Common Causes of Flooded Basements
Recent surveys of U.S. homeowners and renters revealed wet/flooded basements to be rampant, incurring huge expenses. While 55% of the respondents stated they’ve dealt with a damp basement at least once, 37% had to spend more than $5,000 to cover losses.
One of the biggest misconceptions homeowners have is that basements only flood during wet weather. In reality, nothing could be far from the truth. Regardless of the weather conditions, the basement, by way of being underground, is one of the most vulnerable areas of your house when it comes to water seepage issues.
Flooded basements can cost thousands of dollars, damaging walls, floors, carpeting, and furniture. Once moisture sets in, mold and mildew take no time to develop, leading to serious health concerns. Adding to these, much of the damage caused is often not covered by insurance because it’s preventable.
Being well informed is the first step to reducing the risk of flooding in basements. To help with that, here’s a list of the most common causes that may lead to excess water in your basement-
Poor Landscape Grading
The land around your house needs to slope away from the structure in order to avoid sending water alongside the foundation. Usually, a slope of 1 inch per foot is adequate for a distance of 5 to 6 feet. If proper grading is not possible, consider getting a French drain installed.
Gutters are narrow troughs open at the top to catch rainwater flowing off the roof, which is then directed to downspouts. They often get clogged due to falling leaves and dirt. Make cleaning gutters a part of your routine house maintenance to circumvent issues related to a wet basement.
Improper Downspout Discharge
Downspouts often dump water right at the foundation’s base, which can reach the basement through cracks. At other times, they shuttle the water to the footing drain system and sump pump. Extensive amounts of rooftop runoff can easily inundate such systems, leading to foundation damage. To avoid this, downspouts must be set up in a way that the water is discharged away from the structure’s base.
Sump Pump Failure
Sump pumps are devices that are designed to pump out excess water that would otherwise cause significant flooding. Sometimes, these pumps malfunction or are simply unable to keep up with the incoming water. Cleaning and inspection at regular intervals are a must. To determine if this is the root cause of your flooding basement, it's necessary to have it inspected by a specialist.
Faulty Foundation Pipes
Know that your pipes will age with time. Drain tiles may get clogged, crushed, frozen, or develop leaks. When weeping tiles fail, the water drainage around the foundation goes for a toss. Consequently, groundwater leaches into the basement through the sump pump or foundation cracks.
When sewage from a sanitary sewer enters your home, often through toilets, sinks, or floor drains, it is said to be a case of sewage backup. The root cause of this is excess water in the sewer system, which ultimately overloads it. Backwater valves come in handy to stop backflows on the sanitary sewer line.
Poor Basement Sealing
At the time of construction, the basement tiles and foundation need to be waterproofed with a sealant. This becomes even more critical in areas that are prone to heavy rain, hurricanes, or snowfall. In the absence of sealing or incorrect application, the basement may be prone to water seepage from the ground.
Loose or Missing Window Well Covers
Basement windows provide leakage points for water from the outside trying to get inside. In such cases, act quickly and install a window well liner and window well cover.
Proximity to Trees
Sufficient distance of trees from your home is essential as these clog rain gutters and downspouts while causing cracks in the foundation. As a general rule, trees should be planted at least 10-20 feet away from your house. However, other factors, such as the spread of roots, also determine the distance.
Water Heaters and Washing Machines
These are internal sources within your basement that could cause potential flood damage. For example, washing machines consume an average of 40 – 50 liters of water per wash. Now, if the pipe bursts or the connections get loose mid-wash, you are sure to have a flood-like situation at hand!
As seen above, most of the problems resulting in flooded basements lie close to the house and well within your ability to fix- whether by regular maintenance or by installing a proper foundation drainage system, which can divert water away from your home. The good news is, Design Everest is just a phone call away. Our team of professionals have the ability to deal with a wide range of basement flooding causes. So, if you’ve been hunting basement drainage solutions, look no further. Reach out to us at (877) 704-5687 for a consultation and FREE estimate.
*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with members of Design Everest.