Expert Interview Series: Patrick Fusco about Water Damage in Basements

Water damage

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, floods are the No. 1 natural disaster in the U.S. and they’re not cheap to recover from. Between 2005 and 2014 NFIP estimates flood insurance claims averaged $3.5 billion a year. And with climate change bringing more intense storms, chances are this average will only grow.

Which is why more homeowners might be considering safeguarding their homes from heavy rain and damaging floods by investing in basement waterproofing.

Patrick Fusco, president of Arid Basement Waterproofing knows basements. His family has owned the company for 27 years and Patrick estimates he’s been in more than 10,000 basements since he started his career.

Protecting a basement from water seepage is critical when homeowners want to use it for storage and living space, and also important for preventing long-term structural damage to a home and ensuring that the air in the home is free from mold and mildew.

We recently checked in with Patrick to learn more about the signs of water damage in a basement and the problems associated with it. Here’s what he had to say:

What are the common signs of water damage in a basement?

Aside from puddles and flooding which are apparent, efflorescence on the foundation wall, water stains and discoloration on the foundation wall.

What are the biggest causes for water problems in basements?

Poor grading, clogged gutters, leaders. All of these problems could be solved from the exterior. The more prevalent problem that can only be solved by what we do is the water table rising from heavy rains. When the table rises, an interior French drain is the only permanent solution.

What are the benefits and drawbacks to remedies for basement water problems?

Installing the French drain has some drawbacks in the sense that is a messy job. You are jack-hammering concrete so that creates dust. The homeowner has to make sure their belongings are securely covered.

The benefits are that you do this once, and you’ll never have water again in the basement. We give a written lifetime guarantee no water on the floor wherever we put our system.

What are the short and long-term risks of wet basements to a home?

Short term: Unhealthy air due to mold and mildew, can’t store anything down in the basement, can’t finish off the basement and bad for resale.

Long term: Structural damage and damage to the utilities.

What regions or climates seem to be most prone to wet basements?

Anywhere near big bodies of water – the states along the eastern seaboard and the states surrounding the great lakes.

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