Toronto home in Winter

Have you ever wondered why Toronto basements seem so much more prone to leakage than, say, basements in Los Angeles? While there are many factors that go into why a basement leaks, Toronto seems to help in creating the ideal conditions for a leaky basement. As Toronto natives ourselves (and basement experts), we’ve pondered this question and came up with five main reasons:

Toronto home in Winter

 1) Weather

As you can probably guess, our wonderful weather is the number one factor that creates opportunities for basements to leak.  In the Spring and Fall we get lots of rain and in the winter we get lots of snow and ice that freezes, thaws, and melts over time causing buildup around foundations. In other words, Toronto basements leak because the soil surrounding the foundation and the walls of the basement become overly saturated.  The leaks aren’t as noticeable when the weather is dry, but soil packed deep into the ground can take months to dry up.

 

2) Age

Toronto is an older city, which means that many houses have been constructed several decades ago. Old Toronto basements weren’t intended to be living spaces and many of them are actually less than 5 feet high! While there is no arguing that older homes are oozing with character and charm, we’ve found that older foundations are often poorly constructed with thin walls and multiple cracks in the foundation. This, unfortunately, means that inadequate drainage outside can easily penetrate floors and walls, causing water damage and annoying leaks.

 

 

3) Backed-Up Sewer Pipes

Many older Canadian homes still have storm water run-offs connected to their sewer lines. The problem often presents itself with an overflowing toilet, which can mean that it is necessary to modify the drainage system. While this usually affects toilets, other fixtures such as tubs and showers can also be involved.

 

4) Water

Toronto is built on an advanced river system, with lots of water under the city with hundreds of hidden rivers running under it.  It’s a water rich area, and in some areas rising water tables could be the problem causing basements to leak.  While the water table below a home may be several meters below the foundation, that doesn’t mean that it won’t cause water problems in the basement.  However, water doesn’t always seep down consistently. The degree of existing saturation, the permeability of the strata, and the presence of impermeable rock are factors that affect water penetration.

 

5) Gutter System

Lastly, gutter systems often cause Toronto basements to leak. Since old and poorly installed gutters tend to promote pooling water, it’s not uncommon to find a build-up of standing water around the foundation of your home. With nowhere else to go, the water will leak into the basement, eventually penetrating the walls and causing serious damage.  Lets face it, here in Toronto the gutters on our home take a beating during the course of the year.

 

Basements leak for many reasons 

There are numerous reasons that Toronto basements are prone to leaking, but weather, age of the home, backed-up sewer pipes, water, and gutter system issues are usually the main culprits. The good news is that you are not alone in this and there are many ways to fix the leaking issue and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Have a question about a basement leak in your home?  Feel free to contact us for a free in-home estimate and inspection.

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