The High and Dry Blog
Toronto’s structural clarity in a sea of confusion.
5 Causes of a Leaky Basement
April 04, 2019
Is there water in your basement? Although basement moisture is not uncommon, a leaky basement can lead to many different issues. From ruining items that you’ve placed or stored to causing the buildup of mold, it is important to ensure that your basement is sturdy, properly waterproofed, and dry at all times! Whether or not your basement currently has a leak or any water issues, it is important to know why and how you can fix it!
How Do You Know If You Have Water In Your Basement?
The first step to finding out if you have an issue, is to find the issue! Not every basement moisture issue is as easy to find as discovering a puddle on the floor or a wet carpet. There are many ways to identify that you have moisture in your basement or if you are going to have moisture in your basement in the near future. Some of the warning signs include:
- Water Trickling Out of the Walls
- Smell of Mold
- Wet Bottom of Walls
- Stained Walls
- Humid Air
- Standing Water on the Floor
- Damp Carpet or Wood
- Rotting Columns
Any of these signs, or a combination of them, can mean that there’s moisture in your basement. Once you know where the water is coming from, you’ll be able to find out why it is entering your basement and how to fix it!
#1: An Interior Water Leak
Cause: One of the most popular causes of leaks in a home is from inside the home! It is important to check your showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, and other places in your home that use water to ensure that the water is not coming from there. Even simple things like a leaking pipe can lead to water in your basement!
Solution: The good thing about interior leaks is that they are often easy to diagnose and to solve! All you have to do is find the source of the water and then hire a plumber to come and fix the leak. Problem solved!
#2: Ineffective Grading
Cause: If your home has poor grading, this can cause rain water or groundwater to be directed towards and pile up against your home. This can lead to water building and creating pressure until the point that it either finds or creates cracks in your foundation wall and enters your basement.
Solution: The solution to this problem is to build up the ground against your property and ensure that it is sloped away from your home. This will ensure that the water travels away from your foundation and stays out of your basement.
#3: Defective Gutters and Downspouts
Cause: Homes have gutters and downspouts to gather rainwater and carry it away from your home. If you don’t have gutters or downspouts, or they are not functioning properly, all the rainwater that falls will end up hitting against your foundation wall. This will lead to the same issue as not having proper ineffective grading where the water will build up and eventually enter your foundation wall and cause a leak in your basement.
Solution: Have your gutters and downspouts cleaned and inspected and ensure that they are functioning correctly. The water should travel at least 8 ft. away from the foundation so that it does not have the opportunity to reach the foundation wall.
#4: Foundation Cracks
Cause: Cracks in foundations are a common way for water to enter a basement. Water is actually often the cause of foundation cracks in the first place. Water builds up against the foundation wall and creates pressure. This pressure is called hydrostatic pressure and it can force the water into the wall which results in cracks. No matter what caused the cracks, if they are there water can enter!
Solution: The solution to this issue depends on the original cause of the foundation cracks. Foundation cracks are a serious issue and they need to be accessed and fixed by a team of trained and experienced professionals. This team will come to your home and alert you of the kind of issue you have and how it will need to be fixed in order to keep your basement dry for many years to come!
Cause: Condensation forms when warm and moist air comes in contact with a surface or air that is colder than it is. Think of the outside of a cold can of pop on a warm summer day. This can happen to your basement walls! If the air in your basement is warm and moist and your basement walls and floor are cool, then they can both be covered in a layer of condensation.
Solution: There are several different ways to deal with condensation in your basement (apart from interior vapour barriers). We recommend checking your dryer’s exhaust and central air conditioners drain. If either of these are clogged, they can release moisture into the air. If this is not the case, there are other options to eliminate condensation in your basement.
Basement Exhaust Fan: Installing a basement exhaust fan is a simple way to send hot and moist air out of your basement. This is especially important if you cook or have hot showers in your basement.
Increase Air Circulation: If the condensation in your basement is only a little bit, simply increasing the air circulation can help! This can be as simple as adding air conditioning vents or a fan!
Insulate Your Basement: If you can’t eliminate the warm and moist air, why not warm up the walls? This may sound difficult but it is as easy as adding insulation! Just insulate walls, pipes, and ducts and this may just solve your problem!
If you are struggling with a wet basement and are looking for help from the experts, contact GJ MacRae today! We have been working with members of the Greater Toronto Area for decades to ensure that they have a safe and dry home. We are homeowners too so we know how important a dry and safe home is! Call us or visit our website today and our team will help guide you through the process from beginning to end and ensure that your basement stays dry for many years to come!