Basement Water Problems

The useful extra space found in the basement is often rendered useless because of basement water problems. The basement can't even safely be used for storage, let alone as living space, if it periodically floods. Some of the factors that cause basement water problems are quite simple to remedy, while others require a great deal of digging and work.

The first step is to determine the source of the basement water problems. Has the basement only started to have water problems? Does the excess water seem to be coming into the basement at only one spot on the exterior wall of the foundation? Then your problem could be as simple as clogged gutters. Leaves and sticks in the guttering around the roof of the house could be causing rainwater to spill over the top instead of neatly running down where it belongs.

If cleaning out the gutters does not fix your basement water problems, sometimes adding extra downspouts, or installing the next larger size of downspout is all it takes. Make sure the holes in the gutter are as big as the downspout, too.

While it may not look good to homeowners, the downspouts should extend at least ten feet away from the foundation of the house. This simple step can help correct basement water problems by diverting the extra rainwater away from the basement. The extra drainage pipes can be disguised by having them surrounded by plantings or running along a fence.

In addition to these measures, check the slope of the area surrounding the house. If the yard slopes down toward the house, water will run down to your foundation walls. If there are cracks in the foundation, this will cause basement water problems. Of course, fixing the cracks will help, too, but it is important to divert excess run-off water away from the foundation.

In more serious cases, basement water problems are caused by a rise in the water table. This is the level of groundwater beneath the house. If the groundwater reaches the level of the basement walls, it will exert hydrostatic pressure on them. This pressure, along with the shifting of age, can cause hairline cracks in the basement walls. It can also force water through those cracks.

Hopefully your basement water problems can be solved by having the outer basement walls waterproofed. This can be done by a professional. More intensive, but often needed, is to have a drain system installed around the perimeter of the house. Extra groundwater can then be diverted by the use of a sump pump.

See Also:

Basement Sump Pump Installation
Finishing Basement Walls
Basement Ventilation
French Drain