clogged rain gutters in toronto

Keeping your basement dry during a rainy Spring can be a challenge, especially here in Toronto.  But here are a few things you can do.

The water entering your basement usually comes in the form of rain. And under normal circumstances, Mother Nature distributes this evenly and there are few problems in your basement. The problem is that a house creates huge catchment areas we call roofs, which discharge concentrated water through downpipes. If you do not manage what happens next, water can flow and settle around your foundation, into the earth and eventual cause leaks in your basement.

The problem often peaks in March and April as Toronto emerges from a frozen winter to face a combination of melting snow and heavy rain showers. Poorly graded gardens become soggy graveyards for lawns and plants. Water pools everywhere, finding its way downwards into your basement where it inflicts more damage. Fortunately, all these problems are avoidable.

Start With the Gutters

Your initial step is to make sure that all the rainwater enters the gutters and flows down through the downpipes. That is because having it splash down over them merely moves the problem. Clean out your eaves troughs thoroughly. If they still overflow, you probably need deeper ones for more capacity.

Lead the Water Away

Now you have the roof water under control, it is time to manage it when it hits the ground. The trick is to lead it away in a controlled fashion. If you are fortunate, the ground may slope naturally and lead to a drain to take it away. If that is the case, adjust the gradient for at least ten feet away from the house so it falls by a total of six inches without any hollows.

Lay rows of concrete leaders from the downpipes to the bottom of the slope. This should do the trick and your basement should stay dry. However if the ground remains waterlogged pave the uppermost three feet. As an added bonus, you will now have a pathway beneath the eaves where you can stay dry.

If You Can’t Get That Right

If the layout of your land does not permit a natural run-off, then your next best option is to lay an underground sewer and connect the downpipes directly to it (check with your local municipality before doing so). In this instance, take care to minimize the risk of blockages by:

  • Fitting leaf-guards on the gutters


  • Selecting an over-sized sewer pipe


  • Installing several rodding points


  • Monitoring the system regularly

If There Are No Gutters

Some houses are built without gutters. In some instances, retrofitting is impossible. In that event, the solution is to dig a v-shaped trench directly beneath the eaves, lay a gently sloping perforated pipe in it, cover this with landscape fabric and fill over with medium gravel chip.

The roof water will filter down into the pipe and flow to the lower end from where you can channel it away to an appropriate discharge point. If the landscape fabric clogs, it is a relatively straightforward matter to replace it.

Between them, the above solutions should keep rainwater away from your basement. If not then you have a more serious groundwater problem and may need to repair or install a exterior weeping tile system along the perimeter of your home. It is always best to consult a basement water-proofer first, to avoid tackling the problem from the wrong end.  If you have questions about waterproofing your basement, you can contact us here.


Did you know that problems with your roof can lead to water damage in your basement?  Not only that, it can also lead to water and mold damage throughout your attic as well as the rest of your home if left untreated.

When it comes to water leaks in the basement, often times it’s the result of a damaged eaves troughs or improper/inadequate water channeling away from the home.  Poor ventilation, improper attic temperatures/insulation and damaged shingles can also lead to the development of mold and water damage in the attic.

Below is an infographic that outlines 5 common roofing problems that if left untreated, can lead to water and mold problems throughout your home.



Have questions about water leaks or mold damage in your Toronto home?  Feel free to contact us, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Leaves fill and block gutter in Toronto homeDid you know that a faulty eavestroughs system can create a leaky basement?

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.

broken run off extension for gutter in Scarborogh home


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.