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Homeowners Can – And Should – Be Proactive in Preventing Flooded Basements

mold and water damage from basement leak
mold and water damage from basement leak

It’s that time of year again in the Lower Mainland, and with this year’s recurring snowfalls that are often followed by rain when the temperatures sneaks back above zero (a very common trend in the Southwest corner of BC) there’s going to be more than a few flooded basements before spring arrives. We understand the concerns. We’re property restoration experts in Vancouver, but most of us are homeowners ourselves.

Naturally, homes in low-lying areas with subterranean basements are going to be most at risk, and we imagine the owners of those types of homes really don’t need to be appraised of this fact. There’s nothing we can do to convince Mother Nature to cease with blankets of snow followed by the deluges of rain, but smart homeowners will be proactive in taking steps to ensure their basement isn’t flooded. Or is flooded much less significantly than if they were to do nothing at all.

Let’s discuss these tips here.

The key word here in all of this, again, is proactive. You should be aiming to prevent or minimize flooding damage before it occurs. Let’s start with what you can do for the exterior of your home.

Exterior Considerations

  • Sealing cracks or openings in walls, floors, windows and foundations, and seal all window wells. If you don’t know how to effectively seal cracks and the right products to do so, learn it or hire a professional to do it for you (recommended of course)
  • Clearing eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris that prevent proper drainage. This one is doable for anyone, so get on it and complete the job thoroughly and regularly
  • Disconnecting your downspouts from the sewer system – this is also not particularly difficult or time consuming, and can be done right at the beginning of the season
  • Ensuring the grading around your home slopes away from the foundation wall to help drain water away from your home
  • Increasing the green space around your home with native plants and shrubs, and installing porous pavement to help absorb rainwater and melted snow
  • Repairing or replacing damaged weeping tile systems, which can magnify the volume of a flood in big way, particularly if the driveway lies flat or slopes down inwards
  • Ensuring drainage swales (shallow ditches) between properties are maintained and clear of obstructions

Now to the interior of your detached home

Interior Considerations

  • Ensuring plumbing and drainage systems are in good working condition. Keep in mind that homeowners are responsible for the plumbing, from the property line to the inside the home
  • Understanding how your plumbing and foundation drainage systems work, and how to maintain them. Every home is different and homes over time have been built with different building practices and building codes
  • Installing a backwater valve and a properly-sized sump pump and piping. If your home is in a high-risk area, having a sump pump on site and ready to go in event of an emergency is truly a very smart decision
  • Sealing cracks or openings in walls, floors, windows and foundations, and seal all window wells
  • Do not keep valuable possessions in subterranean areas of the home. A simple one, yes, but still worth mentioning.

Most homeowners in BC will have homeowner’s insurance. While it’s nice to know that you’re covered in the event of a flood, it’s still a particularly upsetting experience for most people. Being on top of everything you can do to prevent or minimize flooding is highly recommended, and particularly so these days with the trend towards more and more instances of flooding with our increasingly wild weather.

Here’s to your success with your preventative measures, and be sure to call us first for all your property restoration needs in Vancouver and surrounding areas.