What Causes Basement Flooding?

Nobody wants a wet basement. It can damage your home and belongings, costing you thousands of dollars. Water can damage flooring, priceless family heirlooms, walls, and so much more.

If your basement is flooded, we recommend staying out of the basement due to the risk of electrocution. Stay out of your basement until you are sure that the electricity has been turned off.

In order to minimize your risk of water damage, you need to understand what causes basement flooding, so you can identify the source of the water and have it resolved.

Causes for Basement Flooding

Flooding around your home and neighborhood can lead to basement flooding, but other reasons you may be experiencing flooding include:

Basement Flooding Groundwater Causing Hydrostatic Pressure

Some homes can experience issues with groundwater. If you haven’t found any surface sources of water, then it is likely groundwater under hydrostatic pressure causing your issues. This is an expensive issue that can be more difficult to fix compared to surface groundwater problems.

When groundwater levels rise above the basement floor, the basement is then sitting in water, which will leak through any cracks or holes within the basement. The hydrostatic pressure can push water through even hairline cracks. Signs this is happening include water coming up through the cracks in the basement floor or when you have water coming in at multiple locations.

The location of your drain system can also have an impact on your basement. If you have an older home with a basement and no sump pump, your perimeter foundation drains likely connect directly to the city storm sewer system. If your basement is below street level, then stormwater that basks up the city sewer system can be pushed into the perimeter foundation drainage. This can cause the soil around the house to become saturated at the level of the basement, and when paired with storm water under hydrostatic pressure, it can lead to water leaking into the basement.

How Surface Water Can Cause Basement Leaks

Surface water draining down next to your foundation walls is the most common cause of water leaking into your basement. If you have water coming into your basement from one location or only at your exterior foundation wall, you are dealing with a surface water issue. When inspecting your home outside, check for issues such as:

Clogged, overflowing gutters

You should make sure that your gutters are regularly cleaned and kept free of debris. If you have a lot of trees surrounding your property, you may need to clean them a few times a year.

Downspout Issues

When it rains heavily, you need to check your gutters after 15 minutes. Look to see if you have water overflowing; if so, there is likely an issue with your downspouts. Even if your basement is dry, the overflowing water can cause soil erosion in the house footing, which can cause the ceilings and walls to crack.

You need to make sure your downspouts are at least extended 10 feet from your home, but a father distance is recommended if your property can accommodate it.

Pavement and Landscape Slope

In some cases, your pavement can settle, which can change the slope of your property, causing water to flow toward your foundation. If this is the case, then your pavement will need to be removed and replaced to slope away from your home.

If your yard or landscape doesn’t slope away from your home, it can cause surface water to put pressure on your foundation, leading to leaks and cracks. Your land may need to be professionally graded to resolve this issue.

Drainage Solutions for Basement Flooding

To resolve your flooding issues, you may need to do one or more of the following:

A sump pump Update or Add More Drainage

Maintain your gutters and have your downspout extended to ensure they are carrying water away from home. If your gutters are overflowing, be sure to add additional downspouts to handle the water. You can also increase the size of the existing downspout and the hole in the gutter to handle more water volume.

Have a Sump Pump Installed

If water is a major issue in your basement, you will need to add a sump pump, which can pump the water out of the basement and keep it dry.

Have Your Basement Sealed

With a silicate-based sealer, thick coating, and paint, you can minimize and even prevent water damage. It is recommended you work with a professional waterproofer to ensure the best results.

Replace Piping

For older homes, have your pipe inspected to see if any replacements need to be made to ensure proper drainage.

Downspout Extension Installation

If your downspout is too close to your home’s foundation, it can lead to cracks and leaks in your home’s foundation. This can result in basement flooding and damage to your home and valuables.
To remedy this situation, we can install extensions to your existing downspout and route them away from your home. Based on recommendations from the National Association of Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors, water should drain at least three feet, but preferably six feet away from your basement walls on sloped, clay-rich land.
For flat land, we recommend that your downspouts drain at least 10 feet from your foundation, but twenty feet is best if your property can accommodate it.
Once we place your downspout extensions, we can bury them 5-6 inches below the surface of your yard. Depending on how your property is graded, you may require more than 10 feet of downspout extensions. We will also need to install a plastic or concrete splash clock beneath the downspout extension to ensure that their water doesn’t erode a hole in the soil next to your home and will also help to direct the water even farther away from your foundation.

Drainage Solutions and Services in Pittsburgh

At Pittsburgh Drain Guys, we understand how damaging water can be to your home, and we offer french drains and other drainage solutions to help keep your basement dry. Contact us today to learn more!

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