Simple things you can do to keep your basement dry

My Story: DIY Basement Leak Prevention

contributed by Tracy


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Our basement occasionally has some leakage during flood weather. With the "Polar Vortex"bringing lots of snow, we also anticipated dealing with some seepage when a warm day melted the snow quickly.

We aren't ready to spend big bucks on hiring a pro yet, so this time we planned ahead.

On the outside of the house, my husband noticed a hole near a drain pipe where water sometimes leaked in. He used a can of spray foam to fill the hole and we've had no more leaks there.

On the other side, the sidewalk had buckled and no longer slopes away from the house, creating an area for standing water. Since it is winter and we won't be having the concrete done in the next few months, he placed some sand tubes and a couple bags of gravel in the area.

For any leaks that made it past our outside defenses, I prepared what I call "indoor sand bags,"using cheap kitty litter, men's tube socks, and plastic zip ties from a local dollar store. Sleeves of old shirts and single tube socks make the project even cheaper.

The night before the flood conditions, I filled the socks and sleeves with kitty litter and secured them with zip ties. I placed the tubes in the area where the water usually comes in. I placed some right along the wall and others further downslope on the seams of the vinyl tile.

When I checked the next morning, the water had started to come in, but the mini sandbags worked great! If they were wet on one side, I just flipped them over and they drew the moisture out from between the tiles like a charm! There was a little litter dust left behind, but I was more than happy to clean that up. This was so much better than coming downstairs and feeling water squish out from between the tiles and better than using rags, which are not as absorbent! When you are done, the plain clay litter can be dumped or mixed into soil outside or thrown out, and the socks can be recycled for next time. A couple of the tubes were barely wet at all, and I saved those for later use.

I calculated the cost of the tubes to be about 50 cents each if you buy socks at a dollar store like I did, but it's cheaper by half if you use orphaned socks and sleeves you already have around the house. Using the shirt sleeves in different sizes also allows you to make larger tubes. Socks with holes in the toes can still be used by zip-tying both ends of the tube.

I also plan to use these tubes for other things like window condensation in the winter and to put inside damp boots to remove moisture.


"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com.

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