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6 Reasons Why Your Basement May Have Leaks


Your basement always remains in the shadows of your living room, not being thought of until something goes wrong or you need to store something in it. With that being said, the basement is one of the most neglected areas of your home. However, structurally, it is an essential part of your home because it is the lowest point of the foundation. It’s the base of the building, and without it being robust, your house would not be able to stand. However, with neglect comes the possibility of damage to your basement that can potentially be disastrous.

One of the many things that can cause a basement to leak is failing waterproofing, among many other reasons. If your basement starts leaking, it’s essential to know why it’s happening and what you can do to fix it. Enlisted are a few common reasons why your basement might be leaking, along with a few tips to help you determine the issue and what to do about it. But first, let’s discuss the three primary sources of basement moisture.

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1. Sewer Pipe Leaking:

Although this isn’t a part of the basement waterproofing system, there is a possibility that a sewer pipe from your home could be leaking water into your wet basement. There is a line meant to carry away excess water and waste from your home, and the line may have been damaged at some point. This damage could be from a shift in the soil, allowing debris to break through, or it could be a crack caused by age. If you think this could be the case, you should check for wetness on the basement floor and, if you find any, smell the moisture to see if it has a sewage odour. If it does, then you will need to call a plumber to fix the problem.

Further, you can also look out for mould forming around the walls, along with small black spots on the basement floor. These spots are firm and black and indicate sewage, often referred to as “Black Mould”. It’s important to note that these spots will not go away even if you clean them and continue to spread if the source of the problem is not addressed.

2. Sump Pump Failure:

Among the most neglected parts of a basement waterproofing system is the sump pump. Even though it’s the most critical part of a basement system, it is also one of the most overlooked. The sump pump is a mechanism that pumps away excess water from your basement during any heavy rainfall. It usually sits at the lowest point of your basement with a pipe leading into the ground or out a window to drain water. The sump pump may seem very simple, but it is crucial to the overall success of your waterproofing system. If it fails to work correctly and can’t handle water build-up, then you could have significant issues on your hands.

For instance, if water can enter the basement floor or walls through your drainage system, then it will not only be near impossible to dry out the basement floor or basement walls, but you may also experience some mould formation in the process. So if the basement begins to flood, then it’s essential to check the sump pump. If it’s not working or is noisy, then there could be a few causes. Firstly, if the pump is old, it may be simply broken and need to be replaced. However, it could also just be that it is clogged up with debris. In either case, call in for professional assistance.

3. Floor & Wall Joint Leakage:

As the walls and floor are the essential parts of your basement waterproofing system, you should check the walls and floors frequently for leaks, especially when you notice that the floor or basement walls start to get wet or damp. It may be due to a leaking plumbing pipe, or it may be due to a cracked pipe. To identify the source of the leak, you need to check the walls of your basement first. This inspection is because water does not flow uphill as much as it will flow downhill. So if your basement floor starts to get wet, then it’s more likely that it’s coming from a leak in the walls.

One quick way to identify whether a wall is leaking is by scratching the wall’s surface with your fingernail. If there’s a leak in that spot, then your fingernail will leave a mark. This way, you can trace where the leak is forming. Check the entire wall for these marks, and if you find any, it will indicate where you should start looking for the source of the leak. If you can’t find a leak on the walls, then you should check your floor as water can also leak into your basement from above through faulty plumbing or cracks in the walls. To do this, place a bucket underneath the affected area and check again after 24 hours. If the bucket has collected water, then there is a leak that needs to be repaired. A plumber may be necessary to fix the leaky basement, so make sure to get a plumber out as soon as possible if you see any leaks forming.

4. Plugged Drain Tile:

You don’t need to be a plumber to know that a plugged drain is terrible news, but it’s also something that many people ignore. Basement waterproofing systems rely on drain tile to carry excess water away from your basement. This excess water is why it’s so important to make sure they are working correctly. If they’re not, you will end up with wet and soggy floors and walls, leading to mould and the spread of disease.

In some cases, the problem can come from the drain tile located at the lowest point of your home. These drain tiles should be clear of debris and clogs to ensure that the water can exit freely. If the drain tile gets clogged, water will continue to build up, and this water pressure may eventually cause water to seep through the basement floor. The water may be coming from a shower, a laundry machine, a washing machine, or the toilet. It’s best to check these areas for blockages or slow drains because you’ll end up with a flooded basement if you don’t. The worst-case scenario is that the blockage leads to sewage backup into your basement. In case you can’t clear the blockage yourself, call a professional plumber.

5. Ineffective Grading:

When you had your basement waterproofed, the contractor will have graded your yard to ensure that your home’s foundation is as strong as possible. This grading allows water will run off of your foundation and away from the house when it rains. However, if you haven’t kept up with the grading of your yard, then there’s a chance that water will still be able to seep in through the ground and into your basement. You can grade your yard yourself by ensuring that the grade of your lawn slopes away from the house.

There should also be a drainage swale leading away from your home’s foundation where water can runoff. If there is a high-grade close to your home, then water may still be able to run through the ground and into your basement. If you think this may be the case, you need to check where water is entering your basement. If it’s coming from under the foundation of your home, then it may be an issue with your grading, and you may need to re-grade your yard.

6. Damaged Sub-slab Drains:

The sub-slab drain system is a crucial part of your basement waterproofing services. It is the part of the drainage system that takes care of the wetness in your basement. Since it sits underneath the basement floor, then it is also called a crawl space drain. It catches any excess water from the bottom and channels it into the outside of your home. There the water can get evaporated into the air or carried away by the rain.

You must take care of this part of your basement waterproofing system, as this drain could potentially cause some significant issues for you if it’s not working correctly. If your sub-slab drain is working, then you shouldn’t have any problem with getting wetness in your basement. However, water can get underneath your basement floor and into your wall cavities if it’s not working. This cavity means that the water from your feet can seep into other parts of your home and cause mould to grow in these areas.

It’s essential to regularly check to see if there is water seeping in through your sub-slab drain. To do this, look for dampness around the perimeter of your basement floor. Also, check your basement floor for any wetness or water pooling. If there is water pooling, then you may have some problems with your drain. You should then call in a plumber to assess the issue as this water could be caused by several points. Clogged drain, it could be too small, or your contractor could have improperly installed it.