In a perfect world, water would flow smoothly off roofs into gently sloping gutters (or eavestroughs as us Canadians sometimes call them). From there, it would pass down pipes into drains, or runoffs that lead it safely away. Direct beneath the gutters lie the outside walls of cellars. If the system fails, most of what the roof sheds could permeate down and flood your basement.
Root Causes of the Problem
Basement waterproofing is expensive, especially when retrofitted after the fact. It’s far better to attend to contributory problems than to try to stem the consequences. The following are the main things to look out for. If the problem persists, then you may need specialist advice.
WARNING – Do not attempt to scale a ladder or climb a roof without assistance. It’s a long way to the ground, and you might invalidate your insurance.
Blocked Gutters – The biggest single problem with gutters is that you can’t look into them directly, without going up a ladder or climbing onto a roof. Moss can build up quicker than you think, as may leaves and windblown dirt. A rubber ball can speed the process up. In winter, an ice dam can rapidly block them. In no time at all, your gutter could start looking like a garden. When this happens, it’s time to call assistance in.
Broken Gutters – Gutters don’t last forever. A bracket can snap off in a storm causing them to sag or crack. Older iron or plastic ones can rust through or decay. When this happens, they do the opposite of what’s intended. They soak the foundations of your home and flood the basement. If this happens, then you need new gutters.
Downpipes – These are your next port of call, as they can easily become blocked by debris flowing through the eavestroughs. This is especially likely at the angled points at top and bottom. In this case, you can often clear them with a hosepipe. If not, then you need to have then removed, cleared and replaced.
Runoffs – After you’ve attended to all these issues you should have rainwater flowing through the downpipes every time it rains. Aiming this at a single point on the ground erodes foundations and is about the worst thing any basement wants. The solution is simple. Order in some concrete runoffs, and lead the rainwater safely far away.
If This Doesn’t Work
You probably clicked on the link to this article because you have a leaky basement, and were wondering whether your eavestroughs were to blame. If they were, then the above advice should get you well on the way to solving it. As you can see, with a few fixes and some regular maintenance you can keep runoff rain water away from your home, and out of your basement.
If the root of your leaky basement isn’t your eavestroughs, then your problem could be more deep-seated. Uncontrolled underground water can play havoc with the structure of your home and basement.If you have any questions about water entering your basement, feel free to contact us, we’re happy to answer any questions.