10 Easy Ways To Stop Leaky Basements

Seeing water in your basement may not necessarily be the fault of your foundation. Many times minor basement water leaks are caused by simple drainage issues that can be easily resolved.
The first thing is to try to identify exactly where the water is coming from. Sometimes this can be a little tricky because water follows the path of least resistance. You may look and see water on the floor and immediately assume that’s where it came in at when in reality it may be leaking for a number of different reasons. That being said, here are 10 easy ways to keep your basement from leaking.

  1. Clean Your Roof Gutters:  If you have gutters that are stopped up due to the buildup of leaves or other debris, this could be one place where the water in your basement could be originating from.  When your gutters are clogged the water doesn’t drain away from the house and it can pool around the foundation. The pressure from this buildup of water will eventually be too much for the foundation to handle and the water will begin so seep through the walls and even up through the floor. Make sure you clean your gutters so they are free flowing to the downspouts.  If you’re not much for climbing up a ladder or crawling around on the roof, there are many companies like Green Acres Mowing Company who can do it for you at a reasonable price.
  2. The Gutter Downspouts:  Your gutter downspouts channel water to a storm drainage pipe in the ground that is supposed to channel the storm water away from the building.  If this downspout is split or cracked it could leak excessive water into the ground and eventually find its way into your basement.
  3. The Downspout Storm Drain Line:  Many homes simply have wall downspouts dump water directly on to the ground without channeling it away from the house.  If there is no positive drainage away from the house like dirt, grass or concrete sloped away from the structure, then this culprit that can allow excessive amounts of water to puddle at your foundation wall and eventually get into the house.  If the downspout does go into a storm pipe in the ground, then make sure that line is clear and channels the water to a safe place away from the house.  Make sure that this line is not cracked or in any way leaking water into the ground at the foundation.
  4. The Surrounding Landscape:  Believe it or not this can be a primary issue that can cause your basement to leak.  If the ground surface is sloped back to the house then water can pool around the foundation and can eventually seep into your basement. Over time, seasonal mulching can raise the level of the ground.  Typically building code regulations require that the level of the outside grade be lower than the top of the foundation wall.  Bushes, vegetation and mulch are excellent for water retention during rain storms and gradually release the water back into the ground so they are a good thing.  Just be careful not to overdo it with the mulch or create drainage with the ground that allows water to go back to the foundation.
  5. The Yard Drains:  Make sure that any yard drains are clear and free flowing.  This also goes for French drains which are trenches that are filled with stones and generally have perforated pipes at the bottom to filter water away.
  6. The Window Wells:  It’s great to have natural light come into a dark basement from a window.  The problem  is that basements that are totally below the outside grade and unfortunately in many cases the only way to have a basement window is to  this is to create a window with a well on the outside.  These wells when first installed by the original contractor generally are not drained properly and especially over time can clog and fill the well with water.
  7. Block foundation walls:   Block foundations are usually found in in older structures and block foundations are notorious for having structural and leakage problems.  If you have a block foundation and are experiencing water problems in your basement it’s most likely that you will need to have a professional like Toledo Basement Repair and The Diversified Group perform major work to stabilize the wall and secure it from leakage.
  8. Concrete Foundation Walls:  Concrete, when designed and poured correctly is your best bet in foundation walls. Improper pouring techniques and design deficiencies can result in cracking which allows water to enter the basement.  It’s always best to consult an expert concrete and foundation contractor like The Diversified Group if you think that your water problems are due to a structural issue.
  9. Waterproofing:  Older waterproofed homes, in many cases, have foundations that have areas that have failed over time.  There are a number of reasons for this.  It could be that the foundation has moved and cracked and the waterproofing repair has lost its elasticity and become brittle.  Another reason could be that improper techniques or inferior products were used.  Some waterproofing applications that are extremely minimal and invite problems down the road.
  10. Floor Slabs:  In some cases water does not come from any of the above items, but rather from the ground below the basement slab.  Most water during a rainstorm is retained by the surface ground and eventually makes it way down into the earth.  That is why we have wells below the surface.  Some of these wells can be hundreds of feet down.  Some pockets of water can lie just below our basement slab.  We generally use the term “underground spring” to describe these pockets.  Some are small and do no harm to the house because there is a plastic barrier required in all construction directly below concrete slab basement floors as well as gravel that will allow water to stay there for a while before going further into the earth below.  Over time, these pockets of water can build up to where they do manage to come through the basement floor slab.  They may come up in a control joint in the concrete or along the perimeter of the foundation walls, or maybe in a crack that has developed over time.
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