Unfortunately, there are several reasons you may find water leaking into your basement and you should treat them all seriously as the problem will need to be rectified sooner rather than later. Here in Toronto, we have the perfect mix of older homes and extreme weather conditions, which can cause a foundation to leak over time. Since real estate is at a premium in Toronto, many homeowners would love to finish their basement to increase their living space without expanding into their already cramped backyards or going through the red-tape of adding an addition to their home.
We’ll take a look at the most common causes of a leaky basement and what can be done about them.
Top of the foundation wall
Water can often find its way into the basement over the top of the basement/foundation wall if rainwater happens to drain towards the home instead of away from it. This is common in older homes with a poor drainage design. Be sure your gutter system works well and the downspouts are long enough to lead the water away from the house. In some instances, the soil will settle near a home and this results in low spots where water can seep through and into the basement.
Leaking window wells
Window wells are decorative as well as practical as they’re designed to keep water and soil away from your ground level and basement windows. They can drain rain and ground water away when needed, but can sometimes fail to do the job properly. Window wells can sometimes fill with rainwater if your gutters are obstructed as the water will overflow from the roof. Be sure the windows and window wells are properly installed and the gutters are clear. The window wells should have a drainage system of their own which works hand in hand with the foundation drain.
Cracks in the basement wall
Basement wall cracks can be serious as you need to find out why the wall cracked in the first place. A band-aid solution isn’t recommended as further cracks may appear. Wall cracks are often caused by pressure which has built up at the bottom of the wall. Water can then be pushed through existing cracks and into the basement or it could create new cracks.
Tie rod leaks
Many older homes have steel rods placed in them during construction. When the walls have been built the rods are typically removed, but small holes are left behind.
Leaky sewer pipe
Some sewer pipe leaks can be very slow and may be hard to detect unless you see a stain on the wall or ceiling below the drain. In some cases, you may also see mold below the drain.
Leaking mortar joints
Some basement walls are made of wood, brick, cinder block or stone instead of concrete. These walls use mortar to hold the blocks in place and the mortar may eventually deteriorate over the years. If this happens, water can slowly leak through it.
Cracks in the floor
The weight of ground water can cause hydrostatic pressure and this can lead to cracks in your basement floor as well as structural damage. The hydrostatic pressure is a result of poor drainage as well as soil, clay and the pressure can push against your foundation. The water needs somewhere to go and can lead to cracks in the floor. The pressure builds as more water collects and becomes heavier.
If you depend on a sump pump be aware that these devices may fail due to things such as power failures, bad switches, improper installation, lack of maintenance and clogged or even frozen lines. This can be a problem if you don’t have a backup pump.
Clogged floor drain
A floor drain can clog and water can back up through the homes’ drainage system. If your local municipal drain is clogged you don’t really have any control over it and that’s why a waterproofing system in recommended.
Obstructed drain tile
Weeping drain tiles go around the perimeter of a basement in many newer homes. It’s generally constructed with plastic piping which is perforated and then wrapped in a sock-type of cloth. It’s surrounded by gravel and installed placed at the base of the home’s foundation walls. However, it can sometimes be obstructed by tree roots even though precautions are taking against it.
What’s causing your basement leak?
These are some ways a basement can leak and if the problem isn’t solved it can lead to major damage. A proper drainage system is needed to help fight off basement leaks and this is sometimes a simple solution and at other times it can be a big task. Nusite Waterproofing has been providing basement waterproofing and foundation repairs services in Toronto for over 30 years. We offer a free in-home written estimate and inspection. Contact us today to schedule you estimate.