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How To Determine The Cause Of A Leaky Basement

Many houses are faced with leaky basements as a result of faulty foundations. However, sometimes it may not be a foundation problem; basements can be susceptible to water leaks due to natural circumstances. For example, we cannot control the weather. If the rain comes, we have to deal with it. Even if you may have prepared for the rains by staying indoors where you are safe and dry, locking your windows and every other place where rain could enter, this does not mean that every part of your home is well-protected. If you have a leaky basement, it can affect almost everything, from the safety of your home to your health. Leaks often start gradually and become worse over time. These slab leaks are common occurrences due to broken underground pipes, which could be the inflow or outflow pipes that carry water in and out of your residence.

Causes of basement leaks

One of the biggest concerns for homeowners is leaking basements. However, it is crucial to know the causes of these leaks to determine what solution is the best fit. Here are a few reasons why basement leaks occur;

Cracks in the basement wall; these cracks can mean a variety of problems. It is common for water to enter the basement through cracks in the floor or walls. Moisture accumulates outside the basement walls in the soil; this creates pressure on the wall. This moisture then needs an escape route and finds the cracks in your basement floor and wall. 

Improper drainage of gutters and window wells

if your gutters and window wells are not properly, they drain too close to your house. As water drains beside your foundation, it can create hydrostatic pressure, forcing water into your basement.

Sump Pump Is Not Working Correctly

Sump pumps keep water out and many basements have this device. It is important to check your sump pump to ensure it is working correctly to avoid flooding.

Poor grading

Many people may not know that grading plays a significant role in the foundation of a home. The ground around the foundation must be sloping away from the building, not towards it. If your grading is sloping towards your building, you may need to add some dirt that slopes away, protecting your basement.

The best way to stop water from entering your basement is to prevent it from seeping into the soil around your home. First, ensure that your gutter system is in good working condition and channels rainwater safely away from your home.

Here are some ways to detect some signs of a leaky basement;

  1. Check for moisture; the first thing to look out for is moisture. Moisture comes in cracks around where your basement meets the floor. If you notice these cracks, do not neglect them, as it is a good sign that your basement has a leak. Therefore, if it is not handled correctly, these cracks will cause more harm to the strength of the building’s foundation.
  2. Check the basement walls; it is easy to spot a leak from the way your wall looks. If you notice a white or chalky substance, then you have efflorescence. The phenomenon occurs when the water enters your foundation wall and leeches out lime from the wall leaving a white chalky residue. In addition, you could also notice a brown discoloration that may look like acid damage. This occurs when water from outside leaks into your basement and carries acid from the soil. This acid causes discoloration and could cause the wall to deteriorate.
  3. Check for mold; mold is one of the most hazardous effects of a leaking basement. Mold exposure has been linked to several health problems. Some types of mold and fungi produce mycotoxins pores in the air which can be inhaled. In most cases, mold spores weaken the immune system so that one becomes vulnerable to many diseases. The extent to which mold will negatively affect your health will depend on how much one is exposed to them. That is to say, the longer you stay in a moldy apartment and breathe in mold spores, the higher the risks.

A basement leak may look neglectable but can potentially ruin a home altogether. Once you have determined that you have a leak, don’t panic. Instead, you need to consult with a waterproofing expert to examine your basement, evaluate the extent of the damage, and provide the best solutions. Leaving the problem without solving it will cause greater problems, leading to greater costs. So, it is better to nip it in the bud as early as possible.