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Why Is It So Hard To Waterproof An Older Home?

The older homes in the Denver, CO, area have a particular charm to them. Not only is the architecture vastly different from what homeowners see today, but the history behind these homes is more than enough to draw potential owners in.

Unfortunately, older homes tend to require more work than newer homes. Why? Because they were built at a time when building codes and requirements were different from how they are now.

The keenest difference can be found in the accessible build of a home’s basement and foundation. Because procedures regarding basement and foundation waterproofing were lax or non-existent, many older homes still in use today are prone to leaking.

If you live in an older home but want to protect your belongings from the worst of Denver’s rains, what are you supposed to do?

What Causes Leaks in Older Homes?

As mentioned, it can often be the design of an older home that causes it to start leaking. Age isn’t the only factor, however, that you’re going to have to consider when fighting Mother Nature.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how old your home is: if the conditions are right, you are going to run into a leak. What causes these leaks to appear?

Many homeowners may believe it’s a single event that lets water start seeping into your home. In reality, it’s often several small events that cause a foundation or basement to weaken to the point of leaking. Some of the most common causes include:

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

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Waterproofing Older Homes: the Challenges

While all homes can leak, why is it that older homes, in particular, see more leaks than newer homes?

Homes that were made before modern grading and structural requirements were put into place had basements or cellars that were originally used as storage spaces for food or other household necessities. You may think you use your basement as a storage space today, but way back when, these spaces were meant for food, water, firewood and more. Nowadays, most basements double as entertainment spaces or guest rooms.

What does that mean for your basement or foundation’s structure? Older homes lack certain structural supports that make the waterproofing process easier. For example, older homes may not have wall footings keeping their foundations in place. Likewise, the floor in an older basement is more likely to be out of code than the floor in a new home. If a contractor tries to go in and create a trench around your home’s perimeter, they risk permanently destabilizing your home.

How to Waterproof Older Homes

The good news is that the professionals in the Denver, CO, area know how to work with clients who live in older homes. While you may not be able to take advantage of as many waterproofing solutions as someone moving into a newer home, you’ll still be able to work to protect your home’s value.

Some of the best ways to waterproof an older home in Denver, CO, include:

  • Clean out your gutters
  • Redirect your downspouts
  • Check your window wells and sills for water damage
  • Inspect your basement and foundation for cracks
  • Use sealants to your advantage
  • Install a sump pump or French drain

There are myths surrounding the foundation and basement repair processes that suggest that it’s better to wait to repair a leaking home. These same myths claim that leak repairs are too expensive for the average homeowner, and it’s best to DIY a solution if you’re able to.

If you try to fix a leaking basement or foundation on your own, you risk making that leak significantly worse. Likewise, you could have to pay more for the eventual repairs than you would have otherwise, as the contractor you get in touch with is going to have to undo your DIY work before they can get started.

When in doubt, reach out to a contractor in the Denver, CO, area. Whether your home is old or new, the professionals working in the city will be able to help you install the best waterproofing solution for your home.

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