If you've always dreamed of spending time in your own basement bar, you may already be outlining construction plans in your head. Although building a wet bar from scratch can take more than a few weekends of work (not to mention some do-it-yourself blog reading and viewing of online videos), the project is achievable for the handy homeowner. However, if your basement tends to take on water after your area has received rain for more than a few days in a row, successfully plumbing a wet bar can become more complicated, and failing to control the flow of floodwater into your basement while generating outflow through the drains and dishwasher can result in more than wet socks. Read on for some of the factors you'll want to consider and preliminary steps you should take before undertaking construction of a basement wet bar.
What should you do to eliminate flooding issues before building a bar?
Building and plumbing a basement bar becomes much less complex when you've already undertaken efforts to eliminate flooding issues in your basement once and for all. Your first steps will likely vary somewhat depending upon the source of your flooding.
In some cases, a house is simply constructed on or near a floodplain so that some seepage is unavoidable. However, by insulating the interior walls of your home with a moisture-retardant barrier and then installing an additional layer of drywall on top of this barrier, you'll be able to prevent much of the floodwater from seeping directly through your walls. A moisture barrier on the outside of your foundation (for partially-submerged basements) can also help.
You'll also want to ensure that your sump pump is up to the task of constant pumping through floods—and if you don't already have a sump pump, a heavy-duty one should be your next home investment. This pump will be submerged beneath the floor surface in your basement, where it can pump out any rising groundwater and ensure that it doesn't breach the underside of your home's foundation.
Finally, you'll want to check—and perhaps update—the backflow valves on each of the drainage pipes running from your basement. These valves are crucial in preventing floodwater or backed-up sewage from returning into your home through its drainage pipes, and a failed or broken backflow valve can cause major plumbing problems during heavy rain. You may need to enlist the services of a plumber to survey your sump pump and backflow valves to ensure they're in good working condition and up to the task of the additional water and waste needs of a wet bar.
What types of plumbing are best for basements that tend to flood?
In some cases, you may be better off simply constructing a holding tank (like a miniature septic tank that can be pumped more easily) rather than connecting your basement's wet bar to your home's drainage pipes. You'll still be able to take advantage of your home's water supply without risking clogs, backed-up pipes, or other plumbing issues often inherent with waste pipes that need to flow upward.
However, if you're planning heavy or frequent usage of your basement bar, you'll likely be best served by hooking up with the rest of your home's plumbing. You may need to invest in a sewage pump that will help force your bar's outflow up into the waste pipe rather than allowing it to sit and stagnate. Between the water-moving powers of this pump and your newly-inspected backflow valves, you'll be able to enjoy your new basement bar without worrying about plumbing damage every time the weatherman predicts rain, sleet, or snow.