While many homeowners use their basement or crawlspace as an extra storage space, they offer a whole lot of potential for those in the creative mood. Some turn their basements into party rooms or entertainment centers.
Others have transformed their crawlspaces into children’s play areas and food cellars. But if you have plans for or already have an indoor garden in your basement or crawlspace, it’s important to make sure your garden’s environment remains stable.
Unfortunately, many basements and crawlspaces experience at one point or another problems with moisture or intrusive groundwater. This can arise from problems with foundation damage, water seeping through the cold joints of your foundation, or from a crawlspace simply being vented with outside moisture freely flowing in.
But a little extra water or humidity in your lower level should be okay for your indoor garden right? No way! By allowing outside water and moisture to disturb the environment of your indoor garden, it can lead to a variety of problems both for your plants and your lower level…
What Can Moisture and Water Do?
When there is invasive water or excess moisture in your basement or crawlspace, various problems can follow including…
These are just some of the moisture-related problems that can arise from there being too much moisture in your lower level.
If you have an indoor garden in your basement or crawlspace, this can be hazardous for your plants. Certain molds thrive on food items, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Pests may eat the plants in your indoor garden and use your garden as a potential place to live and reproduce.
How Can I Prevent This From Happening?
The key to preventing these problems from affecting your indoor garden is to keep your basement or crawlspace properly protected against groundwater intrusion. Typically, this is done with a waterproof membrane for basement walls —but there are so many waterproofing solutions to choose from. How do you choose the right one?
You’ll want to choose one that can address the common ways that outside water can enter your lower level.
When it rains and the water table rises to meet the foundation, it creates what’s known as hydrostatic pressure. This water pressure can place a lot of stress on your concrete foundation and lead to water invading your lower level whether it’s by under the foundation footer, over the footer, or even as moisture vapor.
But that’s not all—if your foundation is exposed to this immense pressure enough, it can eventually lead to foundation cracks, which can provide easier pathways for water to enter your lower level. In worse situations, it can result in greater structural damage such as bowing basement walls.
There’s no way to 100% prevent water and moisture from being in the soil around your foundation. But you can control where that groundwater goes and ultimately reduce the hydrostatic pressure that gets placed on your foundation. This is done by relocating the water that would create that pressure, and the name of the solution is interior basement waterproofing.
What’s Interior Basement Waterproofing?
Interior basement waterproofing is a waterproofing system that’s installed inside your basement instead of outside. This is done with a set of drainage channels installed along the perimeter of your basement, beneath the floor slab.
Those drainage channels will capture water as it reaches your foundation and direct that water to a sump pit. In the sump pit, a sump pump with suck up that water and push it out of your home through a discharge pipe.
This process results in taking the water that’s reaching your foundation and placing it somewhere where it shouldn’t return to your foundation. Less water against your foundation means less hydrostatic pressure, and that means your lower level and indoor garden remains safe.
Other Ways to Protect Your Indoor Garden from Outside Water
Along with waterproofing your basement or crawlspace, there are other ways to help reduce the amount of water that reaches your foundation. Consider the land around your home, and ask these questions…
- Is your landscaping properly graded to be sloping away from your foundation? This will help surface water run away from your home when it rains. If the land is sloping towards your foundation, it can have the opposite effect of leading surface water to your foundation.
- Are your outdoor gardens, trees, and shrubs too close to your foundation? Tree roots can create easier ways for surface water to seep down to your foundation. Meanwhile, water from your garden hose can accidentally runoff into the soil next to your foundation if your outdoor gardens are too close.
- Are you properly maintaining and cleaning your gutters and downspouts? Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water leaking into the soil next to your foundation instead of being properly carried away from your home. Consider extending your downspout as well.
Finding a Waterproofing Contractor
Much like how there are a lot of waterproofing solutions out there, there are also a lot of waterproofing contractors as well. While researching the waterproofing companies around your area, you’ll want to consider several factors to see if they can offer the results you want. When looking at a company, ask yourself these questions…
- Has the company been in business for a long time? Longevity means success at their work and a history of happy customers.
- Do they offer a strong warranty? A contractor should be proud to back their work.
- Does the contractor have a lot of positive reviews? Are those reviews easy to find?
- Is the company insured and licensed?