This week, I took in more than 4″ of water in my basement. To keep my wits about me, I sent my child’s Barbie doll afloat in a toy boat (on a side note, that morning Ken was missing as well as two leisure suits, an ascot and Barbie’s Dream Cruise ship. He was last seen cruising around Edgemont Park). We took in 18″ of water during Irene and 4″ with this last storm. All over Baristaville, basements that have not had a drop of water in them for 10 years, have been flooded. So let’s talk clean up and — for next time — prevention.
Step One: Make sure your basement is drained of water either using a sump pump, a submersible pump and or a Shop-Vac.
Step Two: depending on how damp your basement has been most experts agree that a bleach cleaning should be done. Mix 3/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Pour onto the damp areas of your basement floor and spread around with a push broom. PLEASE WEAR A MASK this is nasty stuff to breath in. Unless you have dumped too much bleach water on the floor it will dissolve and you won’t have to clean the excess up with the Shop-Vac.
Step Three: Air out the basement. Open the basement windows and door to the outside if you have one. Get fans going to air it out as well. If you have a dehumidifier fire that baby up. TIP: The best place to have the dehumidifier is hanging from the ceiling near a utility sink. Dehumidifiers usually have a place to screw a hose so you don’t have to constantly dump out the water by hand. To do this have a piece of 3/4″ plywood cut into a square at the hardware store. Make sure it is slightly bigger than the base of the dehumidifier. Screw four large eye-hooks at each corner. Attach to your basement ceiling with chains and screw four hooks into the beams of the ceiling. The idea is to keep it off the ground and running as needed, constantly draining into a utility sink.
Step Four: If you have things directly on the basement floor such as rubber bins move them around so the floor below them dries out. I would also recommend you check all of those bins. They do get cracks and if any water gets in them the whole bin will turn moldy faster than Chris Christie moves through a Chinese buffet.
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth 5 pounds of The Cure CD cases and covers in a soaked cardboard box.
Step One: Get the water away from the house. Check your gutters and where the water is pooling up. Have a gutter company come and extend your gutters away from the house underground or simply have them cleaned.
Step Two: Seal up crack and leaks where water seeps in with a product called Dry Lock. I have water-proofed two of my homes ( not my current one) with this product. It even works, if you hold it in place, while the water is coming in. It is a very fast drying cement so only make up small amounts at a time.
Step Three: Pumps and drains are the way to go if you want to keep a dry basement. Unless you are super handy call a professional company to install french drains and a sump pump. A sump pump sits in a pit below the ground level of your basement floor. It pumps out the water before it rises up to the level of your floor. I have a small submersible pump which is good for a back up plan but does not work until the water starts filling up on the floor.
Drylock, battery back up sump pump system, sumbmersible pumps and sump pumps are all available at American Royal Hardware Store (the pumps will be in this coming Tuesday)
Did I miss anything? Share your damp basement tips with us.