During Heavy Rains?
This isn’t a process you want to repeat ever again. If your basement gets flooded once, that means it can flood again. You have to identify precisely where the water is coming in, then fix it for good. This is easy to do by just looking for wet spots on the wall. How is water getting in? Then you need to decide the best way to fix it. Will you use sealants? What types of sealants? How do you know they will work? Is the problem too big for sealants & will you need a water management system?
The only way to stop your basement from flooding is to answer these questions. Develop a strategy then execute it. Always question what can go wrong before you begin. A professional waterproofing company can help you with this. We’ve been in thousands in homes. We deal with flooded basements all the time. If there’s anything you have questions about feel free to give us a ring!