Water naturally tries to flow downhill. The USGS goes on to explain that technically, water is trying to get to the center of the earth, so goes downward when possible. And in your house, this unfortunately means that a flooded basement is a fairly common occurrence. Since many basements are made of materials like cement, they are an impermeable surface, meaning that water can’t get through it to the ground beneath. So instead of saturating the soil, it pools up on your floor instead! If your basement isn’t carpeted, you’ll be able to avoid water damage issues with carpet, but that doesn’t mean you’re off scot-free. Water in your basement can cause significant damage to your property if not addressed quickly–and properly–and shouldn’t be put off.
Since basements by definition are underground, they are prone to different hazards than the aboveground sections of the house. While basements are all but impervious to winds, for example, rain and water are a different story.
Because they’re the bottom level of a house, when water levels rise, the basement is the first and biggest hit. For floorplans with the double staircase, for example, once water gets through the door it has to fill up the downstairs level before it can start going upstairs! The higher the water, the more that the basement will get flooded. Major floods can bring in a foot or more of water, and you’ll be hard-pressed to remove all of this on your own.
Flooded basements in Portland specifically can happen due to bad plumbing systems. Many older homes in Portland have galvanized pipes, a product of the mid-twentieth century that has been shown to be an ineffective material for water delivery. While the outer coating of the pipes stays in pristine condition, the same doesn’t go for the inside. These pipes rust and build up corrosion on the inside, which restricts water flow and can greatly reduce the water pressure throughout your property. And because the outsides of these pipes can look like there’s nothing wrong, you might not know that there’s a problem until it breaks apart!
Once a pipe breaks, your basement can fill up quickly. And in some houses, pipes run beneath the house and connect to the city water system on the street. If one of the pipes bursts here, it can start to leak into your crawlspace or basement. And if you don’t often go into these places, you can get a significant amount of water building up without even knowing it!
The simplest solution is to call a professional water damage restoration company and make use of their industrial equipment and years of expertise. If you live in areas with frequent flooding, something like a sump pump is practically a necessity. While over the top for many regions of the country, sump pumps pull in water in the basement and pump it outside. They work automatically; as long as you check them periodically and make sure that they’re still functioning properly.
If your basement is already flooded and you don’t have a sump pump, use what you can to remove any standing water. Pool pumps work well for moving water if you can ahold of one, and a wet/dry vacuum is a good finishing touch when you can no longer collect any more water.
If the basement is out of sight and impermeable, is it really a big deal if it turns into a makeshift pool now and then? Even if you don’t have carpet or wood in your basement, a wet basement can still have a harmful impact for both you and your property.
Nobody wants mold in their home. Mold is ugly, dangerous, and spreads quickly. Mold thrives in conditions that are moist and warm. This means that even if you remove all the visible water, if you don’t do anything to reduce the moisture levels, it can still grow. Harmful mold can cause severe health problems in certain people, especially children and people with weak immune systems. It’s best to eliminate this possibility before finding out if anyone if your home might be affected.
While cement floors may be not be hurt much by water, your walls are likely made from something else. Drywall, for instance, doesn’t fight off water very well. Many walls are made of wooden beams, and when these beams get wet, the wood can expand. If it expands too much, the walls can start to crack. Similarly, a basement without a draining system may not be immune to water damage, even if it’s made from a sturdy material. If any water managed to find its way beneath the floor and you have a high water table, then the soil beneath your home’s foundation could expand. This can cause lumps in your floor and puts your structural integrity at risk.
Water doesn’t belong in your house. And as it tries to flow downhill, the basement is the most common place where it ends up. But that doesn’t mean a flooded basement is just an afterthought! It can cause unforeseen problems throughout your property if it nothing is done to remedy it. So do what you can, and if you can’t handle it on your own, call the professionals for property restoration in Portland to make sure the job gets done right!