Make winter basement projects pay off

As the holidays give way to the long months of the Midwestern winter, expect to see the usual jump in remodeling projects, particularly in basements. Research indicates that more than 20,000 basements are remodeled in the Midwest each year, with the majority of projects taking place in the winter months. Based on this activity level, U.S. Waterproofing, the Midwest’s largest basement waterproofing company, is offering “Five Tips for Winter Basement Remodeling” to help ensure homeowners reap the return on investment for their work.

Reasons for remodeling vary; owners may be looking for additional usable space for kids, work or hobbies, or may be fixing up their home to sell in the spring. Projects typically cost between $10,000 and $100,000. Yet, many owners don’t protect their investment by investigating past, present or potential seepage problems before they remodel. This can ensure their basement will remain dry and healthy, and they won’t have to tear up carpeting or tear down new drywall or paneling because of seepage.

Seepage is the passage of ground water into a basement. Water enters through tiny openings in the walls or floor. Seepage is typically driven by environmental factors; owners may notice seepage during an early heavy snow, a big rain on frozen ground, a pattern of freeze-and-thaw weather, or if clogged gutters prevent proper drainage.

The following simple winter basement remodeling tips from U.S. Waterproofing can help homeowners decrease costs and increase return on investment:

1. Check for water or signs of past seepage coming from the basement walls or floor. Water on the floor or walls is the obvious clue, but seepage may not show itself that clearly. Owners may find evidence of mold in the basement, or flooring may begin to buckle. Rotting wood trim or effloresce (white powdery deposits) on the foundation walls are other signs of seepage. Also, check gutters, drainage pipes and window wells to ensure they are clear of fall leaves.

2. Get a free consultation—or two—to validate findings or evaluate visible problems. Most reputable basement waterproofing companies provide a free consultation and written estimate. They may find seepage or evidence of it in places the average homeowner is not trained to look.

3. If seepage exists, fix it before investing in remodeling or selling a home. If a seepage problem arises after an owner remodels, he may have to rip up newly finished floors and walls, address the problem, then rebuild again. And, if an owner is remodeling the basement to increase the resale value of the house, addressing seepage problems is even more critical. Real estate disclosure laws require that seepage problems be disclosed upon selling a home. A buyer may press for a lower sale price, or force the owner to address a seepage problem prior to the sale.

4. Take advantage of winter discounts. Because winter can be a slower time in the basement waterproofing industry, some waterproofing companies provide more competitive pricing during the winter months to maintain revenues and keep employers busy until spring.

5. Every year, do a once-over check of the basement to ensure there is no new seepage. Think of the basement more like a roof. While basements are not replaced every 20 years like roofs , owners should still assume their basement will require maintenance and repair to remain seepage-free.

U.S. Waterproofing is a full-service basement waterproofing company offering permanent solutions for almost all causes of basement seepage. With more than 150,000 dry basements to its credit, the company services residential and business owners in northern Illinois, northwest Indiana and southern Wisconsin. U.S. Waterproofing is affiliated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). For more information on their services, history and management, please visit

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