Let’s face it, though water is the source of life, it can also cause a lot of damage to a property. When water flows into the house through a crack in the basement, or a leak by your window sill, the results can be quite ugly if you don’t notice it in time. Water damage leads to mold and decay to wood, drywall, and other building materials. Let’s examine the 5 main causes why your basement could be leaking.
Our infographic visually displays the science behind your home’s basement foundation and how it is affected by various forces.
1. Cracks in foundation wall
If you have water leaking into your basement, chances are you have a crack in your foundation wall (the outer wall of your basement). Cracks can form over time largely due to hydrostatic pressure against your cured and hardened foundation wall. Hydrostatic pressure is the buildup of water along your basement foundation directly pressing against your foundation walls. Concrete becomes very rigid over time and will lead to cracks if there is continuous water pressure.
2. Plumbing problems
The plumbing that comes in and out of your house can cause additional water to be in the area underground. If you notice signs of sewage leaking into your basement, this could mean that your drain that allows water to exit out of the house is blocked. At this point it is important to stop using water immediately. Any water that is used (washing hands, or using the toilet) can end up leaking into the basement area.
3. Excess precipitation without functioning downspout
In a glass, water may even out and be level with the surface the glass is placed on. In the case of precipitation, proper downspouts need to be in place to direct the water away from the house. If the water is not directed properly, or is directed into the basement wall area (footing drain system), then this could cause excess pressure against the foundation wall. Downspouts need to direct water several meters away from your foundation wall in order to effectively reduce water heading into the ground near the basement.
4. Clogged perimeter drain
Similar to the downspout, the perimeter drain is installed to direct the water flow of precipitation. If the perimeter drain is clogged, the flow of water can be interrupted and displaced into a troublesome area. The perimeter drain can be clogged from collapsed tiles, tree roots, foliage or debris within the drain, or natural deterioration. Regardless of why it’s clogged, the perimeter drain is essential in redirecting the water flow to avoid basement leaks and should be inspected on a regular basis.
5. Existing sealing or patch work
Older homes are generally more prone to wet basements. If you just moved into a home older than 10 years old, you may want to look for patched areas in the basement. Patch work may stop basement leaks temporarily, but the root problem still lies in the water pressure exerted onto that same area, which means a leak through that same area is inevitable. In this circumstance, it would be wise to take precautions and get the area inspected. If a leak were to occur, the costs in water damage could easily exceed the cost of preventative maintenance.
If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area or Mississauga and experiencing a basement leak, give us a call and we’ll provide you with a free inspection. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.