If a big storm doesn’t set off an alarm bell in your head, you likely have never experienced waking up the next morning to an inch or more of water in the basement. For those of us who have, it’s an extreme hassle. From cleaning up the water, setting out dehumidifiers, and dealing with the lingering problems, this type of water seepage brings many problems. Sometimes it seems like there’s no way to even know where all this water is coming from. This is why it’s important to take preventative measures to protect your basement from water damage.
The main cause of a leaky basement is the build-up of water around the foundation. Built-up water eventually finds its way through basement walls, floors, and your foundation. This not only causes a leaky or flooded basement, but it can also cause serious foundation damage down the line. Water seepage can also result from your home’s window wells, especially if you have underground windows. Ordinarily, your window wells should be adequately designed to prevent water from flowing into the basement. But sometimes, they can collect water and seep it into your basement. More so, if they are in poor condition. Your drainpipe system can also cause water seepage. Drain systems are meant to collect and divert water through a sump pump system. But when left unmaintained, they can get clogged up with mud and other debris. In time, the moisture will seep through the floor, foundation walls, or cove joints.
Some of the problems associated with a leaking or flooded basement include damage to your foundation and possessions, poor air quality, and providing an environment for mold and insects to thrive. Other causes of a leaky basement can include improper drainage in the yard, gutters too close to the home, or badly sealed basement windows.
It’s not always easy to spot water seepage, especially if you don’t know what to look out for. But if you are keen enough, you will always notice the signs. One of the very first signs you might notice is worsened indoor air quality. With all the moisture in the air, you will be sure to notice an unpleasant musty smell, and the house will get unusually musty. In addition, you might also encounter cracks, warped paint, peeling, wall stains, and bubbling. In some instances, your appliances may develop rust due to the increase in humidity in the house. But while these are indications of water seepage, the most obvious sign is a pool of water on the basement floor.
While there are some temporary fixes, the best way to solve your water seepage woes is to solve your underlying drainage and foundation issues. A temporary solution might work for a while, but the way to truly fix it is to understand that each of the issues is interconnected. For example, poor drainage in the yard could lead to cracks in the foundation. This could lead to more water pouring in. If you only seal the cracks in the plaster from the foundation, you are putting a bandage on something that needs stitches. That said, installing a sump pump can help you prevent water seepage by collecting water and draining it away from the house.
While installing a sump pump will get the water out, you also need to waterproof your basement as a preventive measure. Why subject yourself to a problem when you don’t have to? One way of waterproofing your basement is by installing an exterior system. A good option is installing a French drain which will help minimize hydrostatic pressure, thereby protecting the foundation.
A water seepage problem in the basement should begin to be fixed by addressing the foundation issues first. These are the most important problems because they affect the safety and integrity of your whole structure. Without this step, your leaky basement will not recover. The next thing to do is seal cracks in the wall and windows. After that, it would be wise to look into a drainage system for the yard to drain away from the house. In some cases, it may be necessary to put in a sump pump so that your basement is protected from extra water.
If you have a leaky basement in your Northern Virginia home, contact the professionals at Basement Masters Waterproofing. We will give you a no-cost evaluation and offer you the best waterproofing solution for your needs.
This post was originally published on 1/22/2018 and updated on 9/9/2021 for accuracy and a larger scope of information.