Prevention Is Key to Basement Water Damage
Few scenarios are as disheartening as walking downstairs into your basement to start the laundry or work on a project, only to realize that the entire area is underwater. This can happen slowly over time, as water creeps in through cracks or drips in from a leaky pipe. Or the water can come in very quickly, due to a catastrophic flooding. Either way, no matter how it happened or how much or how little water is actually present, the truth remains: not only are you most definitely not getting anything done down there any time soon, but you are also going to need to have a plan to get this whole mess taken care of ASAP to minimize the damage.
Water may be a purifying force of nature most of the time, but left in a wet basement, which is devoid of proper air circulation, it stagnates. This turns your basement into a veritable petri dish for nasty things you do not want anywhere near your home. This environment is the ideal growing condition for several strains of dangerous mold, mildew, and fungi that could put you and your family at risk.
This is especially true of the mold called Stachybotrys chartarum. Its distinctive black coloring makes it easy to identify, and it is extremely dangerous to both humans and animals. Exposure to this toxic strain has been linked to allergic reactions and asthma; it can even cause bleeding in the lungs when the exposure’s been long term. Also worth noting is the fact that it takes less than 48 hours after a basement floods for mold to begin to take root, so it’s absolutely vital to take care of basement flooding as soon as possible.
Not only can water leakage create mold, but it can actually damage your home’s foundation, and even the structure itself when left unchecked. The reason for this is quite simple: your home is built on soil, which is vulnerable to water. It can be washed away, or, due to excess moisture, it can expand and contract to the point where the clay that is supporting the foundation doesn’t function like it’s supposed to.
Plus, when it makes its way into crawlspaces that give it access to wood, the wood itself can experience water-damage related decay, which weakens it, and makes the whole area highly appealing to pests like termites, which can, of course, cause a whole host of other expensive issues.
The simple truth is that when it comes to home water damage, the least expensive option is always prevention. Waterproofing your home long before the first rainy season is far more cost effective than trying to undo the damage caused by water after the fact.