Water, water, everywhere!

Your basements biggest threat is water. As the room is partially below ground level, the laws of gravity often mean that rain water is drawn towards the property at this level.

On top of that, its lack of access to direct sunlight means that it is difficult for damp to escape or dry up, leaving your basement prone to mildew and other damp related problems.

There are several ways in which water may pose a threat to your basement conversion. One particular problem may be that rain water seeps from the outside boundaries of the property towards the basement, and damages the exterior walls.

This can be rectified by ensuring the slope of your garden faces towards the exterior edges of the lawn, rather than towards the house. But this can be a big job, and an easier solution may be to place corrugated iron piping at the base of the foundation walls to take the water away from the foundation.

Another potential problem for basements is clogged gutters and downpipes, which may cause rainwater to pool around the corners of the house, and cause seepage. To ensure basement water proofing it is essential to clean and unclog these on a regular basis.

Ground water may also be the cause of water seepage in the basement. If there is a ground water leak, you would need to install a pump pit and a pump to direct the water away from the basement to ensure basement waterproofing.

It seems tempting to try to fix any water problems from the interior but this does not fully solve the water problem, rather it just diverts the water to a different area of the property – which will cause you headaches at a later stage.

Most experts agree that if you have serious moisture problems it is vital to have the problem repaired from the outside of the foundation walls, as well as from the inside.

But this needn't be a big job. There are many approved waterproofing companies available at www.structuralwaterproofing.org who can talk you through your individual needs.

Damp proofing company Safeguard also have several case studies of waterproofing basements for conversion which you can access on their website. Some of the more informative are below:

Once your basement has been waterproofed, then a handy tip to minimise future moisture threat is to invest in a dehumidifier, which is an electrical appliance that reduces the level of humidity in a room.

The dehumidifier works by running the moist air in the room over a cold refrigerated metal coil with a fan, located inside the appliance. As cold air loses its capacity to hold water, the water then drains into a catch at the side of the dehumidifier. The dry air is then released over the warm side of the metal coil and released back into the room.

Proper ventilation will also help prevent damp building up in your basement. As part of your building regulations, you should also have ensured that you are at least one ventilator in the room, which will bring fresh air into the basement. Most experts agree that fresh air and sunlight will work wonders for banishing damp!

Lastly, you should always check for history of flooding in your area, especially if you have just moved to a new property. Your local water board should be able to provide details.