The windows in your basement are ideal for helping bring natural light into your home. Unfortunately, they can just as easily allow unwanted moisture in. Your window wells collect water as it rains and snows. Over time, that water can wear away your seals to the point where moisture will start to leak into your basement. If you leave that leak to sit for an extended period, then your basement can start to take on a significant amount of damage.
Luckily, you don’t have to sit back and let the damage get the better of you. The professionals serving Cleveland, OH can help you protect your basement from the worst of window-based moisture damage. Not only can you repair and replace damaged seals, but you’ll also have the chance to invest in additional home waterproofing measures.
Signs of a Damaged Basement Window Well
The first kind of damage you might see in your basement isn’t always going to be water pouring from your windows. Instead, other symptoms can give away window well damage. Some of the most common symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Floor and wall cracks
- Bowing walls
- Sinking floors
- Poor water pressure throughout the whole of your home
- Flooding and standing water
Unfortunately, these symptoms can also indicate other forms of damage in your basement. That’s why it’s best, should you detect any of them, that you reach out to one of the professionals in your area. Area professionals can assess your windows and the rest of your basement to determine what kind of damage your home’s taken on and whether or not your seals need replacing.
Window Seal Leaks: The Forces Behind Them
Determining whether or not your windows are leaking is only part of the puzzle when you’re repairing your home. You’ll also need to determine why it is that your home’s started to take on moisture damage.
Some of the most common forces behind window leaks in your basement can include hydrostatic pressure, poor window installation, pests, tree roots, and piping problems.
Hydrostatic pressure is one of the most effective forces to work against the structural integrity of your basement windows. As moisture gathers in and around your window wells, it will start to change the temperature of the seals and other materials you have in place. The molecules making up these materials can rapidly expand and contract to the point where, to compensate for those changes, your window frames, seals, and other supports can start to crack from the stress.
Unfortunately, hydrostatic pressure is a force that tends to feed on itself. Once moisture has made its way into your home, the amount of hydrostatic pressure that you’ll be dealing with will likely only get worse. In that same vein, the amount of damage that your home sees is likely to worsen over time. Before long, your basement may start to show signs of structural damage.
Luckily, there’s a way to get ahead of this kind of damage. You can reach out to the professionals at Ohio Basement Systems before basement damage even sets in to waterproof your property. By installing measures like window well liners, you can limit the impact that moisture has on the materials therein. While you will need to maintain these measures regularly, you can rely on them to reduce the amount of hydrostatic pressure that your basement has to contend with. Don’t let the initial cost scare you off because home waterproofing measures tend to pay themselves off sooner rather than later.
Poor Window Installation
People make mistakes all the time. While you don’t want the team who built your property to use improper materials or install your window incorrectly, there’s a chance that they may have done so. Unfortunately, these mistakes can make your basement and window wells especially sensitive to damage.
Of course, there are also some influences that the contractors who built your home have no control over. The clay bowl effect, for example, describes the destabilization of the soil around your property. If you want a functional basement, it’s almost impossible to avoid this effect. You’ll want to work with a team to compensate for the clay bowl effect, especially if you want to keep your window wells and other home supports from falling out of their proper locations and letting moisture into your basement.
Unwanted guests in and around your home can be a real problem for your window wells. Burrowing mammals, like rabbits and groundhogs, can open up hollows beneath your foundation. In turn, your foundation can start to prematurely sink, causing the supports holding up your window wells to fall out of place.
Insects can have a comparable impact on your home, though they tend to work from the inside out. Carpenter ants and termites can eat away at your window sills, allowing high levels of moisture to make their way into your home. Even something as small as a ladybug can disrupt the integrity of one of your window frames to the point where you need to invest in repairs.
Getting rid of unwanted pests isn’t the easiest of jobs. Area contractors can rarely help with actual pest removal. Instead, you’re going to need to reach out to an area exterminator or animal control representative before calling on local contractors. Once the pests are out of your home, though, you can go about repairing your property in nearly no time at all.
The tree roots around your home can have a similar impact on the structural integrity of your window wells as pests. These roots may not leave burrows behind, but they can still cause hollows to open up beneath your foundation. As a result, your foundation can start to prematurely sink, throwing your home’s structural supports out of their proper orientations.
It’s best to try and keep most larger trees and bushes at least twenty-five feet away from the perimeter of your home. If you’re moving to a property that already has its tree line in place, however, you’ll want to work with area landscapers to determine your best course of action. You can opt to trim tree roots that have moved too close to your home or even relocate problem trees. Whatever you do, be prepared to work with both landscapers and area contractors to protect your window wells from moisture damage.
The pipes in your home aren’t invulnerable. If you don’t maintain your pipes regularly, they can start to show signs of damage.
The pipes in your basement, despite their make, are sensitive to water damage. Long-term exposure to high levels of humidity or hydrostatic pressure can cause them to leak. These leaks can add more moisture to the air in your home, exasperating leaks and exposing your basement window frames to an additional source of hydrostatic pressure.
Even if your pipes aren’t leaking, your HVAC system or water heater may be. Both of these systems will add moisture to the air in your basement. Not only will your basement be more uncomfortable, but it will also add to the pressure that your home has to endure. If you let this kind of pressure go unchecked for an extended period, you may have to replace not only your window frames and sealants but also the pipes running throughout your home.
Repairing a Damaged Window Well and Seal
It’s never a good idea to let window well damage sit unattended in your basement. As soon as you suspect that something’s gone wrong in your home, you’ll want to get in touch with the professionals in your area. These parties can inspect your home and determine how severe the damage you’re dealing with is. After your inspection is complete, you’ll be able to look over a free, no obligation quote detailing what kind of repairs your home may best benefit from.
That said, most contractors serving Cleveland, OH have a few tried and true methods designed to help you contend with leaking window wells and seals. This process usually sees them install a basement window system in your home. To implement a basement window system, the contractors in your area will:
- Install a perimeter drain – Interior drains run around the perimeter of your home and help remove any unwanted and standing water from your basement. Professionals can protect these pipes with a layer of dirt. They can also install vents at the appropriate intervals throughout your system to ensure that water gets distributed appropriately throughout your lawn.
- Move water into your drainage system – The professionals in your area will then fit your home with gray plastic vents designed to prevent moisture from making its way back into your home through your interior drain. Both this vent and the other PVC pipes used to create your drainage system will be affixed with plastic pegs and polymer injections for maximum stability.
- Seal your drain – Finally, to prevent your exterior drainage system from leaking, Cleveland, OH professionals will seal the edges of your windows – whether or not they’ve been damaged – with polymer injections. These injections will ensure that moisture has a much more difficult time getting into your basement.
Waterproofing Your Basement
Interior drains are a waterproofing measure. However, you can sit down with the professionals in your area about installing additional protective means throughout the rest of your basement. Interior drains, for example, work especially well with sump pumps. However, some of the other effective waterproofing measures to install throughout your basement include:
- Vapor barriers
- Waterproof insulation
Leaking Basement Window Wells
Your basement windows can start to leak for a myriad of reasons. The seals around your windows are especially sensitive to damage. If you let a leak go unchecked for an extended period, then you may see damage that far exceeds just a damaged window seal.
Hydrostatic Pressure and Your Basement Window Wells
Hydrostatic pressure is one of the most prevalent forces to work against the structural integrity of your basement windows. This force builds up outside of your windows as water does in your window wells. The water makes the molecules of your seals change size. Multiple transformations like this can cause your seal to snap, letting moisture into your home.
Contending with hydrostatic pressure can be challenging. Luckily, the professionals serving your area have a litany of experience doing just that. You can work with area professionals to waterproof your seals and to drive unwanted moisture out of your window wells.
Other Types of Window Well Damage
That said, it isn’t just hydrostatic pressure that can cause your windows to leak. Some of the other common causes of basement window damage include:
- Mistakes during window installation
- Mistakes when professionals initially built up your home
- Cold weather snaps
- Internal pipe damage
- HVAC system damage
- Poor grading around the perimeter of your home
You’ll want to work with professionals to determine which of these forces is having the greatest impact on the structural integrity of your windows. The sooner you’re able to limit the impact of moisture in your area, the sooner you’ll be able to reclaim your basement from unwanted moisture.
If you’re money conscious, then you may be reluctant to reach out for professional assistance when dealing with a leak. DIY home repair, however, isn’t always as cost-effective as you want it to be. If you’re looking to save money, it’s often in your best interest to work with the professionals in your area.
The Cost of Repairing Your Window Wells and Seals
Shopping for DIY home repair can be a daunting task for more than one reason. For starters, you have to determine what, precisely, has gone wrong with your basement windows. If it turns out that a piping leak has caused hydrostatic pressure levels in your home to skyrocket, then you’re going to need to repair both your window wells and the pipes in your basement.
What’s more, you’ll need to add to any toolkit you have that doesn’t have what you need to repair your home. These costs, combined with the material costs of DIY basement repair, can rapidly run through the budget you’ve already set aside. Professionals, comparatively, already have the tools they need to repair your basement window wells on hand, meaning that they save you money when they step onto your property.
The Danger of Making Mistakes During the DIY Process
There’s also a chance that you may make a mistake while trying to repair your window wells without help. Now, mistakes aren’t a bad thing under other circumstances. However, mistakes made when repairing your window wells can compromise the structural integrity of your entire home.
Say you walk away from a window well repair thinking your job’s done. In reality, the water damage that weakened your windows may have originated somewhere else in your home. If you don’t make a point of locating and repairing that damage, then the window well work you’ve already done will essentially be for naught. Professionals, on the other hand, complete comprehensive inspections of your entire basement. They address all potential concerns within your home, ensuring that the work they do keeps your basement watertight long after they leave.
The work professionals can do in a leaking basement can protect the entirety of your home. What kind of work, however, do these professionals actually do? How can they protect your window wells from comparable damage in the future, too? The trick is in comprehensive care: first repairing what damage is already visible and then installing waterproofing measures to protect your home in the future.
Repairing Window Well Damage
The first thing professionals will want to do when stepping into your home is to inspect your basement. Basement inspections let professionals understand how water’s getting into your home and what kind of damage it’s already done to your property. After your initial inspection, you can count on professionals to provide you with a personalized and free services quote. This quote will detail what means you may need to restore your basement to its original, watertight standing.
Once you give the go-ahead, professionals can get to work restoring your basement. In most cases involving window well leakage, professionals will replace your window seals and install a basement window well system. This system resembles an interior drain and will deliberately guide standing water away from the perimeter of your home.
Waterproofing Your Basement
Only once your home is as watertight as it can be will professionals discuss waterproofing your basement. Trying to waterproof a basement that’s actively taking on water, after all, is somewhat of a fruitless process. If you do try to install waterproofing measures while your home’s still damp, you can shorten the lifespan of those measures significantly.
The good news is that there’s a wide variety of potential basement waterproofing measures available to anyone interested in them. Provided that they’re properly installed, you can count on them to keep unwanted moisture out of your basement for an extended period. Some of the most common basement waterproofing measures include but are not limited to:
- Waterproof insulation
- Sump pumps
- Interior drains
- Non-commercial dehumidifiers
- Window well liners
- Vapor barriers
Do note that you will need to have any home waterproofing measures installed in your basement maintained regularly. None of these measures will last forever. With proper care, though, they can see your home through the worst of Ohio’s seasonal weather.
Keep Your Basement Watertight with Professional Help
Dealing with window seal damage can feel overwhelming, especially if it has started to impact the structural integrity of your basement. Luckily, you don’t have to try and contend with this damage alone. Instead, get in touch with the professionals serving Cleveland, OH. These contractors can help you better understand what’s happened to your basement and how best you can go about repairing it. Request a home inspection and you’ll have the chance to look over a free services quote.