Water Leaking Into Basement After Heavy Rain 

Have you ever wondered why your basement is always wet after heavy rain? What’s the reason behind it and what can you do to stop it? Many homeowners experience basement water leakage but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. As a serious problem that results in water damage and other basement drainage issues, basement water leakage can be very costly to fix. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into some possible causes of the leak and give you some tips on how you can prevent it from happening.

What causes water leakage in your basement?

First of all, let’s look at some of the possible causes for your basement’s leakage.

1. Hydrostatic Pressure

When the soil around your basement absorbs excessive amounts of water and the pressure from this water, called hydrostatic pressure, begins to act on your basement walls, your basement leaks. Hydrostatic pressure is the most common cause of basement leaks and can result in your walls developing cracks as they move inward. When cracks form, water can enter your basement and cause damage.

2. Window Wells

A window well is a nice basement feature that prevents moisture damage to basement windows that are at or below ground level. However, if your window wells are damaged, not properly installed, or if the drainage is defective, rainwater can build up in them and seep through to your basement.

3. Foundation Cracks

If your basement is staining in a particular area in the wall or floor, chances are there is most probably a crack in that area. These foundation cracks provide an opening through which water can then enter your house. Other than basement leaks, foundation cracks can also cause water damage, mold growth, and structural problems in your basement.

4. Cove Joint

Cove joints are where the basement walls meet the floor, and this is another common cause of basement leakage. With the help of hydrostatic pressure, water builds up underneath the basement and has nowhere else to go but through the very small gap between the walls and the floor.

5. Expansive Soil

Expansive soil is a type of soil that holds an abundance of clay. When rain pours, expansive soil absorbs water and pushes your basement wall inward. When the water in the soil dries up, it moves back and thus also moves the basement wall back outward. The in-and-out movement of the wall can cause it to form cracks, and once rain pours again, you will be left with a wet basement.

6. “Clay Bowl Effect”

Another result of soil holding a huge amount of clay is the “Clay Bowl Effect.” During the construction of your house’s foundation, workers will excavate or dig up soil in the areas where the foundation will go. Once the foundation is built, the soil that was dug up, called backfill, is used to fill up gaps or holes surrounding the house and the untouched soil. However, backfill absorbs more water than the untouched soil, so when rain pours, backfill soaks water that, in turn, can enter the basement through the porous concrete or cracks in the wall.

7. Poor Drainage

If your drainage system is broken or isn’t working properly, then it could be the reason for your basement leakage as rainwater can accumulate around the foundation and water can push its way in.

8. Poor Waterproofing

Waterproofing is one of the best ways to prevent basement leaks. However, if your house was not waterproofed during its construction or has poor waterproofing, then your basement will be no match for heavy downpours as the rainwater will surely find a way in.

9. Gutters and Downspouts

Your gutters and downspout help keep the rainwater away from the soil near your foundation so you won’t have basement leakage, even in the toughest of storms. But, if you have faulty gutters and/or downspouts, rainwater can travel to your foundations, leading to yet another wet basement.

What can you do to stop basement leakage?

Here are some of the best things you can do to prevent further leaky basements.

1. Improve grading or re-grade your yard

One of the primary sources of leaky basements is the absorption of water by the soil that surrounds and pools around the foundations of your house. Positive grading means that the dirt around your house should slope away from the foundations, directing rainwater away from your basement and keeping it nice and dry.

2. Clean or replace gutters

Remember to always keep your gutters cleaned and well-maintained. If you have clogged gutters, rainwater will overflow and make its way toward your foundations, leading to basement leakage. You can also try installing gutter guards as these can help reduce the need for gutter cleaning. Lastly, to be extra safe, you can also consider switching to the seamless gutters as the standard ones are usually leaky.

3. Clean or replace basement windows and window wells

Make sure to clean your window wells from time to time as leaves and dirt can enter and clog them up. When rain arrives, your window wells will fill up with water, which will lead to water leaking into your basement through the windows. That is why, it is also important to replace any broken or damaged basement windows.

4. Cover your window wells and give them good drainage

If the main reason for your basement leakage is your window well, other than cleaning and/or replacing it, you could also add a fitted window well cover. These can ensure no person, animal, dirt, snow, and especially rain can fall into your window wells and cause another basement flood.

5. Install extensions if your downspouts are too short

If your downspouts are dumping rainwater around or near the foundation, that means they are too short and need to be extended. Install extensions so rainwater will be dumped far from your foundation to keep your basement rainwater-free.

6. Install a drain tile system

The drain tile system, also known as a French drain, is also another effective way to keep rainwater away from your foundations. You can install them either on the interior or exterior of your foundation. They help prevent water from building up in the soil surrounding your foundation and then you can say goodbye to leaky basements.

7. Seal cracks in the foundation

If there are any holes or cracks in your foundation, make sure to have them sealed as soon as possible since they are a major reason why water can get into your house, especially when it’s raining and hydrostatic pressure is more powerful.

8. Add professional waterproofing in your basement

Last but not least, hire a professional to waterproof your basement. You can choose either exterior or interior basement waterproofing. Exterior waterproofing is a preventative measure to get water away from your basement or foundation while interior waterproofing reroutes the water that has already seeped down away from your house just before it can enter your basement.

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