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With the harsh winter we had here in Toronto, the Spring melt is looking to be a big one and create a lot of wet basements an the GTA. The busiest season for a waterproofing company is in the Spring when two things happens – The snow starts to melt and the Spring rains come.
So with all of this water trying to get into your basement, how do you fix some of those wet basement problems?
Get Your Mold Prone Valuables Out Of The Basement
Your floors, carpets, walls, furniture and irreplaceable storage items can easily be damaged due to water in your basement and it could result in mold pretty quickly. If you’ve experienced a flooded basement it’s important to determine if it’s just a one-time occurrence or if it’s something that may happen again. You’ll need to decide if you can leave your belongings downstairs once the water has been removed or if you better transfer everything upstairs where it’s safe and dry.
To do this you’ll need to investigate the situation and determine where the water came from and how it entered the basement. If there isn’t any noticeable flooding in your neighbourhood there may be other possible reasons for the water problem.
It could be surface water which is running down your foundation walls or it may be groundwater that has saturated into the soil and is being forced into your basement via hydrostatic pressure. In addition, water from storm sewers may back up and place water in the perimeter foundation drain, which can then leak into your basement. Another cause could be sanitary-sewer water which enters your home due to a clog in the municipal sewer line or the home’s sewer line. This could result in sewer water entering the home through lower-level floor and sink drains.
Each of these causes requires a different solution. For some minor issues you may be able to fix it yourself, but for others you may need to enlist the help of a professional waterproofing company to diagnose the problem and fix it permanently.
Check for Surface Water
If this is the first time your basement has flooded you should look for surface water which could be draining down next to the home’s foundation. If the water is coming in at the exterior foundation only or in just one location then the problems are being caused by surface water. You may notice your gutters are filled with leaves or are overflowing and this is why it’s important to keep them as clean as possible. You can check for problems by checking the gutters after heavy rainfall of about 15 minutes. If the gutters are overflowing then there’s a problem somewhere along the line. The overflow of water can run down to the foundations or erode the soil and may crack the ceilings and/or walls. The best solution for this is to add another downspout which can back up the original downspout if it’s blocked.
If you can’t locate any surface water then the likely source is subsurface groundwater which is under hydrostatic pressure. If the groundwater rises above the floor then the basement can allow water in through holes and cracks. Regardless of where the water is coming from, the best way to control the problem is to install a form of perimeter drain system which can relieve the hydrostatic pressure. The groundwater will be forced into the drain system and into a sump pit which allows a sump pump to discharge it.
Distance of Downspouts
The recommended extension of a downspout is a minimum 10 feet from the home as this will disperse the water far enough from the foundation. Make sure paving doesn’t slope towards the home and if it does, it should be replaced so it slopes away from the house and make sure the pavement is properly sealed. The land surrounding your home should also slope away from it so water drains away. If there are hills which slope towards the home it’s a good idea to contact a waterproofing business. Also, be sure you don’t place any lawn irrigation systems next to your home if possible and don’t activate it if there has already been enough rainfall.
If there’s too much rainwater in a sewer system it can flow back into your home. This can usually be solved by an interior perimeter basement drain system which is then connected to a sump pump. If this doesn’t work it’s recommended that you get help from a professional waterproofing firm.
If water is entering the home through sink and/or floor drains it could be coming from the city’s sanitary sewer system. The system is often overwhelmed during rain storms and it can back up into your home. In addition, a sewer backup may be caused by an individual service line which is plugged with debris. Since this is hard to control it could be a health hazard if waste enters your home. To make sure your individual lines remain clear a backflow preventer can be installed to make sure sewer water doesn’t flow into your home.
A flooded basement can range anywhere between a minor aggravation and a major problem. If you think you need to have a professional waterproofing company investigate your wet basement issues, contact us here for a free estimate and inspection. We service Toronto and the surrounding GTA.
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