Basement Leaks; Causes And Prevention

One of the most common problems found in households is the basement leakage. Water is the number one enemy of basements since it is responsible for most problems found in them and could result in great havoc. A basement leak will reduce the value of a home and if we did not give proper attention to it, this will lead to costly repairs on progress. There are two major factors to consider when you are dealing with basement leaks; causes of leaks and sources of leaks. The causes of leaks usually are natural occurrences that take place outside the basement whereas another one generally flaws or disruptions in the foundation’s structure.

Causes of basement leaks

The most common cause of basement leaks is pressure created by the water in the soil surrounding the foundation that occurs in two forms, that are hydrostatic pressure and lateral pressure.

Hydrostatic pressure – If the basement surrounding soil is saturated with water, there might be tens of thousands of pounds of hydrostatic pressure against the foundation. With significant pressure, it’s likely that water will find a way of opening even in the smallest crack or gap in the basement.

Lateral pressure – It happens when the soil surroundings at the building expand and increase the pressure against the foundation. When the building was built the soil needed to be excavated and it should be backfilled. The excavated looser soil absorb more water and it increases, the soil expands and places pressure on the walls of the foundation and eventually cause a crack.

Sources of basement leaks

Listed below are several sources of basement leaks:-

Floor cracks- In proper connection of floor joists to the foundation walls lead to forming floor cracks.

Porous concrete or masonry- Poorly mixed concrete can become a porous spot and allow water to seep through its surface.

Foundation walls- Gaps where the foundation walls meet the above-ground structure lead to seepage.

Window wells- Basement window that is below ground level would decay much faster, it will full of dirt and leaves that can allow water to leak through the windows and into the basement.

Cove Joint- A cove joint is where the foundation walls meet the cement floor. Water can seep in through the cove joint when hydrostatic pressure increases.

Wall Cracks- Non-structural wall cracks frequently occur when poured concrete settles or by lateral pressure.

Mortar Joints- It is the area filled with mortar between concrete bricks or blocks. Unfortunately, mortar is a porous material that allows water to seep through, it is also an area that can crack easily.

Preventions of basement leaks

  •         To prevent the Hydrostatic pressure installing a drain tile, the system of perforated pipe installed under the basement floor, it allows the groundwater to somewhere else to go and prevents the water from putting pressure under the floor. The interior drain tile system is also the remedy for Floor cracks and Cove joints.
  •         Preventing Lateral pressure by using sand and loam at the land surrounding of foundation might remove the water more efficiently.
  •         The best solution to prevent both Foundation walls and Porous concrete or masonry is to install an exterior waterproofing membrane.
  •         Filling the Wall crack with a concrete seal is generally the best way to solve the problem.
  •         To repairing Mortar joints install an interior drain tile system and add vapor barriers to the walls.
  •         To solve the problem of the window well, if there was a drain solution, it may be as easy as cleaning or replacing the drain. Consider installing one if it doesn’t have a drain and directing the water to drain tile which can direct it away from your foundation.
  •         If the leak could be from window well liner, it can be separated and create a gap between the foundation wall and window well. It can be reattached in some cases.

Basement leaking can be a significant problem in many buildings. However, with good planning and suitable caring, it need not be a major problem and can permanently avoided and prevented as soon as detected.

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