5 Causes of Leaks in Your Basement & How to Find Them

A leaky basement can be a common problem that most households deal with at one time or another. Taking care of your basement is essential to ensure a healthy home, but many times we may not pay attention to that dingy area of our house. If basement problems are ignored, they could become things that could affect your home and ultimately result in costly repairs. High humidity promotes an environment in which mold and mildew could grow and cause allergic reactions in you and your family, and water damage could eventually result in damage and, therefore, greatly reduce your property’s value.

It is crucial for you and your family’s health to recognize water damage signs and determine what is causing them. For this reason, we will explain what the main causes of water-related problems are in basements, and provide a guideline in to effectively recognize them in a timely manner:

What Causes Leaky Basements?

A basement’s number one enemy is certainly water, since it is responsible for most problems found in them and could cause great havoc. The following are the main sources from which water could be making its way into your home causing leaks in your basement:

 

  • Rain and water pools around the foundation

 

Heavy rainfall can be deadly to a home that hasn’t been properly waterproofed. Problems due to rainfall accumulating near the foundations are more common in older homes, but even new houses can become flooded if there isn’t proper drainage that directs the water away from the structure. You should have a slope around your home that will help divert water away from the foundation, regularly clear out gutters and make sure downspouts are draining away water at a sufficient distance from the house.

 

  • Cracks in or around windows and doors

 

Sometimes the issue simply lies in small cracks and holes, or improper sealing of windows and stairwell doors. Take advantage of the next rainfall and inspect your windows and stairways for signs of leaks, and proceed to caulking and repairing whatever flaws you have found, sealing them properly and making sure outside drainage is adequately diverting water away from your home.

 

  • Leaky plumbing

 

The issue can also be inside your home, since leaky pipes are also very common problems and could be the source of dampness behind a wall. It is essential that you regularly inspect your pipes for leaks and cracks or blockages, and that you properly prepare them for cold weather by insulating them to prevent freezing and, ultimately, a burst pipe and a flooded basement.

 

  • Inadequate sump pump

 

Another important piece of equipment you should have in your basement is a sump pump. It will take care of the collection and drainage of groundwater under your house, which is essential since when the soil soaks up too much water and it builds up or expands, it could force its way into your floor and walls. If the sump pump is not regularly cleaned and adequately maintained, it could fail to divert water away and will most likely leak into your basement. Invest in a good sump pump and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean it and have it running year round.

 

  • Condensation

 

Sometimes the source of leaks is not external water seeping through, but simply high humidity levels inside your basement. This could be due to poor ventilation of the room, living near the ocean or simply due to warm temperatures during the summer. You can recognize condensation when you see the walls, pipes ceiling or furniture feel like they are “sweating”. This is a problem that can easily be solved by installing proper venting, especially for your dryer in case you have it in your basement, or by using a dehumidifier to condition the air.

Signs of Leaks in Your Basement

Identifying leaks in your basement in a timely manner will be crucial in order to prevent further water damage. The main objective should be to determine whether the source is from an external water source, such as rain, lot drainage or groundwater, or any other source, such as leaking plumbing or condensation.

In order to determine the source and decide how to best repair it, you will have to carefully inspect your basement looking for signs that indicate leakage, which are:

 

  • Dampness or brown stains on walls and ceiling

 

If walls feel or look damp, or you have brown stains forming around your walls or ceiling, this can indicate water has been absorbed into them and is reacting with the clay outside your home by drawing the acid in it and filtering it through your walls. Water could be coming from leaky plumbing, groundwater seepage, or rainfall accumulation.

 

  • Mold and mildew

 

Two of the most common home invaders are mold and mildew, since they quickly appear in areas of high humidity or where water accumulates. They are the culprits of that awful musty smell in your basement, and have the power to rapidly spread. They release spores that can produce respiratory problems and allergies, especially for patients suffering from asthma.

 

  • Efflorescence

 

Is that chalky white mineral deposit you sometimes see on your walls, which occurs due to the chemical breakdown of its bonging agents that leach lime through masonry surfaces. This is a sign of an environment that has high humidity levels.

 

  • Rust stains

 

Rust stains are usually found on concrete floors and carpet due to corrosion metal objects such as nails on baseboards, electrical boxes, metal feet on furniture and others.

 

  • Stained carpets

 

Finding stains or a damp carpet could indicate water has been coming through. Try to identify in which areas this happens and if it is connected with heavy rainfalls.

 

  • Water bugs

 

Some small insects are attracted to areas where moisture accumulates and will go looking for water sources. Look for evidence of bugs behind furniture and appliances, around corners, and along baseboards and beams to come closer to the water seepage source.

 

  • Stained or warped wood

 

Darkened wood and stained or warped floorboards are clear signs of water damage in the area.

 

  • Cracked and damp floors

 

If you find cracks around your floors or walls, this could be a sign of water putting too much pressure on the structure and wanting to force its way in, thus resulting in the floor breaking and water seeping through.

Basements are highly vulnerable spaces to water problems since they are the lowest point in your house and have to hold down excessive amounts of weight, especially during the rainy months. Catching problems early will make a huge difference in determining the method that needs to be used to solve them, and therefore, probably the costs you will have to incur in too. Don’t neglect your basement it’s integrity is important to the value of your house; take matters into your own hands and take some time to inspect it and avoid worse problems in the future. It is always best to have such findings viewed and repaired by a reputable basement repair company.

 

 

Take the Embarrassment Out of Having a Wet Basement

One of the most embarrassing predicaments of homeowners is having a wet basement. When wetness or unwanted water rests in the interior, it gradually damages the foundation, framing of the walls, and other materials in your foundation. Waterproofing a basement is the only answer to stop this recurring problem.

Diagnose the Reason for Your Wet Basement Floor

A wet basement can be traced back from two major sources: seepage or condensation. You must find how water enters your basement in order to know which of the two causes the problem. Check out the walls for cracks and holes, and if the problem seems to be seepage or condensation, here are ways to treat condensation and seepage -induced moisture.

Treat the Cause of Your Wet Basement

Waterproofing a basement can cause you cash, but the investment is worthwhile. Check the gutters, spouts, and window wells, if you find that your issue comes from seepage. Gutters and spouts can get clogged with fallen twigs and leaves driving water to seep into the basement rather than flowing out away from it. Install gutters and spouts should you not have them yet, and ensure they are directed away from the foundation. Make sure window wells are installed and fully covered to prevent water.

You have to change the temperature of your basement, if your wet floor is caused by condensation. During wet seasons, close all windows. Cover them to prevent moisture from developing, and insulate cold pipes if there are any are present. Restore the right humidity level inside your basement and to decrease dampness, use a dehumidifier. If you do not have one, purchase one. Enriching ventilation is the only key to removing wetness.

A wet basement caused by seepage or condensation is fairly easy to treat. Basement waterproofing costs should not add up to a fortune particularly when the problem could be fixed by installing a downspout or gutter. However, if your wet floor problem stems from other more serious sources, waterproofing it could be more costly.

Your basement is an essential part of your house and the foundation, so before you start into any major work on it, make sure that you find out everything you need to find out or else it can be agonizing, long and expensive. It is always recommended that you seek the advice or an assessment from a professional waterproofing company.

 

Cracks in Basement Walls

foundation repairDo you have you a tiny crack in your basement wall? You may think that this isn’t a very big deal and it’s not really letting any water in. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A basement wall crack which may appear tiny on the inside of your home may actually be much large on the outside. Water seeps in through this large exterior crack and then gets into your basement via means of the tiny crack. If left untreated, this tiny crack can even begin growing larger itself. A leaky basement, if not fixed with a basement waterproofing system, will lead to other repair costs, mold, and headaches in the future.

If you live on a lot that has lots of clay materials in the soil, the pressures that it will exert on a small crack on the inside of your wall could cause it to grow very quickly if you don’t get it repaired soon. Even a small-looking crack can lead to standing water in your family’s basement. All basement wall cracks need to be evaluated, no matter how much of a concern you think they may not be. Don’t subject your family to living in a home with a wet basement. If left untreated, it could lead to structural problems for your home and even dangerous living conditions for your family.
 

Fall Season Can Lead To Wet Basement Problems

fallThe fall season is upon us and with it comes many changes around us. Falling leaves and other debris is one of them. Such debris could end up in your gutters. This could lead to all sorts of other problems. Add that to something like an improperly placed downspout and pretty soon your home could end up with a wet basement. Luckily, there are things that home and business owners can do to prevent such things.

The first and simplest action to take is cleaning the gutters and downspouts throughout the fall and winter months. The second action is to review where  your downspouts are and make adjustments accordingly. In most instances, they should be pointed away from the building and extend a minimum of five feet away from the building’s foundation.

If they all appear to be in order, it’s always a good idea to ensure that water from the lawn, driveway, patio, window wells or other nearby properties is not the source of the flooding. In some instances, it may be necessary to add topsoil around the building’s perimeter, buy a window well cover or install an alternate drainage system to address those sorts of water intrusions.

Of course there are other elements that may be contributing to a building’s wet basement wall problems. For instance, it may be exacerbated by tie (snap ties) rod hole leaks, condensation, sewer drain backups, broken water pipes, overgrown vegetation, cracks in the walls or hydrostatically induced pressure (improper drainage). Fall is the time to have a good look around and have these things repaired and addressed before Old Man Winter comes and plays further havoc with your basement.

 

Ignoring That Leak in Your Basement Because The Weather Has Been Dry?

moldy damp basementRemember that leak in your basement? So now with the dry weather, it’s not as bothersome, and you’re hanging onto your money and not giving it much thought.

Not a big deal, you may think.  After all, your basement isn’t finished, or maybe you only use part/ or all for storage and the occasional project.  The water will evaporate eventually, right?  Or, you can clean it up with a wet vacuum.

Why panic, right?  And why spend money fixing a leak that really isn’t hurting anything?

Well, not so fast, there, frugal homeowner.  By ignoring a leak in your basement you may be creating other problems in your home and you may be doing so based on an erroneous assumption that fixing the leak will be too costly.

Why Not to Ignore a Leak in Your Basement

Let’s step back and take a look at the consequences of ignoring a leak in your basement.

When seepage occurs in the basement of your home, the water (whether it’s a little or a lot) has nowhere to go except to accumulate in a puddle on the floor.  Along with being messy to step in, that puddle of water can create some real problems:

Increased Humidity – As stated correctly above, water that accumulates in the basement from seepage will eventually evaporate.  That does take care of the puddle on the floor but all that moisture ends up in the air in your home, which drives up the humidity in the atmosphere.  Home HVAC systems are designed to manage humidity in the house, true, but air-conditioning, for example, has to run that much harder and longer to remove all that added humidity from the air.

Ever hear that joke about the electric meter spinning fast enough to cut cheese?  Welcome to your future.

Mold – Mold is an unfortunately common occurrence in homes and it can be detrimental to the health of everyone that lives there.  Mold spores spread easily and are often conducted from the basement into aboveground living spaces, either by HVAC systems or the  “stack effect” that causes movement of air into, out of and through buildings.

Mold spores require three things to grow and spread, two of which – food and warmth — are always present in most basements.  (Food for mold is any organic material, including wood, paper and drywall.)   When the third factor, moisture, is introduced into the environment, even long-dormant mold spores can spring to life and begin causing havoc.

OK, you say, but I’m hanging onto my money right now, and isn’t fixing a leak in a basement going to be expensive?

Not necessarily.  The most common style of basement is one made of poured concrete and the most common source of a leak in such a basement is a non-structural in the wall.

Fixing a crack in a poured concrete wall is a simple process of  injecting it with expanding polyurethane to fill and seal it against future leaks.  Done right by a basement waterproofing professional, the cost will be several hundred dollars, not the thousands you may be imaging.

Of course, if the problem originates with seepage through a masonry wall or is created by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation, the repairs will be more extensive and will cost more but will also eliminate the possibility of mold and humidity that may cause respiratory problems for your family and damage to your home.

So, remember, that leak in your basement, should not be ignored – call a basement waterproofing professional today for an assessment. Most times it’s a free estimate.

Emerging Enterprise- Wise Cracks Foundation Repair Saint John

Basement Waterproofing Adds Space to Your Home

nice family roomBasement waterproofing adds useful square footage to a home and protects its foundation. More than 60% of all homes with basements have existing moisture problems at any given time and up to 90% of homes experience moisture problems within the first 15 years of construction.

Before waiting for a disaster to strike, take the preventative measure of basement waterproofing. Without this, a homeowner is susceptible to water damage in their home which will lead to expensive repairs and a non-functioning basement.

Before the telltale signs of mold and damage appear, to a thorough inspection of the foundation or have a professional do it. Too many homeowners don’t make use of the available square footage in their basement because the room is dark, dusty, and moldy. Waterproofing is a permanent solution that get eliminates the likelihood of structural damage and decreases mold and mildew.

Instead of dreading the walk down the basement stairs, add a new usable space with basement waterproofing. If you have a water in your basement have a professional come in. Their experts will find the source of the water and correct the problem. A professional company can find out where the water is coming from and put in a system to stop that.
Aside from eliminating mold and mildew, add useful square footage to a home today with basement or foundation waterproofing.

Avoid a Leaky Wet Basement with Regular Sump Pump Maintenance

Installing a sump pump drawingOne of the worst thing that can happen during a big rainstorm or melt is suddenly finding that  your sump pump has stopped working. By investing in sump pump maintenance, you will save yourself money and the nasty task of bailing water out of a wet basement if the sump pump stops working, not to mention the cost of potential damage to your property.

Why Do Sump Pumps Break Down?

Unfortunately, sump pumps are liable to wear and tear. These are mechanical devices after all – parts naturally wear down over time. Sump pumps have a number of moving parts, so many of those parts are bound to become worn or loose after years of repeated use, so it’s important that you perform regular checkups to ensure its operating properly. If you’re not sure contact a reputable waterproofing company to perform an inspection for you.

What to check?

#1: The Float

Floats can get caught and tangled in debris, which inhibits the float’s ability to determine whether water levels are manageable or not.  They often just stick sometimes for no known reason. If the float can’t “float” then your pump can’t do its job.

#2: The check Valve:

Another important part to maintain is the valve – particularly the check valve.  This valve makes sure that any water that flows through the pipes from your sump pump only flows away. In other words, the valve ensures that your water does not back up into the pump.  This process subjects the valve to a lot of pressure when the pump operates, giving some opportunity to break down.

#3: Pipes, Hoses & the Sump Pit

The water that gets pumped away from your basement waterproofing systems is not always pure.  Since the water can be contaminated with different elements, it can clog your pipes and hoses over time.  Also clean out your sump pit on a regular basis. It’s not uncommon to find everything from rocks and mud to lime and rust deposits when performing routine maintenance.

#4: The Pump Itself

A sump pump is a mechanical device and will wear out. If the pump is broken, it will require repair and usually replacement.  Most times when in doubt replace it with a new one. This is not something to procrastinate over!  Avoid the stress of a breakdown by maintaining your sump pump on a regular basis. The old saying holds true that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Homeowners Should Not Delay Getting that Basement Leak Repaired

wc-slide3Wise Cracks® have been helping homeowners turn their leaky wet basements into a dry solace that will remain dry for many years to come.
As much as it may not seem as if we’re likely to see winter end soon, rest assured that it will end, and spring will make its presence. Spring will inevitably lead to all the snow melting, add to that any rainfall, and many basements will unfortunately start to leak. After a particularly hard winter, the warmer temperatures of spring will bring an excess of water and moisture – which can affect your home inside and out. Prepare now at the first sign of a problem before a bad situation becomes worse. A small issue can quickly escalate into a large and costly project if left untreated.
Wise Cracks® have been happily providing solutions for twenty five years to worried homeowners. Homeowners easily feel some peace of mind while Wise Cracks® provides them the best and most cost-effective solution to a dry basement. Wise Cracks® have been chosen for the fourth year in a row by the consumers, the coveted Consumer Choice Award. This is an award chosen by you- the consumer. This is not something that can be bought.
Waterproofing is science and an art. It takes experience, skill, knowledge, and an understanding of how buildings and homes are constructed in order to resolve their water issues, and Wise Cracks® are the experts in this regard. Wise Cracks® offers its clients a seamless transaction from start to finish transforming their office, home or basement into a healthy usable and dry living space. Contact your nearest Wise Cracks® today and find out why they are “Canada’s most trusted basement repair company.”®

IS MY FLOODED BASEMENT COVERED BY MY INSURANCE?

Floodfacts2Whenever you experience a flooded basement or any other water damage emergency, a call to a professional waterproofing company provide the help you need, and then a call to your insurance company is usually the next call.
A flooded basement is a stressful occurrence. A professional company can assess the damage and quickly provide an estimate for repair. It’s important to quickly help people recover through water damage restoration and safely get things to be healthy again through by repairing the damage.
Most times calling your insurance company for help can be a daunting, confusing and intimidating process. Most policies do not cover leaks from cracks, etc. in a basement, but will usually only cover sump pump failure, or water coming up into the basement through a floor drain or sewer back up, unless you have specific flood insurance. Many policies will just cover the damages, and not the actual funds to get the defect repaired, which is even more frustrating, as not getting the repairs done could mean another flood down the road. Many people try and rely on New Home Warranty, but they typically don’t cover defects such as regular settlement cracks.
Even though your options may seem limited, there are companies that specialize in leaky basements. You should chose a repair company that has been established for some time, with a proven track record, and one that uses newer and modern products such as polyurethane injections of cracks, and state of the art equipment for other flooded basement repairs.