Causes of Leaks in the Basement

Causes of Leaks in the Basement

The basement is a notoriously cold and damp location in the house. This often makes it useful for little else than to act as a larger closet where old items collect dust. You may even begin to consider leaks there as something of a normality. However, this isn’t the right way to look at the basement. Allowing leaks to go unchecked can lead to further damage to your home’s structure and allow mold and other unwanted pests to proliferate. You should consequently learn about these common causes of leaks in the basement so that you can fix them effectively.

Clogged Gutters

What do the gutters on your home’s roof have to do with your basement leaks? A lot, actually. Gutters are designed to collect rainwater as it falls on the house and funnel it far away so that it doesn’t have a chance to cause any damage. Gutters that are clogged with detritus can’t move water any longer, so rain overflows out of them and travels down the sides of the house. There, it gathers around the home’s foundation and can begin to leak into the basement through cracks—or form new cracks as it sits there and deteriorates the material. You should clean out your gutters routinely to prevent such harm from happening.

Pressure on the Walls

In addition to water that falls directly down the sides of the house, water in the surrounding soil can also lead to leaking in the basement. You might not see it, but during times of heavier precipitation, the ground can absorb a substantial amount of water. This water then begins to exert a force on the walls of the basement called hydrostatic pressure, making the soil expand beyond its normal volume. Hydrostatic pressure causes the walls to cave in and crack over time, letting the water inside. The water in the ground must be redirected with a waterproofing system that pumps it away.

Faulty Window Wells

Window wells are necessary when you have windows around your basement, as they form a connecting space to the surface. Unfortunately, a window well can easily collect rainwater, which then begins to leak through the window. There are several causes of window well problems, but in general, leaking happens when the well doesn’t have a transparent cover to deflect water or when the drain at the bottom of the well isn’t working properly. An old window may also have gaps around its frame that make the problem worse. To address any of these common causes of basement leaks, you should have a basement waterproofing professional inspect the area to determine exactly what’s causing the leak and to work to resolve it.
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