When it comes to housing, basements don’t always get the attention they deserve. Seeing as around 68% of homes in the United States have basements, they need to be kept in good shape even if they aren’t being used for much beyond storage. Here are some tips that will help with keeping your basement in great shape.
Avoid Water Damage
A flooded or damp basement can cause a lot of problems, not the least of which is mold growth. Mold can start to grow after just 48 hours of water damage, so you want to make sure that your basement’s sump pump is working properly and that your roof’s gutters are draining water from your roof and away from your foundation. You should also keep an eye out for any cracks in your foundation where moisture can get in and be ready to contact any mold removal companies if you suspect that you have a mold issue. Signs of a mold infestation include a damp or musty smell in your basement, black stains on walls, and condensation on pipes or windows.
Take Care of Pests in Your Home
Pests such as insects and rodents can show up anywhere in your home, but they especially like dark, damp, and relatively uninhabited basements. Roughly 20% of homeowners say that their main concern was termites according to an article in LA Times, but just about any kind of pest can make themselves at home in a basement.
Since it will be tough to spot any actual vermin living downstairs, you’re going to have to look for other signs that they are there. These include soft spongy wood if you have termites, dark droppings in the corners of your basement, and piles of insulation that have been torn away. Be sure to contact an exterminator as soon as you notice a problem; pest issues are always easier to deal with when you catch them early.
As for keeping pests out of your basement, much of that will involve keeping your basement dry and patching up cracks and other points of entry. It will also involve keeping water and vegetation away from your foundation. Bushes and piles of wood are attractive to pests that can later make it into your basement, as are puddles of standing water.
Make Your Basement More Inviting
The best way to make a basement more inviting and keep it in good shape is to finish it. If that’s not an option right now, there are still things you can do to an unfinished basement to make it a little more inviting. This can include putting down area rugs or foam mats to make walking around more comfortable, hanging string lights to make up for a lack of lighting fixtures, and setting up partitions to turn your open basement into a more organized space. Basically, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with your basement. Simply having a space and using it will help you keep a close eye on issues such as moisture or pests.
Depending on the size of your family, your basement can be anything from an extra family room or bedroom to a place where you store your extra belongings. It should never be neglected, though. Not only does it become wasted space that can be used for just about anything, but you can easily develop issues such as mold or pests if you don’t pay enough attention. Keep a close eye on your basement no matter what you use it for, and be ready to contact a professional whether you need to get rid of unwanted pests or you want to have an extra family room.