No one enjoys walking down to their basement to find standing water and possible damage to their walls, furniture, and belongings. You begin wondering how the water got there and quickly get to: “How do I make it stop?!”. Unfortunately, there are several ways water can enter your basement, so there is no silver bullet if you find yourself in this situation. Each of these ways can be corrected, giving you peace of mind about your basement and belongings.
5 Common Ways Water Gets Into Your Basement
1. Through the Foundation – Poured concrete foundations are the most common options for home foundations and when mixed and poured properly, generally resists water seepage. However, if that is not the case, over time those porous spots in the concrete will begin to experience seepage. Water can begin to enter the basement from cracks in the walls or through porous areas (often referred to as honeycomb). This results from the foundation settling and/or the amount of hydrostatic pressure in the soil against the foundation walls. All cracks, whether or not they have begun to allow water through, should be addressed and corrected in efforts to prevent future problems. Another area to focus on is your window wells. While keeping them clean and covered is important, it is also important to check the life of the window well liner. Over time, if not replaced or reattached, the liner can pull away from the foundation, allowing water to seep into the basement.
2. Above the Foundation – Not all water in your basement comes from the water below the ground’s surface. It is important to properly drain the water that can easily pool around the foundation of your home. Water left to pool around the foundation can cause water to come in over the top of the foundation, especially if the grading around the home is higher than the top of the foundation. Windows, siding, trim details, pipe and vent penetrations are also ways water can into your home and end up in the basement. Making sure these above grade issues are properly sealed with flashing and caulking is important to keep water out of your basement.
3. Hydrostatic Pressure Issues – Cracks in the concrete floor and walls can form several different ways, however, one of the more common ways for this to happen is called hydrostatic pressure. This force occurs when the soil surrounding the foundation becomes heavily saturated and pushes water into the porous foundation, wearing the concrete away and creating cracks/fissures. Homes with basements or crawl spaces that are located below the water table are at a greater risk for hydrostatic pressure issues. Without a proper drainage system, coupled with added pressure from heavy rainfall and soil unable to absorb any more moisture, the pressure will eventually cause water to find its way into your basement or crawlspace.
4. Failed Sump Pumps – Most of us never remember to check our sump pumps until we find water in our basements after heavy rainfall. Sump pumps are necessary tools to keep water out of your basement. A healthy and functioning sump pump should run regularly, moving the groundwater under your home out to a drainage system, rain or shine. Unfortunately, sump pumps do have a limited life span of about 5-7 years. We at Midwest Waterproofing encourage you to check your sump pump regularly to ensure it is running properly and the installation of a high-quality battery back up system is in place.
5. Sewer and Plumbing Leaks – Sewer and plumbing issues can be a little more complicated to diagnose. Often times pipes are buried in finished walls and water can be coming from inconspicuous plumbing joints rather than broken pipes.
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