A basement needs a proper drainage system to make sure it is kept dry throughout the year. There’s more than one way to install a drainage system and there are also some helpful tasks which can be performed to keep water out of your home. A basement can be sealed on the outside as well as the inside via an exterior weeping tile/French drain system or an interior weeping tile system and a sump pump. In addition, the building should have the proper type of window well drainage and your gutter downspouts should direct the water away from your home’s foundation.
We have been repairing leaky basements here in Toronto for over 30 years and have seen how poor drainage can cause havoc on a home’s foundation. Toronto in built on a series of underground waterways, couple that with the age of the homes and weather, and you have a perfect scenario for basement leaks.
Interior Weeping Tile System
The interior weeping tile system to is designed to stop water from seeping into the basement via cracks in the floor and cove joint, which is the joint between the floor and wall. This system is also effective for water that seeps in through porous concrete walls as well as a masonry wall which has deteriorated or cracked mortar joints. The cracks can be repaired permanently from inside the home by injecting them with an expanding polyurethane substance which seals them. This means no exterior excavating is needed.
In reality, an interior weeping system can’t waterproof a basement, but it will channel the water away so you never see it. The system is installed along the perimeter of the basement walls and it utilizes a plastic pipe with holes punched in it. The pipe is wrapped in a sheet to help keep the dirt out and is installed at a sloping angle. The weeping tile is covered with gravel and the floor is re-poured. A sump pump is installed at the end of the tile to carry water away before it can rises above the footings. If your basement is finished, the interior walls will need to be removed during installation.
Exterior Waterproofing and Weeping Tile Systems
Since the water is on the outside of the home, you can also waterproof a basement from the outside using an exterior weeping tile system along with applying a waterproofing membrane to the outside of your foundation walls.
Water often comes from the soil surrounding the home and enters the basement below the foundation or around it. The soil expands when it absorbs water and some types allow little drainage. The swelling and expansion of the soil can create pressure around the home’s foundation and this can basically push the water through small openings and cracks etc. This type of water seepage needs an exterior waterproofing system to remedy it. Poured concrete foundation walls can sometimes contain porous spots and over time, water can seep through them through these pores and cracks that develop over time.
When it comes to masonry walls, water can seep through weakened or badly-installed mortar joints. Concrete block and bricks can also allow seepage over time and any type of foundation wall can allow water to enter over its top edge. This is especially true if the grade of your lawn slopes toward your home. The solution to all these problems is an exterior waterproofing membrane which acts as a barrier against the water. This means the foundation will need to be excavated to the footings at the faulty wall or for the perimeter of the building. Loose mortar and soil are then cleaned from the wall and it’s prepared for the next step, which is an asphalt-modified polyurethane coating.
Once the coating has cured it will form a seamless barrier around the home’s foundation. This is designed to aid the wall’s structural integrity and keep the water at bay. In some cases, an insulating material and plastic drainage board can be installed over the membrane. The drainage board is designed to add protection to the membrane as well as channeling the water downward. The excavation is backfilled after this and the foundation will be protected against water seepage. If the ground water around the foundation is quite high then an exterior drain tile can be installed with the membrane. This will help take pressure off the walls and drain the water.
The exterior drain tile is installed after the membrane by laying washed gravel at the foot of the excavation. Perforated PVC pipe is then installed along the length of the excavation and drains water or it can be connected to a sump pump. This PVS pipe is typically enclosed in a fabric to keep any dirt out of it. The pipe is covered with more gravel and the area is then backfilled.
In essence, a French drain or curtain drain is a slightly-sloped trench which is filled with gravel as well as a pipe which diverts water away from a home. The drainage system gives water an easy channel to flow through and it drains out at a safe distance from the structure. The drain is typically about two feet deep and about 1.5 feet across.
Window Wells and Downspouts
Since the windows in the basement of your home are typically below ground surface, you should inspect them on a regular basis to make sure they’re not leaking any water. The windows themselves and the window wells should be checked for rotting, cracked or broken frames. In addition, you should look for clogged window well drains and cracked caulking. It’s important that the window wells drain properly so you need to keep all debris out of them whenever possible.
In addition, the downspouts of the home should be properly positioned so they can drain the water a minimum of six feet from the structure’s foundation. If the downspouts are presently draining into the sewer system they can be disconnected and aimed away from your home. You should also try to keep an eight-inch distance between the bottom of your downspout and ground level think about installing window wells. It’s important to check the downspouts for leaks and repair them as needed.
If you’re facing a leaking basement there will be a solution available which can be recommended and installed by an experienced waterproofing contractor. Nusite has been providing residential waterproofing services for over 30 years. We have an A+ BBB rating and are one fo the highest rated contracting companies on Homestars. We offer a free on-site inspection and estimate in Toronto and the surrounding GTA. Contact us today to learn more.
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