Floridian Homes and Basements: Why This Mix is Uncommon and Dangerous
When moving to the sunshine state, many may inquire about homes with basements. While many parts of the country utilize basements as an additional living space for extra bedrooms, bathrooms, or even in-home theatres, this is an impractical element for Florida. While you may still find a home or two with basements in the central or northern areas of Florida, most Florida homes do not have a basement. If you should stumble across a home in the southern region of Florida with a basement, we strongly urge against purchasing this style home.
Florida Aquifer System
Most Floridian homes are built on slabs due to the Floridian Aquifer System. This system is underground and can be as little as 6 inches from the ground surface. Meaning you could dig in your yard to place a fence or a mailbox and delve straight into water. The high-water table makes digging basements nearly impossible, and very dangerous for most of the state. The closer you live to the coast, the higher the water table and the increased risk of flooding to your home.
The aquifer system is also comprised of limestone and porous carbonate rock. Another danger of digging around is the disruption of these natural materials that help make up the peninsula. Should these elements be triggered by natural events or man-made disturbances (such as digging a basement), a sinkhole becomes a likely possibility.
With the Floridian Aquifer system, should your home be built with a basement, or should you inquire about adding a basement with your contractor, the likelihood of water damage, flooding, and mold infestation becomes a significant risk.
There are many ways to waterproof basements in Florida, through poured concrete vs. cement blocks and steel reinforcements, to “wrapping” techniques. Regardless of the method, none are guaranteed, but all serve the same purpose to secure your underground addition from water damage and mold growth.
There are some serious reasons to waterproof your basement.
- 98% of basements are exposed to water damage
- In untreated moist environments, such as basements, mold infestations begin to grow within 24-48 hours.
- 20% of insurance claims are related to water damage
- 10% of basement homes obtain leaks that can waste up to 90 or more gallons of water a day.
- Sump pump failures from neglected regular maintenance, or an abundance of water, are common in homes near water.
- Tie Rods (used in concrete poured homes) are removed during construction and leave behind holes that can fill with water and leak into the basement and foundation.
Although these dangers are a serious risk, there have been companies since the 1990’s that have been attempting to convince that basement homes in Florida can become a practical luxury. One of the most touted ways to “waterproof” Floridian style basements is with poured concrete foundations in wood forms, or “wrapping,” a technique to prevent moisture and mildew growth. Waterproofing a Floridian basement is never a fool-proof guarantee from risks. Sinkholes, floods, hurricanes, and tropical storms are powerful natural disasters that man cannot completely protect against homes from damage. The water damage, mold growth, or destruction caused by these dangers can create heavy burdens on the homeowner.
While iMold specializes in the remediation of these water disasters, we believe in safety first. Check with your contractor or real estate agent for their expertise. Should you desire a basement style home, call the insurance companies as well to get a coverage quote for this addition. Should your future home, with a basement or not, require mold or water damage remediation, choose IMold as your top trusted company!