Basement leaks can be caused by many factors which can cause not only foundation damage but can cause indoor air quality issues for certain people. The nuisance of water not only can ruin a finished basement, but also can ruin great storage space if constant dampness and water occur after heavy rains. We are going to break down why basement leak and things you can do on your own before you hire a professional to take care of the problem. Sometimes little fixes a homeowner can do can fix some or all of the water problems in his or her basement.
Every basement is different based on foundation type, soil type, grading, yard drainage, gutters and downspouts and slope of the yard. Let break down each of these which can help a homeowner understand what the problem(s) could be.
Foundation types are simply what your foundation is made of. There are 3 basic foundation types which are stone foundations, block wall foundation and poured concrete foundation. Stone foundation are generally older homes in which the stone was sometimes used from the property or brought in. The walls are comprised of a thickness of 16 to 24 inches wide and generally are built off the dirt with no footing. In between the stones could be dirt, dirt and lime mixture or mortar. Generally, in my area of the Philadelphia region, most stone wall foundations are stone and dirt with parging on the inside of the wall which is a thin layer of cement. These foundations when drainage is good around the property last for centuries. But they must be maintained properly to avoid the dirt from coming out between the stones.
The block wall foundation was popular from the 1940’ all the way up to today are blocks that are stacked with mortar in between them. The outside face is normally damp proofed with tar and sometimes a drain tile system can be found inside the basement under the slab. Normally when this type of foundation was built, a drain tile system was not required, and most builders skipped this step because it was not code. Unfortunately block walls tend to develop water issues after 20 to 25 years. The damp proofing is not working anymore and the soil around the home after frost and freeze cycles have produced hair line cracks in the block which allows water into the block wall cells. Many people coat the interior walls with waterproofing paint which can causes more problems in the long run because the acidic water rots out the walls that are holding water. Block walls that are holding water need to be drained by installing a subfloor pressure relief system. The last and best foundation type is poured concrete walls. Strong and tend to hold up very well from lateral pressure. Normally most homes that are poured concrete are newer homes in which the builder installed a drainage system inside or outside the foundation footing which drains to a sump pump. Cracks are the issue with poured walls in which water can come thru hair line cracks causing a wet basement floor.
Soil is a big factor for drainage around your foundation. Depending on where you are located, homeowners should know what type of soil is around the area. In my area there is clay, clay loam, rock, sand, and mixture of loams. Each type of soil drains differently which is considered perk. The key to why some basements drain well and some have a horrible hydrostatic pressure problem is the soil down at the footing level. Every house sits in a bowl. If the bowl does not drain fast enough, water will start to push up under the slab and will generally come in where the wall meets the floor or what is called the cove. This is where a professional should be hired to install a subfloor pressure relief system to eliminate the pressure under the interior slab.
Grading and Yard drainage go hand in hand. Make sure water is not ponding around your house. Have your drainage flowing away from your foundation if possible. Add soil where needed. If you need a swale or exterior surface French drain to move water, try this first. Getting rid of water around your house is a no brainer and can be handled by homeowners most of the time. IF to much water and to much land, call a professional. Del-Val Basement Waterproofing does exterior drainage work if you are looking for this type of solution.
Lastly would be gutters and downspouts. Keep your gutters clean of debris. A clogged gutter can flood a basement out. Check your gutters for proper pitch and make sure they are attached to the fascia properly. Downspouts should be directed away from the foundation by at least 6 feet. Gutters and downspouts should be maintained yearly to keep the flow of thousands and thousands of gallons of water away from your foundation.
The little things homeowners can do are as follows. 1. Keep gutters clean and downspouts pointed away from foundation by at least 6 feet. 2. Grade your property to keep water from coming towards your foundation. IF land is flat, add more soil around the first 2 to 3 feet if you have enough height of wall to achieve this. 3. Look for cracks in walls and get repaired ASAP. A crack occurred from some type of movement or pressure that occurred. If you’re not sure, call us for a free inspection of your foundation. 4. Clean up water asap if water has entered the house. Standing water can cause mold growth within 24 to 48 hours. Clean up water and use a disinfectant afterwards. IF extraction is needed call a professional restoration company to come to your home. Contact Del-Val Basement Waterproofing to prevent or fix water, structural or mold issues that have gotten out of control. We have thousands of satisfied customers thru out the Delaware Valley area that have placed trust in us to come up with the best solution at an affordable price. We believe that every customer should have a dry, health and safe foundation for years to come.
Contact us by calling 610-956-9569 for a free inspection and estimate.