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waterproof an older house

Moving into an older Columbus, OH, home is full of rewards – and risks. If you notice your basement is leaking, you may find waterproofing it a challenge. Older homes, after all, are both more prone to leaks and less compatible with today’s modern waterproofing solutions.

What can you do, then, to better protect your home from Ohio’s variable weather?

Why Do Older Homes Leak?

Your old home does have its own unique quirks that make it more prone to leaks, but the environmental forces that drive it do so aren’t so different from the ones that cause modern homes to leak. Think of it this way: your home likely isn’t leaking due to one large thunderstorm. Instead, it’s probably leaking as a result of several small incidents that have now culminated in more significant damage.

Some of the most common reasons your basement and foundation may start to leak include:

  • Poor grading
  • The lack of waterproofing solutions in play
  • Foundations made out of gravel, concrete or brick
  • Intense hydrostatic pressure
  • Shifting soil

The Challenges of Waterproofing An Older Home

No matter how old or how new your home is, it can fall victim to a leak if the conditions are right. However, older homes are more likely to succumb to leaks than newer homes based on their construction.

Consider this: some of the older homes in Columbus, OH, were built when basements weren’t used for entertainment purposes but rather for necessary storage. You may use your basement to store seasonal or nostalgic belongings, but the home’s previous owners were more likely to use it to store food and other day-to-day essentials.

Combine the lack of entertainment purpose with older coding requirements, and the picture begins to come together. If the old owners didn’t see the need to waterproof their homes, why would they?

Not only that, but older homes may not have the footing they need to secure their foundation in place, making it all the more difficult to waterproof them via modern means. Without that security and with flooring that might not be up to today’s coding standards, you can see why your older home requires more time and resources to waterproof and why it’s more prone to leaks.

How To Waterproof Your Older Home

There’s good news and bad news to consider when you start thinking about waterproofing an older home. The bad news is that because older homes are constructed without today’s modern supports, modern waterproofing solutions may further destabilize your home. The good news is that both you and the contractors you get in touch with will be able to get creative with your waterproofing solutions.

More often than not, taking care of your perimeter and home exterior can help you reduce the risk of your home flooding. Some of the best waterproofing solutions include:

  • Cleaning out your gutters
  • Redirecting your downspouts
  • Checking your window wells and sills for water damage
  • Inspecting your basement and foundation for cracks
  • Using temporary sealants to your advantage
  • Installing a sump pump or French drain

Naturally, you’ll want to consider each of these in terms of how much moisture or flooding you’re dealing with. For example, if you frequently have standing water in your home, you might consider doubling up on your potential waterproofing solutions. Alternatively, if you only have to deal with a bit of moisture now and again, one waterproofing solution combined with a little additional home care may serve you well.

Is DIY Right for You?

If waterproofing an older home is as simple as cleaning out your gutters, though, do you really need to call a professional? After all, even if you do have a leak, it’s something you can fix on your own – right?

More often than not, no. Trying to DIY a solution to your older home’s leak can be dangerous for a number of reasons. To start, you may worsen your leak by trying to fix it on your own time or cause a leak to appear where one hadn’t been. Your eventual repairs could also be more expensive, as any contractor you call in to help clear out your home would have to undo your DIY solution before moving forward with their own.

If you have a leak in your older home, leave the waterproofing work to the professionals. Reach out to the contractors working in your area for a free inspection and repair quote so you can take your basement back ASAP.

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