Understanding Toronto’s Waterways And Leaky Basements

When your basement leaks you may panic.  Most people just want the water out.  Unfortunately, living in the Toronto area may mean you have a higher chance of having one of those leaky basements.

Who would think that all those curvy roads and dead end streets could have something to do with a basement leak?  Unless you’ve spent some time learning the geography of Toronto you may not understand the correlation between your basement leak and the roadways of your surroundings.

Underground river in Toronto

Toronto Waterway History

Many years ago Toronto was filled with waterways.  They gradually became quite invisible, filled with developments of new homes and businesses and diverted into sewer systems.  If you lifted a sewer manhole cover on one of the streets downtown you might be surprised to hear the sound of rushing water.  Many years ago, in the latter half of the 1900’s, Toronto residents and officials agreed that there was a need for better sanitation as well as clean drinking water.  The city built water filtration plants and a sewer system, using those old waterways.  It only made sense then, seemingly an affordable way to improve Toronto.  The plants and system are the reason that many of those old waterways are no longer seen.  There are actually a group of people working together to find the lost waterways, the pathways that the ice age created.

While these hidden and “lost” waterways are fascinating, interesting to explore and a great part of Toronto’s history they may mean a leaky basement in your future.

Toronto rivers under the city

Risk of Basement Leaking Rises

Basements leak for a few reasons; all of them include water close to the foundation of your home.  For some local residents those hidden waterways are actually beside or under the foundation of their home meaning they have a “high” water table.  This high water table increases the chance of your basement leaking and leaking often.  For some homeowners, leaking may only occur when the area is over saturated with rains, almost flood like conditions.  If you’re one of those homeowners living within distance of a hidden waterway or even on top of one, it doesn’t take a flood to make your basement leak.  If you live among the paths of these waterways, the odds that your basement will eventually flood are incrementally higher.  Basement leaks never get better on their own.

What to Look For

If you see leaking at the base of the basement wall (i.e., where the wall and floor meet) or if you basement leaks often those waterways may be contributing to those leaks.  If you have block walls in your basement is water may actually be wicking in through those blocks.  Cement blocks are porous and when the blocks fill up the water has no place to go but in the house.  If you pull storage items or boxes away from the wall and see stains on the wall or on the items the odds that your basement is leaking are pretty good.  A normal basement leak typically occurs when the ground is over saturated.  Most homeowners only have to worry during and after periods of heavy rain.  Most Toronto residents worry pretty frequently.

The Don Valley river in Toronto

The Cost

Long term leaks damage your home.  Basements often hold many storage items and in some cases memories of days gone by.  Memories can’t be replaced and those leaks can destroy them forever.  Not only can water cause damage to your items it can also damage the structure of your home.  Another way water can take a toll is on your health.  Mold can be hazardous to your help in certain situations and if you have allergies, you know the toll it takes.

What to Do

The situation is not hopeless!  There are basement waterproofing options that provide a permanent solution to the problem.  When you have your basement repaired by a contractor whose expertise is waterproofing they are experienced in dealing with your situation.  Not only do they provide a permanent solution, they are able to provide long term warranties.  As always, you want to hire an expert.  Your basement waterproofing professional should have a business history, more than a few years, they should be insured and they should have references.

A Dry Basement

The benefit of having a dry basement can’t be underrated.  You’ll be adding usable space to your home.  Once you’ve solved those nagging basement leaks you can feel confident in finishing your basement and enjoy your basement, even if you’re sitting on top of one of our wonderful, historic waterways!

Have questions about your leaky basement?  If you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA, give Nusite a call and schedule your free inspection and estimate today.


image credit



The following two tabs change content below.
NuSite Group is a Toronto based basement waterproofing and foundation repair company that specializes in Basement Waterproofing, Basement Lowering, and Foundation Repairs. Call us today at 416-622-7000 or 905-731-1228 for a free in-home estimate and inspection.

Leave a reply

Why choose nusite for your next waterproofing project





Customer Testimonials

Interested in working with us? Check out some of our customer testimonials below and find more on Homestars. We are one of the highest rated basement waterproofing companies in Toronto

Mark Lipton - Homestars Review

Basement Waterproofing

Our basement leaked! Of course . . . we bought a 100 year old house! But my office needed to be in the basement permanently. I interviewed 10 different companies until we decided on the Steinbergs and their crew at Nu-Site! They are professional, reliable, courteous, honest, and they really make an effort to communicate with the client about every step of the process.

Sara Jack - Homestars Review

Foundation and Waterproofing Repairs

After several years of chronic leaks, we decided to have our basement waterproofed once and for all. The team over at Nusite was professional, answered my questions during the project and stayed within their quoted price....which is always a concern for me when working with contractors. Great job overall

Joshua Persaud - Yellowpages Review

Basement Waterproofing

Had several cracks in my basement wall and they would leak whenever we had a heavy rain. It started about a year and a half ago and seems to have gotten worse over the past 6 months. I tried having my neighbor seal it, but it started leaking again within a few weeks. Called several waterproofing companies and got several quotes. Finally went with Nusite contractors for the job. They gave a reasonable quote and I liked the guy that came by for the estimate. They stayed within budget and cleaned up before they left. It's been almost 3 months now and it seems to be working great.