If you’re in search of accurate costs related to basement water problems, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s what you’ll learn by the end of this article:
- What to do if you find water in your basement
- Common sources of water intrusion
- How to stop water from getting through your foundation walls
- How to save money when fixing basement water problems
Foundation walls are naturally prone to leaks because concrete is porous and can crack easily. Most homeowners will experience some kind of leaking under their home and the stress and anxiety involved with remedying the problem.
Many people don’t know the steps they should take first to get the water out. Fewer people know what to do once the standing water or puddling is pumped out to protect their homes going forward.
In this article, we will go over what needs to be done as soon as water is found in your basement, how to figure out what the root cause of the leakage is, and how to fix the problem to stop leaking in the future.
We’ll also offer some tips on how to save money when dealing with water in the basement.
What Should You Do If You Find Water In Your Basement?
No homeowner wants to walk down into their basement to find a flood. The ensuing feeling of dread is something we’ve experienced firsthand and wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Follow the below steps before doing anything else if you do discover water in your basement.
Your home is probably your biggest asset, so something like standing water in your basement can send you into a panic. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you and anyone else in your house remain safe.
Water in your home can easily become electrically charged by your electrical system. You may be tempted to rush into the basement to save furniture or belongings or to find the source of the leak.
However, doing so can lead to serious injury and even death from electrocution. No personal belongings are worth your life or the life of a family member. Always remember that your first order of business is to remain safe.
We would recommend not entering a flooded basement even if you shut the electricity off at the breaker because there’s always a chance of getting electrocuted.
Try to Find the Source of the Leak
Your next step should be to try to find where the water is coming from. Again, never enter a flooded basement. Skip this step if you can’t determine the source from a safe spot.
However, there are some tips that can help you figure out the likely cause. If there is a lot of water in your basement, then the water is likely from a plumbing leak or an external flood. Foundation walls and concrete slabs can leak, but they usually drip slowly and won’t cause multiple inches of water to accumulate.
Similarly, a plumbing leak or flood outside is probably the root cause if you can hear water flowing into your basement at a fast rate.
Small amounts of water like puddling or pooling are probably from leaking foundation walls or from groundwater coming up through your concrete slab.
Pump Out Standing Water
Your next step should be to have the water pumped out of your basement. Never use electric pumps because they can electrocute you if they contact the water. Gas-powered pumps should always be used for pumping water out of basements.
We recommend having a plumber or electrician do the pump out because they will be equipped with the right safety gear.
Remove Items That Could Lead to Basement Mold
Lastly, you will need to let your basement dry. However, any items left down there during the drying process that can hold moisture will cause mold or mildew growth and should be removed.
Furniture and personal belongings should be taken out along with carpet, damp or wet drywall, and wet insulation. Remove these as soon as it is safe to do so because mold will begin to grow within 24 hours.
Where Is The Water Coming From?
Knowing the source of the water will help you solve the root cause of your water problem. It’s the first step in making sure you don’t have water leaks going forward.
We’ll go over the usual causes of basement leaks below so that you can determine why you have leaking. This will help you treat the actual problem and avoid expensive and potentially unnecessary solutions.
If Water Is Coming Up From The Ground
Groundwater can seep up through hairline cracks in your concrete slab or come in at the corners of your basement where your slab meets your floor.
It can also wick directly through your concrete slab and appear as puddles in the middle of your floor.
Water coming up from the ground is almost always because of groundwater. Groundwater is the water dissolved in soil found at a certain depth.
Groundwater levels are related to water tables, so this may be the root cause of your wet basement if you have a high water table.
If Water Pools Next to Your Exterior Basement Wall Or Stains Your Interior Basement Wall
More people find water coming through their concrete block walls than they do their slabs.
You can usually tell if water is coming in through your basement walls, even if they aren’t leaking when you inspect for this problem.
Water pooling next to your home’s foundation walls on the ground outside often means that you have poor drainage on your property.
Additionally, this is easy to identify if the concrete walls in your basement are stained. Salt and minerals dissolved in water stick to your concrete after the water evaporates inside. The stains are called efflorescence and may appear like a powdery white substance.
Improper drainage is usually the cause of leaking basement walls. Runoff from heavy rain can saturate the soil if they aren’t drained away.
The wet soil creates hydrostatic pressure that can force water through your concrete walls.
If Your Basement Floor is Covered in Water
Basements are the lowest part of your home and are the most open to flooding. The most concerning kind of water intrusion is when the water covers the entire basement floor.
Heavy basement flooding most often occurs because of plumbing leaks. Your water pipes are under pressure and can flow continuously into your basement if one bursts.
A significant basement flood can also be caused by flooding of your entire area due to storms or other natural disasters.
How Do You Stop Water From Getting Into Your Basement?
Getting water out of your basement once it gets in is only the first step in protecting your home from water damage. You will also want to stop future water intrusion.
Below are some potentially permanent fixes for leaky basements.
Install Gutter Extensions
I mentioned above that poor drainage outside is a common cause of basement leaking. Good draining starts with gutters, downpipes, and gutter extensions.
Many homeowners skip the extensions. However, these are crucial because they move harmful water further away from your porous foundation.
Seal Foundation Cracks
Water can wick directly through concrete if hydrostatic pressure is high enough but more commonly comes through cracks in the foundation.
Sealing and waterproofing any gaps in your concrete walls and slab will help lower the risk of future leaks.
Grade Your Soil
The ground around your home should be graded away from your foundation because it naturally moves water away from your concrete. Improperly graded soil is usually the first thing that creates drainage issues on your property.
Install an Exterior Drainage System
A French drain or drain tile on the outside of your home can drastically improve drainage of runoff. These drain systems collect excess water from the surrounding soil and move it to an area of your yard that won’t be harmful to your foundation if it gets saturated.
They limit hydrostatic pressure on your basement walls, which can help stop leaking.
Repair Footing Drains
Footing drains are another type of exterior drainage system that deals with groundwater instead of surface water.
They can be expensive to repair if they become damaged or insufficient due to a clog but do a great job of protecting your concrete from a high water table.
Install An Interior Drainage System
Exterior drains work to remove water before it can get into your basement, but interior drains remove any water that does get in.
For example, curtain drains are installed in trenches around the inside of your basement or crawl space walls, and floor drains are installed throughout your slab.
They collect water that seeps in through your concrete or foundation cracks and disposes of it safely via a sump pump.
Install a Sump Pump
Sump pumps can act as standalone water removal systems too. They get installed in large ditches in your basement floor and are triggered by high water levels to turn on and begin pumping.
Sump pumps are very good solutions for removing gallons of water per minute and preventing standing water from building up under your home.
It should be noted that sump pumps are reactive solutions. They aren’t the best option for finished basements because they won’t always stop carpets or drywall from getting wet at the source of the leak.
Apply a Waterproof Coating to Your Basement Walls
There are numerous products you can apply to the inside of your basement walls to help protect them from water intrusion.
These include waterproof paint, epoxy sealants, and polyurethane sealers that will stop water seepage through your foundation cracks or porous concrete.
These are not permanent solutions and should be used in combination with other protection from water intrusion.
How To Save Money When Fixing Basement Water Problems?
Water intrusion in your basement is expensive to pump out and even more costly to stop from happening again. There are some things you can do to save money when fixing the water problems in your basement or crawlspace.
I always recommend that homeowners treat the “disease” and not the “symptoms.”
You can put a coat of waterproofing paint on your basement walls to help stop active leaks, but it doesn’t fix the root cause. We recommend getting proper drainage by installing gutters, downspouts, and gutter extensions and grading your soil before moving onto more expensive fixes. These solutions might just fix your problem altogether.
Additionally, doing some of the above fixes as DIY projects can save you a lot of money in professional help. Waterproofing paint, French drains, and even sealing foundation cracks can all be done yourself to save money.