How Can I Keep My Basement Windows Secure?

When there’s rain on the forecast, is there a part of you that worries about your basement staying dry?  Worst case scenario you’re ripping out carpets and throwing away photo albums, but even a little drip can lead to big problems.  Little drips can get into the wall, damaging your drywall and compromising your foundation. Those little drips can become major mold problems and affect the health of your family, while that moisture can just make your basement stinky. Basement windows are your first line of defense.  Those windows certainly have their work cut out for them. They bring valuable light into your home, they help you keep the temperature comfortable, and some basement windows even serve as a means of egress in case of emergency.  Let’s give them a little assist. 

5. Make sure your lot’s grading makes the grade

Take a step back and look at the big picture. Your lawn. Does it slope down towards your basement? You can try any number of fixes for your leaky windows, but if your lot’s grading is problematic, you’ll be needing to fix those basement leaks on the regular.  If you notice that your lot’s terrain slopes down towards the foundation, you might want to call in the pros. Take a basement waterproofing expert on a stroll through your backyard.

4. Keep those downspouts tidy

Okay... we’re thinking like the enemy here. Getting inside their heads.  If you were water, what would you do? How would you get into that basement? Well, you might drop down out of the sky, land on the roof. Take a look at your downspouts! It’s so easy to knock those downspout extenders out of position when you’re mowing the grass. You want them pointed away from your basement at least six to ten feet and sloping downwards.  The next time it rains, take a walk outside and see how your downspouts are performing. If you see water pooling by the downspouts you have some work to do. 

3. Ensure your window wells are working well

If the base of your window is at or below ground level, you probably have a window well. They create a border around the window that helps keep water away, and makes it easier to crawl out of the basement in case of emergencies Are you taking good care of your window wells? Over time, these wells can fill up with dead leaves and dirt.  They need some love.  You might want to look into laying down a layer of gravel at the bottom of your window well to help with drainage. You can also install a window well cover that will keep this area clean and dry. 

2. Break out a fresh tube of caulk

Basement foundations shift over time. When those basement windows were first installed, there was a layer of caulk that sealed up the windows and got you a good tight fit. It’s been a while.  You might be able to see cracks in the caulking, but even if you don’t, this could be letting water in.   It’s an easy weekend job to run out to the hardware store and pick up a fresh tube of caulk. Not a bad idea. 

1. Upgrade those windows

Now let’s look at those windows. What’s the sash material made out of? With exposure to water, wood windows can rot over time. Aluminum windows are vulnerable to rust. If moisture has left its mark on your windows, it’s time to upgrade.  New vinyl double-pane windows are your best bet. Vinyl is an excellent material; low maintenance, affordable and great at standing up against moisture. If you like to keep an eye on your monthly bills (and who doesn’t?), new energy efficient windows are a great investment Good news: although you may have thought you had a big expensive basement problem, you may instead have a small basement window problem instead. Window Nation can help you out.

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