A heart unspotted is not easily daunted. 

The purest spring is not so free from mud

– Shakespeare, Henry VI

It brings us nothing but pleasure to remind you that winter, eventually, ends. That means you will no longer have to wonder why you have chosen to live in a part of the country where the air regularly hurts your skin. It also means you will have to contend with spring melt; i.e. water that was once snow and ice and which has now become a threat to the integrity of your property.

Spring is meant for opening windows and dyeing Easter eggs – not worrying about property damage. That’s why you should follow our advice on how to prepare for the spring melt!

Clear Snow and Ice Away From the Foundation

For every 10″ of snow, there is about 1″ of water. By extension, for every 10″ of snow you remove from the area immediately surrounding your foundation, that is 1″ less meltwater which can seep through the ground and into your property. It is best to remove all the snow within the 3′ radius surrounding the foundation. Take care not to obstruct any lines or drains exiting your property while you are clearing snow away from its foundation.

Check the Grading Surrounding the Property

The land immediately surrounding your property would ideally have a gradient of 5% (grades between 3 and 25% are also acceptable). A proper grade ensures that meltwater will flow away from your foundation instead of pooling around or seeping into it. Unfortunately, the gradient of the soil around your foundation can change when the water it contains freezes. If frost heaves have made your gradient less than 5%, make plans to have your land regraded once the earth has thawed.

Clean Out Gutters and Downspouts

Your roof’s gutters and downspouts are both essential to channeling meltwater away from your home where it cannot access your foundation. If either of these features are obstructed with debris, they will be unable to perform their crucial purpose. While you are cleaning your gutters, make certain they still exhibit the correct slope: 1/4″ downward for every 10′ of horizontal length. If your gutters’ slope is too low, water will pool inside them; if it is too high, they may drain quickly enough to cause soil erosion around your foundation.

Check the Foundation for Cracks

Thoroughly inspect the interior and exterior of your property’s foundation for cracks. Any fissure can give meltwater passage into the basement, which is why you should contact a foundation waterproofing contractor if you detect even the smallest crack. In addition to yard grading, crack repair and drain system repair, a foundation specialist can apply a waterproofing membrane such as Rub-R-Wall. It is an effective yet economical way to waterproof the exterior of any concrete block or poured concrete foundation.

Maintain the Sump Pump

Your property’s sump pump prevents water from accumulating inside the basement by actively pumping away water that accumulates in its lowest point – typically a pit that is created specifically for the sump pump’s purposes. It is recommended that you clean your sump pump’s screen or inlet opening every three to four months, as well as clean the entire pump and its underlying basin annually (disconnect the sump pump from its power supply prior to removing it). It is advisable to hire a professional plumber for annual sump pump maintenance.

Maintain the Backwater Valve

A backwater valve ensures that sewage flows in one direction: away from the property. If your property’s backwater valve isn’t functioning correctly, then a spring thaw can overwhelm your sewer line to an extent that sends back flow into your basement. Before the weather starts warming up, welcome a plumber to your property to ensure that its backwater valve is up to the challenge ahead.

Unplug Appliances in the Basement

If your basement is at risk of flooding with water, take extra caution by unplugging any appliances you might keep down there. That will help to prevent the water from becoming electrified, in which condition it is deadly. If you’re unable to remove a heavy appliance from your basement, consider putting it on blocks instead.

NIJAC Roofing & Insulation provides the foundation waterproofing and metal roof restoration services that commercial, industrial and agricultural property owners need in order to keep their investments safe all year round. If you would like to learn how we can help protect your property from the upcoming spring melt, then we welcome you to contact us today!