Home Improvement in a "down" economy

Most people I meet associate waterproofing a basement is a seemingly daunting task that immediately makes them feel overwhelmed and out of control. In this slow economy their behaviors around spending are forced to change. With this, people’s priorities shift and focus to the bare essentials: food, warmth and shelter. There is something that many market observers see a trend in: That in a “down” economy people focus on the necessities which also includes doing preventive maintenance on their homes.

''Projects that should take priority are those that will protect your home from
deterioration damage"
Consumer Reports "Making Your House Pay Off'' November 2002

Why is this important?
The two things you should be able to depend on (in my own opinion) in tough times is a home and your health. If you’re home is in jeopardy of deteriorating you leave yourself open to the elements and other outside leaches that will suck your wallet even dryer (such as oil cost, heating and cooling, bugs, allergens, etc.). If you’re health is effected by any of the above mentioned that could not only put mental and physical strains on families and individuals but also emotional and financial strain.

By taking care of your biggest investment, your home, you ensure that you have a stable base to fall back too, which helps emotional well being and mental stress. Plus, after the “down” aspect of the economy mellows out and starts to rise again, any further work or investment in your home will pay off.

One of the key areas that people neglect to deal with is the basement. It not only houses the foundation for the rest of the living space above, mandating that it’s stable, level and sound, but also a contributor to the air we breathe in the home and also possibly the rate of decay of the house.

If a basement goes unattended a few things could happen: Cracks, mold, mildew, flooding, bugs, which could all contribute to other dismal things upstairs in your main space. If mold exists in the basement because of decaying natural material, it’s spores can populate rapidly and with each spawn they can kick allergens into the air, which will join the air circulation in the rest of the house.
Cracks can let water and bugs in. Water can cause more mold and mildew to grow.
So what’s the solution?
Fill your cracks and waterproof your basement.

By doing this you earn a whole other floor to your house that’s usable and friendly. You seal out the elements from the space, eliminating bugs coming from the cracks or foundation gaps below the sill plate, and controlling the amount of moisture in the space. From here conditioning the environment in the basement is simple. A dehumidifier (a SanaFe Unit is one I like) will easily remove moisture and allergens (if there’s a filter installed to do so) and pump out clean air that helps to increase basement air circulation.

All in all you end up with cleaner air and less headaches. And in a recession it’s nice to have one less thing to worry about.

So, if you're going to do anything to your house take care of your basement. The air quality will become better, you'll control mold, mildew and allergens, and then in the process you'll increase your usable space and the value of your home.