How to Fix and Prevent a Leaking Basement

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Leaking basements are one of the biggest concerns for homeowners. Water leakage can not only cause mould and mildew to develop, which can be potentially hazardous to your health, but severe water leakage can also cause major damage to the structural integrity of your home, not to mention the property you’ve stored in your basement.

Whether you’ve encountered water leaking from the walls or seeping from a seemingly unknown source in your basement, you know first hand the importance of getting on top of the problem as soon as possible. The sooner the issue is fixed, the less damage that is caused by the excess water.

Here we will discuss some of the reasons for leaky basements, to help you safeguard your home against potential hazards. The article will go on to discuss how you can go about fixing an existing leak.

Why basements leak and how to identify the problem

There are many reasons why basements leak. It can be caused by things like cracks in the foundation, gaps between the wall and floor, stress cracks in concrete flooring, and leakage from around pipes.

The first step in finding out how exactly this water is getting into your basement is to carefully examine the outside of your property. You should be checking the following so as to ensure that water drainage systems are working properly:

  • Gutters – Check for any leaks or blockages that could potentially be causing water to run where it shouldn’t,
  • Downpipes and other drainage systems – A general check of your drainage systems is always a good place to start when trying to identify a leak.
  • Positive grade away from the home – This refers to the foundation and how the construction and position of the foundation encourages water to flow away from the exterior walls of your property and not towards them. If the soil around the foundation of your home is sloping towards your house, this can cause problems with water drainage as rainwater can collect around the foundation and potentially cause a leaking basement.
  • Basement windows – These need to be watertight and should always be above ground level.

Note: Checking the above, even if you don’t have an existing leak, will ensure that you can flag any potential problems and fix them with ease, before you have to spend money on repairing your entire basement. Maintaining healthy drainage systems in and around your home is the key to preventing a leaky and mouldy basement.

How to fix a leaking basement

Addressing any issues with guttering, pipes, and exterior leaks is the first step to addressing a leaking basement. The next step is to look at the best ways in which to waterproof the area.

There are many different solutions that contractors will offer to fix a leaking basement. The main thing to remember is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to waterproofing a basement. Each home is different and will have different waterproofing needs.

Exterior excavation waterproofing

This involves excavating the area down to the foundation in order to fix the drainage problem by installing new drainage systems. During this process, a waterproof membrane will also be applied to the exterior wall’s surface so as to ensure that water can no longer seep through.

Exterior excavation waterproofing is also known as ‘exterior basement waterproofing’, as it looks directly at the source of the water and might involve one or several walls. Due to the extensive amount of work that is required, it tends to be more costly than other waterproofing methods, however.

For most homeowners, going with an interior waterproofing solution is the most cost-effective and least invasive method.

Crack injections

This is sometimes performed when the seepage is coming from the walls and not the floors. An epoxy or polyurethane substance is injected into the crack to stop the water from getting in. This approach is not generally used for bricks, and is sometimes viewed as only a temporary solution by some waterproofing businesses.

Waterproofing primer and paints

While these are on the market, they are generally not recommended by waterproofing experts. This is because many of these products do no more than provide a temporary, cosmetic solution to leaking problems.

For more information and to speak to the experts, contact Projex now to see how we can help you find an appropriate waterproofing solution.