Why the Heck Is My Basement Leaking?

If you’ve struggled with a leaking basement, then you know how frustrating it can be. What you might not know is what causes the leaking in the first place. After all, the builders didn’t make a house with the intention of letting water into the basement, did they?

Probably not. While some older homes with brick-walled basements were constructed to allow moisture in and back out, homes shouldn’t have standing water downstairs. So when your home does spring a leaking, it’s only natural to wonder what caused the problem in the first place.

Here’s a review of the five common causes of basement leaking and what you can do about it.

1. Rain and Melting Snow Pooling Next to Your House

Many homeowners simply don’t know how important proper drainage is for protecting their home. If rainwater or melting snow collects around the foundation, expect to find water in the basement too. While improper landscaping — sloping toward your home rather than away from it — can worsen this problem, often it simply comes down to poor gutter maintenance.

We’ve written before about the importance of keeping your gutters clean and in good working order. Likewise, you want to make sure that your downspouts drain away from your house — downspout extensions will divert water a safe distance away, protecting your basement from excess moisture.

2. Cracks in the Foundation or Around Windows and Doors

Unfortunately, masonry and concrete aren’t damage-proof. Settling can cause small cracks, and any kind of impact can also cause damage. In the case of small cracks around windows and doors, a professional can usually spot them and make quick work of repairing them — oftentimes it’s just a matter of properly sealing or caulking them with an appropriate compound.

Cracks in concrete and masonry walls and foundations are a more serious matter. Unfortunately, these problems will only get worse over time, making it important to have them inspected by a professional before the damage gets severe enough that repair becomes prohibitively expensive. If you find yourself in this situation, remember that Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting offers free quotes — just give us a call at 440-834-8252 or fill out our contact form to schedule one for your home.

3. Sump Pump Problems

Many homes use a sump pump to keep excess water from collecting in the basement. These pumps will keep the groundwater levels steady, so that pressure doesn’t force that water into your basement.

If you have a sump pump but still find water in your basement, you may need to repair or replace your pump. While it may simply require servicing, it may also be inadequate for the amount of groundwater present on your property. This is not a place to pinch pennies — a good sump pump is an investment, and when properly installed and maintained it will keep your basement dry for years to come.

4. Plumbing Problems

One of the most overlooked causes of water in the basement is faulty plumbing. Often we think that the problem has to be water forcing its way into the home, ignoring the fact that we intentionally run water through our homes every day! Pipes and joints can leak or crack. Blockages can force water out of the pipes. If not properly insulated, pipes can freeze — even bursting and flooding your basement.

If you have an internal basement wall that seems to leak, a plumbing problem may be the culprit. Again, the best way to know for sure is to consult with a professional who will give you an idea of the best way to resolve the problem.

5. Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is the most common cause of basement leaks. So what is it? Simply put, the soil around your house absorbs water. Eventually, it absorbs so much water that the pressure it exerts against your basement walls forces water into your home.

Other problems, like an inadequate sump pump or clogged gutters, can worsen this problem. In other cases, it just seems to happen out of nowhere. Over time this can create more damage, letting more water into your home and destroying your basement.

With leaks caused by hydrostatic pressure you absolutely want to call in a professional as soon as possible. Sometimes making adjustments to your gutters or sump pump can help slow or reduce leaks, but basement waterproofing is the best long-term solution. There are different waterproofing options available, and the professionals at Ray Arnold Masonry & General Contracting can help you determine the best course of action to keep your basement dry and protect your home.

Schedule a Free Quote Today

It can be difficult to determine why your basement is leaking. Sometimes a simple adjustment is all it takes to fix the problem. Other issues may require more labor-intensive solutions. A professional assessment will help you determine the best course of action.

If you have a leak in your basement, don’t hesitate and let it get worse. Call us today at 440-834-8252 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free quote from one of our experienced professionals. We look forward to helping you keep your basement warm and dry.