7 Steps to Avoid a Flooded Basement

There are certain signs of spring we all welcome: cheery daffodils, increased daylight, and the chirping of birds returning from their winter vacations. Along with those happy signs of spring, a less welcome sign may be an annual event for you—basement flooding. Spring rains often bring out the worst in flawed grading and foundations, leaving homeowners with a mess. If you’ve never dealt with basement flooding before, there’s a set procedure to getting things back in order.

First, get rid of the water. If you don’t have a sump pump, you can rent one from a home improvement store. If you have more than a few of inches of water, you might want to call a professional. They have more powerful equipment and can get the job done quickly. After the water is removed, you need to dry things out. Provide as much ventilation as possible to decrease the possibility of mold growth. Open all the windows and doors, and use fans to increase air circulation.

Throw out anything wet that’s of a porous nature—like cardboard boxes or newspapers. That’s a breeding ground for mold. If carpets can be dried out quickly, you can keep them. Otherwise, they should go. (You can purchase a mold test kit if you’re unsure.) If a significant amount of drywall has been saturated, you’ll need to cut it out and replace it.

Cleaning up basement flooding is a lot of work, and can get expensive. Instead, do yourself a favor: Before the worst happens, follow these simple guidelines from the National Restoration Network to reduce your risk for basement flooding this season.

  1. Gutters & Downspouts

    Storm Drainage

    Keep gutters free of debris and position downspouts away from the foundation. The goal is to drain storm water at least three feet away, so if necessary, consider running extensions or troughs.


  2. Foundation Cracks

    Foundation Cracks

    Inspect the exterior foundation and your basement's walls and floors. Use epoxy to fill any foundation cracks and if warning signs are detected, apply masonry sealer indoors. For more serious problems, call a pro.


  3. Sump Pumps

    Sump Pumps

    If you have a below-grade sump pump, check to make sure its well is free of debris. If you have a portable pump, position it in the lowest part of the basement and be sure it's connected to a power source.


  4. Sewers & Septics

    Septic Tank Cleaning

    If you haven't had your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned, spring is a good time to address these concerns. During periods of prolonged, heavy rainfall, clogged sewers and over-taxed septics are disasters waiting to happen. 


  5. Window Well Covers

    Window Well Covers

    If you have below-grade basement windows, install window well covers that will fasten securely to your home's foundation. Clear acrylic covers allow light to enter, even as they keep out rain, leaves, and pests.


  6. Generators

    Home Generator

    Remember a sump pump only works if you have power. If you live in an area plagued with frequent storms and power outages, a generator may be a long-term investment worth considering.


  7. Insurance

    Flood Insurance

    Review your property insurance policy and consider additional coverage, especially if you have a finished basement. Usually, homeowners' insurance does not cover flooding or sewer backups. Undecided? Check out The Case for Flood Insurance.


  8. Don't Miss!


    Even if you've got your heart set on hardwood flooring, it's worth considering the alternatives. Sometimes, materials that only look like wood can be just as good as—or even better than—the real thing. Explore your options now!