Are you tired of dealing with the frustrating aftermath of heavy rainfall, with water seeping into your basement? If so, you’re not alone. Many homeowners face this common issue, leading to costly damages and potential health hazards. The good news is that you’ve come to the right place for a solution. In this guide, we’ll share valuable insights and practical tips to help prevent water from leaking into your basement after heavy rain, ensuring a dry and secure living space for you and your loved ones.
Why Should I Fix My Basement Water Leak?
When the skies open up, and torrents of rain pour down, the last thing you want is to discover water making its way into your basement. Don’t ignore basement water leaks because they can lead to many other problems that can affect your home structure and health in the long run. Let’s delve into why you should prioritize fixing basement water leak problems.
One of the most common issues associated with a wet basement is the musty smell that permeates the space. The presence of excess moisture creates a damp environment, ideal for the growth of mold and mildew. These fungi not only produce an unpleasant odor but can also trigger respiratory issues and allergies, affecting your and your family’s health.
In addition to the musty smell, a wet basement becomes an unusable space. Whether you intend to utilize it for storage, a recreation area, or extra living space, water leakage in the basement renders it damp and unsuitable for any purpose. The constant moisture can damage your belongings and make the area inhospitable for regular activities.
Furthermore, water leaking into your basement can cause damage to the walls and foundation of your home. Prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to the deterioration of building materials, such as drywall and wooden structures. This can result in costly repairs and compromise the overall stability of your home.
To ensure your home’s safety, health, and usability, it is crucial to address basement water leaks promptly. Don’t let water leakage in your basement go unattended. By fixing the leak and implementing proper waterproofing measures, you can eliminate the musty smell, reclaim your basement space, protect your home’s structure, and prevent mold growth and associated health hazards.
Causes of Basement Water Leaks
Now you know why it is essential to fix your basement leak? Next, we will show you how to do it, but first, let’s understand what causes these problems in the first place. Basement water leaks can have various origins, and knowing them is essential for finding the best solution. Here are some of the common reasons for basement water leaks.
What is hydrostatic pressure, and how does it cause a leaky basement when it rains? We will not confuse you with the scientific definition of hydrostatic pressure. In the context of basements, when it rains, the soil surrounding the basement becomes saturated with water, increasing the water table level. Such pressure exerted by water against the foundation walls and floor is called hydrostatic pressure.
As rainwater seeps into the ground, it increases the groundwater level. This rising water table exerts hydrostatic pressure on the basement walls. If the walls have cracks or weak spots, the pressure can force water to infiltrate through these openings, leading to a leaky basement.
Furthermore, heavy rainfall intensifies the hydrostatic pressure. The larger volume of water saturates the soil even more, amplifying the pressure against the basement walls. Over time, this consistent pressure can worsen existing cracks or create new ones, exacerbating the leakage problem. Thus it’s best to address basement water leaks through hydrostatic pressure and implement proper waterproofing techniques.
Window Well Issue
Damaged or cracked window wells can significantly cause a leaky basement during heavy rain. Windows provide natural light and ventilation to basements and serve as a barrier against water infiltration. However, if there are slight leaks in the windows or surrounding areas, water can seep through and enter the basement.
Window wells are designed to prevent water from accumulating around basement windows. They help divert rainwater away from the window and ensure proper drainage. When window wells become damaged or cracked, they lose their effectiveness, allowing water to pool around the window. This excess water can find its way into the basement through gaps or openings, resulting in a leaky situation.
To prevent water leakage into the basement after heavy rain due to damaged or cracked window wells, it is essential to regularly inspect and maintain them. Repair any cracks or damages promptly and ensure proper sealing around the windows.
Soils have an expansive property when mixed with water, which can be a significant factor contributing to water leaking into the basement after heavy rain. When rainwater saturates the soil surrounding the foundation, it infiltrates the ground, causing the soil particles to absorb the water and expand. This expansion creates pressure against the basement walls.
As the soil dries out after the rain subsides, it contracts and shrinks back to its original state. This cycle of expansion and contraction can put stress on the basement walls, leading to the development of cracks. Over time, these cracks can become pathways for water to seep into the basement, causing a leaky situation.
The continuous back-and-forth movement of the soil during wet and dry periods can further worsen existing cracks or create new ones, exacerbating the risk of water leakage. To mitigate this issue, it is important to address any existing cracks in the basement walls promptly. Proper waterproofing measures, such as applying sealants or installing drainage systems, can help prevent water intrusion caused by the expansive nature of soil during and after heavy rainfall.
Downspouts and Clogged Gutters
Foul downspouts and clogged gutters can be a significant cause of a leaky basement, which is essential in directing rainwater away from the foundation of a house. You should regularly maintain gutters and downspouts because you don’t want gutters to become clogged with debris or obstructed downspouts leading to potential water leakage problems.
A clogged gutter can hold significant water, especially during heavy rain. This excess water has nowhere to go and can overflow, cascading down the sides of the house instead of being correctly channeled away. As a result, the water can accumulate around the foundation, seeping into the basement through cracks, gaps, or weakened areas. Keeping gutters clean and free from debris and ensuring downspouts are clear and extend away from the foundation can help maintain proper water flow and prevent the potential damage and leakage caused by clogged or obstructed drainage systems.
How to Fix Water Leaking into Basement after Heavy Rain?
If you are fixing water leakage by yourself, this is what you need to read. Fixing water leakage into the basement after heavy rain requires a systematic approach to identify and address the root causes of the problem. Here are some key steps, such as identifying the source, repairing cracks, improving grade and drainage, and more which have been described briefly to help resolve the issue:
Determine the Source of Leak
The first step in addressing water leakage into the basement after heavy rain is to determine the source of the leak. As mentioned earlier, there can be various possible causes of basement water leaks, such as cracks in basement walls, damaged window wells, clogged gutters, hydrostatic pressure, or the expansive nature of the soil. By identifying the specific cause, you can take targeted actions to fix the issue.
Inspect your basement thoroughly to locate any signs of water entry. Check the basement walls, floors, windows, and foundation for visible cracks, gaps, or moisture areas. Focus on the parts more likely to leak based on the possible reasons we discussed earlier. If you notice cracks in the basement walls or floors, it indicates that water may be seeping through those openings. Similarly, if you find damaged or cracked window wells, it can be a potential source of water infiltration during heavy rain. Overflowing or clogged gutters may cause water to collect around the foundation and penetrate the basement, so be aware.
By carefully examining the basement and considering the possible causes of the leaks mentioned earlier, you can narrow down the source of the problem. This initial step is crucial as it guides the subsequent actions you need to take to fix the water leakage issue effectively.
Check and Ensure Proper Grading
Grading refers to the slope or contour of the ground surrounding the foundation. Most people often overlook this. But it plays a vital role in diverting water from the home and preventing it from pooling near the basement walls. So one of the critical steps in fixing water leakage into the basement after heavy rain is to check and ensure proper grading around your home.
Don’t worry. It’s time to show you how to assess the grading around your home. Ideally, from all directions, the ground should slope away. This slope allows rainwater to naturally flow away, reducing the risk of water seeping into the basement. If you notice any areas where the ground is sloping towards the foundation or some depressions collect water, it indicates poor grading. In such cases, you need to take corrective measures. To improve the grading, add soil or adjust the landscape to create a gentle slope from home. Aiming for a pitch of at least 6 inches over a distance of 10 feet is recommended. This slope helps redirect water away from the foundation and reduces the chances of water leakage into the basement.
You can also consider installing landscape features such as swales, berms, or French drains to assist with proper water drainage and redirecting water away from the home. By ensuring adequate grading, you can effectively manage water runoff and minimize the risk of moisture accumulating near the foundation, reducing the likelihood of water leakage into the basement after heavy rain.
Clean Clogged Gutters and Downspouts
Picture the soothing sound of rain cascading down your roof; now imagine that flow hindered by debris-filled channels. Irritating right? Maintaining clear pathways for water to quickly drain out of your home is essential, and it is one of the critical steps to prevent water leakage into the basement.
Start by getting your hands dirty, feeling the damp leaves and twigs as you scoop them out of the gutters. By keeping your gutters and downspouts clean, rainwater will be able to flow smoothly and be directed away from the home. This helps prevent water from overflowing and pooling near the foundation. Consider installing gutter guards, like a protective shield, to reduce future buildup and minimize the need for frequent cleanings.
By attending to your clogged gutters and downspouts, you create a seamless pathway for water to escape, preventing it from saturating your basement and preserving your home’s dry sanctuary even after the heaviest of rains.
Install Proper Window Wells
To ensure a watertight barrier and prevent water infiltration through the windows, it is crucial to ensure proper sealing of the window wells. A robust seal shields your basement from the relentless assault of rainwater, keeping it dry and secure. Begin by thoroughly inspecting the wells for cracks, gaps, or deteriorated seals. Use a high-quality waterproof sealant designed for this purpose, applying it evenly and generously around the window wells. This creates a formidable barrier that effectively blocks water intrusion. By sealing the window wells with precision and care, you not only defend your basement against potential leaks and moisture but also create a sense of tranquility and comfort in your home, and you can enjoy a dry and secure basement even after heavy rainfall.
Use Moisture Barrier
A moisture barrier is a protective layer that prevents water from penetrating the basement walls and causing damage. It acts as a shield, blocking moisture and dampness from seeping through. Typically moisture barriers are made from durable materials such as plastic, rubber, or asphalt. They possess specific properties that make them highly effective in preventing water intrusion. They are waterproof, meaning they have a high resistance to water absorption, which ensures that even during heavy rainfall, water cannot pass through the barrier and enter the basement.
Besides, moisture barriers are designed to be impermeable. This means they do not allow water vapor or moisture to pass through the material. By creating a fence resistant to liquid water and water vapor, the moisture barrier effectively prevents condensation and moisture buildup within the basement walls.
How To Prevent Basement Water Leakage in Future?
Preventing basement water leakage is crucial to safeguard your beautiful home from the damaging effects of water infiltration. Don’t let a leak in your basement wall or water in the basement after rain dampen your spirits. Let’s explore effective strategies to address water leaking into the basement after heavy rain. From inspecting and maintaining gutters and downspouts to sealing cracks and using proper drainage systems, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and steps needed to fix water leakage in the basement. Discover how to keep your basement dry and secure, protecting your home from water damage. Let’s dive in and reclaim your basement from unwanted water intrusion without further ado.
Waterproof your Basement
You don’t want to deal with a wet basement every time it rains, do you? Of course not! That is why you need to waterproof your basement. While there are a few other ways to fix it, waterproofing is one of the most effective ways to shield your basement from water leakage when it rains. It helps you avoid the frustrating issues associated with a leaky basement, such as damage to your belongings and the potential for mold growth. Start by evaluating the exterior of your home and checking for cracks or gaps in the foundation. Additionally, ensure that gutters and downspouts are clear and functioning correctly. For effective basement waterproofing, hire a professional company like GJ MacRae to feel confident that your basement is in safe hands who can protect it from water damage, even in heavy downpours. Besides, waterproofing is not a solution you should take lightly because It requires skills and experience that only experts have.
Repair Foundation Cracks
How often do you check your home foundation? Not until you have a problem, right? Well, as already mentioned, foundational cracks will impact leaky basements, so repairing foundational cracks is also one of the effective ways. While those cracks can allow water to seep into your basement, leading to water leakage and damage, you should regularly inspect your foundation for any cracks or gaps on the interior and exterior walls. If you spot any foundation cracks, don’t wait any longer; repair them as soon as possible. Repairing them early can help prevent water from infiltrating your basement during heavy rains. Various repair methods are available, such as epoxy injections or polyurethane sealants, depending on the severity of the cracks.
If you’re unsure about the best approach or lack the necessary expertise, it’s advisable to consult a professional basement waterproofing company like GJ Macrae. We specialize in identifying and repairing foundation cracks to ensure a dry and leak-free basement. Don’t overlook this crucial step in basement maintenance and protect your home from water damage in the long run.
Airtight Windows and Window Well Covers
In addition to foundation cracks, another common entry point for water in basements is through windows. Ensuring your windows are airtight and adequately sealed is crucial to prevent basement water leaks. You should consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows with airtight seals. You might be wondering why you need to do that. It’s because airtight seals will keep water out during heavy rainfall so that you don’t have to keep giving yourself headaches thinking about your home basement.
Furthermore, installing proper window well covers is essential. These covers create a barrier between the window well and the outside, preventing water from pooling around the windows and seeping into the basement. Choose covers specifically designed to withstand water pressure and keep debris out. Combining airtight windows with a suitable window well cover can significantly reduce the risk of water leakage in your basement.
Add Extensions to Downspouts
Downspouts are the pipes that carry rainwater from your roof to the ground. Adding extensions to your downspouts will send rainwater far from your basement. If they are too short or point towards your foundation walls, they can cause water to pool around your basement and seep through the cracks. Extensions are simple devices that attach to your downspouts and divert the water away from your house. They can be made of plastic, metal, or flexible tubing. You can buy them at any hardware store or online. By adding extensions to your downspouts, you can keep the water away from your foundation walls and avoid a leaky basement during the rainy season. This is a smart and affordable way to safeguard your basement from water damage.
Protect Your Home Basement – Contact Us Now
Now you know about the causes, solutions and preventions of the leaky basement, it is time to fix it and get the job done. Don’t let water ruin your basement after a heavy rainstorm. Contact us. GJ MacRae is here to help. Whether you need basement waterproofing, foundation repair or fixing window well covers, we’ve got you covered.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best product to waterproof basement walls?
Different types of products can be used to waterproof basement walls, depending on the condition and material of the walls. The best is using waterproofing paint. It is a thick latex-based paint which you can apply with a roller, brush or sprayer, and it forms a waterproof barrier on the wall’s surface. You can also tint it with different colors.
What will absorb water on the basement floor?
One best option to absorb water on the basement floor is using Dehumidifier. It is a device that can remove moisture from the air and reduce the humidity level in the basement.
What is the cheapest way to waterproof your basement?
The cheapest way to waterproof your basement is by using epoxy, moisture barrier or sealant.