Q: We have a seasonally damp basement and have installed 6-inch drain tile around the interior perimeter as well as a second sump pump. Water is seeping in through several cracks in the foundation walls as well as through cracks in the floor. Is there an economical way we can remedy this problem ourselves? Half of the foundation was poured in 1930 and the interior is deteriorating, with paint flaking away severely with a layer of mold and mildew between the paint and foundation. How do we fix it?

— Kate, Woodstock, Illinois

A: Steve Thomas replies: Putting drain tile on the interior will keep the basement from flooding, but obviously will not prevent water from seeping through the walls. In the case of flooding basements, relatively simple solutions can often yield significant results. First, make sure your gutters and downspouts are in good condition and that the water from the downspouts is directed well away from the foundation. Second, make sure the ground surrounding your foundation slopes away from the house, thus encouraging water to run away from your basement walls. For more on drainage, read our article Flood Watch.
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