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Why Is My Basement Leaking?

When choosing a home to buy, one of the top characteristics homebuyers look for is a basement. More space is available for living and entertaining in a well-designed basement. Additionally, a basement adds value to your house even if it is poorly planned because it provides additional storage space.

However, while being underground, a basement is not weatherproof. Water can enter your home in a number of ways, leading to basement leaks that can seriously hamper your enjoyment.

Don’t panic if your basement leaks; it doesn’t necessarily indicate that your house wasn’t built well. We will discuss each of the many reasons that might cause or exacerbate a leaky basement.

9 Possible Causes of a Basement Leak

A basement leak can result from a variety of factors, including poor landscaping grading and leaking window wells.

Let’s look at the possibilities to help you identify the problem’s root cause and correctly repair it.

1. Inadequate Grading

Let’s begin with your home’s exterior. Improper property grading is one reason for basement leaks. The hydrostatic pressure created by water accumulating against the foundation wall as a result of sloped soil can cause walls to push inward or leak into the basement.

The basement can then be flooded in a variety of methods, including:

  • Over the top of the base.
  • Cracks in the wall allow access.
  • Close to the locations where pipes pierce the walls.
  • Where the footing and stem wall meet, or the base of the cove.

In these situations, Advanced Systems can help the homeowner by accurately identifying the source of the basement leaks and designing a long-lasting remedy, usually backed by a lifetime warranty.

2. Leaky Window Wells

Window wells are a lovely addition to a basement because they let air and light in. However, water can leak in around the window frame or even push the well inward if a drain is blocked, missing, or the well liner is split from the well.

3. Hydrostatic or Lateral Pressure

Pressure around a home’s foundation can lead to foundation fractures that might allow water to enter. When a significant amount of snow melts or rain falls, the water table rises as a result of the saturation of the surface soils.

The foundation is pressed against by the rising water table from below, which causes cracks that lets water through.

When the earth around your foundation doesn’t drain properly, lateral pressure results. Some soils, like the roughly 85% clay soil in the Chicago area, don’t drain well and have a tendency to expand, applying sideways strain to your foundation that might cause cracking.

4. Basement Floor Cracks

Recall how we talked about hydrostatic pressure? These tiny fractures may allow water to leak into the basement due to the upward pressure of a rising water table.

5. Non-Structural Wall Cracks

Despite the fact that a fracture in a concrete basement wall may not indicate a structural weakness, it can nevertheless let water into the basement if lateral pressure is noticed or if your foundation undergoes the usual settling and falling that happens in the months and years after the pour.

6. Weakness in the Mortar Joints

Masonry is sometimes used to build basement foundation walls; this sturdy material can sustain even the largest structures. However, they do have a weak spot that allows water to pass through: the mortar joints that hold the stone blocks together.

7. Wall Porosity

The walls of your basement, whether they are made of poured concrete or masonry blocks and mortar, can serve as a pathway for water seepage. There may be sections where the material is more porous due to inadequate mixing of the components and other flaws like empty gaps or cavities in the block.

Water will be able to naturally enter your basement because to its porosity.

8. Clogged Malfunctioning Gutters

Did you know that for every inch of rain, a typical home on a half-acre lot receives 13,577 gallons of water? That is just too much water for your house to handle!

Channeling the water away from your foundation and your basement is normally not a problem if your downspouts and gutters are in good condition.

However, all that water will significantly affect your basement by soaking the earth and creating that lateral pressure we previously discussed if your rain gutters are clogged, improperly connected, or your downspouts are failing.

9. Interior Leaks

Outside factors are not always to blame for basement leaks. Common indoor leak sources can include:

  • Pipes that need repair
  • Leaky toilets or showers
  • Broken or dripping water heater
  • Leaks in washing machines and dishwashers

Before stepping outside to manage basement leaks, check all indoor sources of leaks because they are the simplest to fix.