How to Protect Your Basement Storage from Water Damage

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We are always looking for places to store items we are not currently using, like seasonal decorations, luggage, sports equipment and even clothing. Off-site storage units are fairly pricey, plus there is the added inconvenience of not being able to get to your stuff whenever you want.

Those who have a basement believe they have the perfect storage solution, and if proper care is taken, that can be true. However, there are specific steps required to ensure the items left in your basement will maintain the look and condition of when they were placed there.

Read on for great tips on basement storage.

Why Basement Storage Needs Thought

The biggest concern for storing items in the basement is moisture. Exposing your belongings to moisture invites all kinds of problems like mold, rust, mildew and unpleasant smells.

Not all basements are waterproof, and even if they have been treated, moisture can easily creep up through the concrete, which is highly porous.

If you basement has flooded previously, there is a good chance it will again at some point. Even if it has not yet flooded, there are no guarantees it will not.

Water damage is extremely difficult to treat and the best defense is to do your best to keep your valuables dry. The way to accomplish this is in correct storage methods.

Best (and Worst) Storage Containers for Basement Storage

Basement storage solutions starts with the right containers. Make sure all containers are airtight and seal properly. You should never use plastic bags. Cardboard boxes are also not recommended for use in a basement.

You want to not only keep away any moisture, but all pests and insects. Mice, bats, squirrels, and even termites or cockroaches can eat away through plastic or fabric bags or containers. You do not want this kind of damage to your belongings.

Clear storage bins are a good choice, because not only will they keep your stuff safe, you can see the contents without taking everything down and opening the lids. Invest in sturdy ones that will hold up well and offer the best storage protection. It is also a good to throw in a couple of gel pack moisture repellents for extra moisture control.

Even though the containers will be waterproof, you still need to use basement storage shelves to keep everything off the floor. Moisture can come up from the concrete flooring and can cause mold or other damage. You should use wall shelving units to hold all of your containers.

When you want an extra layer of water protection, a waterproofing system is a great idea.

How to Store Bulky Items

Some items just can’t be put in a container. You may have lawn items, bikes or sports equipment. Again, you want to be careful not to keep them on the floor of the basement.

Invest in sturdy hooks for the walls to hang these items on. You can even design a pulley system to help raise and lower them for added safety so no ladder is needed.

If you are storing furniture, you should try to place them on a raised platform or pallet. You want to do your best to keep the legs, or bottom of the furniture from being directly on the floor. If this is not an option, then securely wrap anything that would come in contact with the floor.

What Not to Store in the Basement

Even with the best of precautions, there are still some things that should not be stored in a basement.

The first rule of thumb is to never keep anything in a basement that is highly valuable to you. Even with great intentions, things can get ruined. Your wedding dress or baby’s first toy should be kept safely somewhere else.

Never store important papers, like documents, photos or valuable books. Do not use your basement for holding food items. It is also not a good idea to keep electronic equipment there.

Fabrics, such as bedding and clothing, is also risky to try and store in a basement. These are easily affected by moisture and could be ruined over time. If you have no other choice but to put them down there, invest in a dehumidifier. This little gadget will help keep the area dry.

It is also a good idea never to keep highly flammable materials in the basement.

When Your Basement is a Workshop

Many people like the idea of using their basement as a workshop. The extra room is a huge plus and keeps tools and other items from laying around the house.

Pegboards are a great idea for the walls of a basement. They can hold a wide variety of supplies. However, keep in mind the moisture factor. Tools or supplies made of metal still have the potential of becoming rusty if left out in the open.

One option is to coat them with machine oil that protects against any wetness or humidity. If you do not wish to take that step, make sure those items are safely stored in a toolbox.

Keep a Close Watch

It can be easy to pack away your stuff, walk up the stairs, and forget things are down there. Don’t do that. Take a few minutes occasionally to just walk down there and check things out.

Walk around and look for signs of problems. Check the bins on the shelves. Make sure anything hanging is still secure. Watch for evidence of rodents or insects. Make any adjustments needed.

If you have a particularly heavy rain it would be a good idea to use that time to check just to make sure there are not any leaks that should be addressed. Also, having clean gutters will help keep water out and away from the base of your home.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for any cracks that may appear in your foundation. Any cracks should be immediately repaired.

Another good idea is to keep an inventory of everything you have stored in your basement. This can be useful when you are trying to find something, or in the event of having to file an insurance claim.

Utilize the Space

Basement storage is a great idea for items that you currently do not need or use. With just a little preparation, you can keep your belongings safe and still close at hand. 

For more information on how to waterproof your basement for added protection, reach out.