Basement Finishing Q&A: Does Our Ottawa Home Need a Sump Pump?

Dear Crack Doctor:

I have a basement that turns wet whenever it rains.  It’s just a little wet, so we haven’t worried about it too much.  Now, though, we want to embark on some basement finishing.  Should we get a sump pump?

Signed,
Homeowner in Ottawa

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Dear Homeowner:

First, let me congratulate you on your desire to finish your basement!  Doing so will greatly add to your living space.  However, I’m concerned about the moisture issue you mentioned.  Even a little bit of wetness is too much when it comes to basements.

The problem is that you don’t know what’s happening behind the walls.  At any point in time, you could wind up with a much bigger pool than you’ve ever experienced before, especially after a strong rain or a freeze/thaw cycle.  Then, you’ll be forced to spend money to solve the issue AND clean up the mess.  It’s better to get your basement waterproofed as soon as you can before you finish your basement.

As for the sump pump, we always recommend one if your basement has a propensity to become wet.  Part of our proprietary trenching system helps drain unwanted water into a sump pump, when advised.  Sump pumps are terrific ways to ensure that your basement will always stay dry, and your flooring won’t need to be replaced.

For those unfamiliar with sump pumps, they are mechanical devices under the floor used to remove water from under a house.  Until recently, most houses had a sump pump, then they fell out of favour for a while but are now part of the building code again for Ontario.  Every new house has a sump pump.

A sump pump does several good things:

  • The sump pump provides a path of least resistance under the floor which reduces the hydrostatic pressure and prevents water from rising up from under the floor.
  • The sump pump provides a way for water to leave the basement.  In the event the basement should flood due to a sewer back up or a bust pipe, the sump pump can remove this water and minimize the damage.

In some cases an insurance company will favour clients with sump pumps over those who do not and some municipalities will pay for you to install one.

One thing to think about when installing a sump pump is that they are most needed during storms and bad weather and the power may go out right at the moment when your system is needed most.  A battery backup will avoid this being a problem.

If you want to schedule a free consultation with us to discuss getting a sump pump, I encourage you to call us at 1-866-788-3288 at our Ottawa office.  We are always happy to help homeowners who are finishing their basement and want to make sure it stays dry.

Signed,
The Crack Doctor