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How Can Basement Flooding Be Fixed Permanently?

Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant

Basements and crawl spaces are open to water intrusion because of their location underground.

If you’re in search of accurate costs related to fixing basement flooding, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s what you’ll learn by the end of this article:

  • Root causes of basement flooding
  • What to do if your basement floods
  • How to solve basement water intrusion
  • How to save money when fixing basement flooding

Basements and crawl spaces are open to water intrusion because of their location underground. Soil saturated with rainwater or groundwater puts hydrostatic pressure on your basement walls and can force excess water through your concrete.

The result is something no homeowner wants: walking downstairs to find a flooded basement.

Many people panic and don’t know what to do if they find standing water in their basement, and fewer know how to stop future flooding.

In this article, we will go over why water might be getting into your home, what to do if you find water accumulating in your basement or crawl space, and how to fix the problem permanently.

We will also include tips on how to save money when doing the necessary basement waterproofing repairs.

What Causes Basement Flooding?

First, you need to know why basements flood. Understanding the root cause of your wet basement problem will help you permanently solve the problem and get some peace of mind that it won’t happen again.

We will discuss the most likely reasons you may be experiencing a leaky basement.

Improper Waterproofing on Basement Walls and Floor

a crawl space with air mover to dry out the structure

Waterproofing products are recommended and even mandated in most areas because of the likelihood of leaking.

There are different sealants available for interior and exterior use. Dampproofing, waterproof paint, concrete sealer, and waterproof panels or sheets are common liquid water and vapor barriers used on concrete walls and basement floors.

Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leak in basement

Your leaks are more than likely coming from inside your home if you find standing water or large amounts of water in your basement.

Water from the outside of your foundation usually comes in slowly, so heavy flooding is more common from leaks in your water lines or sewer backups.

Leaking domestic water lines and sewer lines can cause the most severe flood damage.

Improperly Installed Gutters and Downspouts

Broken gutter

One of the more common causes of water intrusion is the poor installation of gutters and downpipes. Gutter systems move water from heavy rains away from your concrete and help limit hydrostatic pressure.

However, proper installation is needed for good drainage.

Clogged Gutters

Clogged Gutter

Leaves, sticks, and roof debris can clog gutters and make them useless for draining runoff. Even a small blockage can make water build up in your gutter and spill over the side.

The water then falls right next to your foundation, where it can saturate the soil and be the most likely to lead to water seepage into your basement.

Basement Foundation Leaks

Flooding basement foundation

The cement used in your foundation’s construction isn’t waterproof and doesn’t offer complete protection from outside water.

Water can wick directly through solid concrete and seep in even more quickly through foundation cracks.

Additionally, wall openings around basement windows can leak, especially if your window wells aren’t properly drained.

Sump Pump Failure

sump pump

A sump pump sits in a ditch below your concrete slab and turns on a water pump once water is detected.

Standing water in your basement caused by another root problem could persist if your sump pump fails for some reason or if you have a power outage and no backup generator for your sump pump.

Water Heater Leaks

Insulating a water heater in the basement

The last most common source of basement flooding is another that comes from inside your home.

Your water heater holds many gallons of water and has a constant influx of water from your water main.

Malfunctions in your equipment, burst pipes, or cracks in your hot water tank can cause severe flooding in your basement or crawl space.

What Should You Do If Your Basement Is Flooding?

Panic is a natural reaction to finding a flood in your basement. However, knowing the steps to take when a flood is discovered will help keep you safe and limit the water damage and mold growth that is common with a flood.

Keep Yourself and Others Safe

Your home can be repaired, and personal property can be replaced, but lives cannot. Basement flooding can be extremely dangerous because the water can get electrically charged by your electrical system.

The first thing you need to do if you find flooding is to keep yourself and your family members safe. Never touch floodwater or try to wade to the source of the flood to stop it.

Wait for a professional plumber or electrician with safety equipment to do that.

Find the Root Cause

You may not be able to get into your basement safely to find the cause of the flood, but there are some tricks you can use to find the source from a safe distance.

You can safely assume that the water is coming from inside your home if you have several feet or many gallons of water in your basement.

Similarly, it’s probably from a burst plumbing pipe or water heater leak if you can hear water flowing into your basement. Sewage backup is a clear sign your waste lines are the problem.

Small puddles of water or trickling water can usually be visually inspected to find the source without stepping in or touching the water.

Remove Anything That May Attract Mold

Your next step after the water is pumped out is to take anything out of your basement that could attract mold or mildew.

Furniture, rugs, damp drywall, wet insulation, and anything else that holds water should be taken out and disposed of.

Install a Waterproofing System

Once the immediate flooding problems are taken care of, you need to stop flooding from happening again.

Ensuring good drainage on the outside of your concrete block walls by installing a gutter system or French drain is a good start.

Continue waterproofing with waterproof paint, foundation crack sealer, and dampproofing. Consider an interior drainage system like a sump pump or floor drain.

How Can You Stop Basement Flooding From Happening Again?

Basements are prone to flooding but can be waterproofed with the right waterproofing system. Start with installing gutters and downspouts to get good drainage outside. Grade your soil away from your home to prevent pooling near your foundation.

These two steps alone are sometimes enough to stop basement leaks.

Install a French drain or footing drain outside if leaking continues. Move onto interior waterproofing like sealing foundation cracks, applying waterproof paint, or installing drainage systems if these aren’t enough.

How To Save Money When Fixing Basement Flooding?

The best way to save money when stopping basement flooding is to treat the root cause of your problem.

Reactive solutions like sump pumps and dehumidifiers are good at stopping major floods and moisture problems, but gutters and soil grading are cheaper fixes that may work permanently and save you thousands on drainage systems and reactive fixes.

You can save money on labor costs by doing some of the above fixes yourself. French drains, foundation crack sealing, and waterproof paint or concrete sealer can all be DIY fixes that can save a lot on professional labor.

Lastly, fixing the problem right away will save money in the long run.

Slow leaks may seem insignificant but usually get worse with time. Save on home improvement repairs down the line by getting the problem solved now.

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Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant
SHORT BIO: Hey, I'm Sam Smith. I'm one of our service techs here at Regional Foundation Repair. I'm here to help you learn more about your home's foundation. I've been doing this for a while, so I have a few insider tips and tricks to share!

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