Causes of Water Damage

Sometimes, the source of water in your basement is obvious. If you’ve got a broken or leaking basement window or a busted pipe, the source of your issue is fairly clear. Most of the time, however, wet basements just are, so finding the cause is much more difficult than pointing to your plumbing. Typically, we can trace a wet basement to one of four common causes.

Foundation Cracks

Many homeowners will deal with some level of foundation cracking or settling in their lifetime. Cracked or settling foundations are bad for more than just the structural integrity of your home—they also make an easy pathway for water to enter your basement. Water always flows through the easiest path, and a foundation crack or bowed basement wall opens up an easy path for water to flow downward and into your basement. Eventually, this can lead to floor leaks, wall leaks, pooling water, and even full basement flooding if left untreated.

Hydrostatic Pressure

After the wet season or an extremely heavy rain, water begins to settle into the soil around your home. Because this soil is not as compacted due to it being disturbed when your foundation was built, this soil has more room to soak up water. This leads to what’s sometimes known as the “bowl effect,” where water in your yard flows down and settles near your foundation walls. That excess water eventually starts to create pressure—known as hydrostatic pressure—on the walls of your foundation. Over time, water will push through the pores of your concrete foundation and make its way into your basement.

Poor Exterior Water Management 

Not paying attention to how you’re dealing with water outside is a big reason it gets inside. Your gutters and downspouts are a huge culprit, and whether they’re overflowing or your downspouts are too short, they’re not doing their job. The key is to navigate water as far away from your home as possible. You might need a new retaining wall to help with a yard that slopes toward the house as well, because improperly channeled water will settle near your foundation and lead to increasing hydrostatic pressure. 

Roof Leaks

A leak in your roof doesn’t stop in your attic! Water always travels down, and whether it goes through your walls or ceiling, it will eventually make its way to the basement. If water is traveling through your walls it can be especially dangerous because there’s a chance it can compromise your electrical work.

Steps For Addressing Water In The Basement

Keep Yourself Safe

If your basement is flooded, don’t plug in or use any electrical devices. Handling electricity while standing in pooling water can lead to electrical shock or, in serious cases, electrocution.

Wear Protective Gear

Rubber boots are a great investment if your basement floods consistently. They’ll keep you safe in the event that an electrical issue arises. Never walk into a flooded basement with bare feet or flip flops as they don’t provide the necessary protection. If you smell heavy, musty odors, a mask or face covering can also help, because it will protect you from inhaling dangerous mold spores.

Pump Out Water Immediately

Leaving water to sit attracts mold and pests. Using a wet-dry vacuum, suck out as much water as possible when your basement is flooded. If you don’t have access to one, you may need to call a plumber or another professional. A dehumidifier can help you get rid of moisture the wet-dry vacuum can’t get. Make sure to throw away items that are too damaged to save and leave everything else to dry if possible.

Call American Foundation & Waterproofing

If you’re consistently dealing with a wet or flooding basement, call us for a free estimate on your basement waterproofing project. Our team can design a plan to keep your basement dry and usable for years to come, restoring your space for good.