Can Melting Snow Be Damaging To Your Basement?

One of the dangers to your basement that you might not consider is melting snow. Most homeowners are aware that a heavy rain can lead to flooding, but snow can be just as damaging. To help you prepare for this winter, here is what you need to know about your basement and melting snow.

How Does Melting Snow Hurt Your Basement?

Whether melting snow has an impact on your basement depends on how well your foundation stands up to hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure refers to the amount of water pressure that pushes against the foundation of your home. The more pressure there is that is present, the more prone your home's foundation is to cracking and shifting.

In the winter, the ground freezes in a heavy snow. As the snow melts, the ground is still frozen. Instead of the water being saturated into the ground like it would during warmer months, it tends to build up under the foundation. The more snow that melts, the more water pressure you have building up.

At some point, the water starts to drift and pool up in other areas. Since your basement is built at the lowest levels of your home, the pooled water can start to spread to the interior of the space. When that happens, flooding can occur. You could even have a mold and mildew problem. Unfortunately, the basement's furnishings could also be damaged.

What Can You Do?

All those problems can be prevented by taking steps before the snow arrives to waterproof your basement. Waterproofing should start with taking care of the ground that surrounds your home's foundation. You need to make sure there are no areas around your home that would allow water to pool. If there are, creating slope in those areas can decrease the chances of flooding.

You also need to check your basement's interior walls for cracks. If you do find cracks, you can use a sealant to fix them and help keep the water at bay. Before closing the cracks though, you need to research the reason for the cracks. You might need to call on a contractor to inspect your basement to ensure it is still structurally sound.

In addition to this, you need to have your basement assessed to determine what type of basement waterproofing system is right for it. Waterproofing can include the installation of a sump pump and installing a vapor barrier.