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4 Steps to Stopping Basement Leaks

This has been a fairly mild summer in terms of rain. Wondering what the fall will bring? Don’t wonder—act now to stop those basement leaks before they even happen. It’s time to put an end to the “rain anxiety” and cross basement flooding off your worry list. It doesn’t have to take long or cost thousands of dollars either. Whether you are attempting this yourself or working with a Maryland basement waterproofing company, here are a few steps to follow.

Find the source

Water doesn’t magically appear in your basement—it has to come from somewhere. If your basement has flooded before, try remembering where you found water the last time it happened. Even better if you can stay in your basement during a storm and watch how the water is entering your basement. If it is coming through the walls, you might have cracks, and if it’s coming through the floor you might be dealing with a high water table. Poorly installed and sealed doors and windows can make it possible for the water to sip around the casings.

You get the idea—you need to know what is broken before you start fixing it. It’s not always easy, because a good chunk of your basement is buried under a few feet of soil from the exterior. Sometimes an excavation might be necessary to reveal the issues, especially if there are no pointers on the inside.

Determine the problem

So let’s say you have found cracks in your foundation. What caused them? There can be many factors at play and at this point it doesn’t hurt to consult with a professional. In some cases, hydrostatic pressure from underground water pushing against your foundation is enough to cause a crack. In other cases, you might be dealing with a construction mistake that is now causing shifts in foundation. A large tree with an extensive root system growing nearby can also be the culprit.

Another common issue is the general location of your home. When a home is in a valley or, in general, lower than the surrounding homes, it is especially prone to flooding. Add to this a yard that is sloping toward the foundation and your basement turns into a drain for all the runoff water from your neighborhood.

Internal and external waterproofing

Now that you know (or at least have an idea) why your basement turns into a swimming pool every time it rains, it’s time to get dirty. There is a variety of internal and external waterproofing solutions you could implement to stop the leaks and prevent them in the future:

  • Fix any visible foundation cracks
  • Install a sump pump system to catch and direct away any water
  • Repair gutters and install downspout extensions to send the roof runoff as far as possible form the foundation.
  • Regrade your yard to establish a proper slope
  • Get rid of large trees with invasive root systems
  • Fix the failing foundation
  • Install a french drain system to establish good lawn drainage
  • Level and seal the exterior of the foundation with parging and protective polymer coating.

Preventive maintenance

After everything is done, you finally get to enjoy your dry basement. A basement waterproofing job is usually a one-time fix. However, if you want to keep the things as good as they are, there are a few extra steps you could take:

  • Clean your gutters at least twice a year to eliminate leaves and debris that can cause overflowing.
  • Have a professional inspect your sump pump every once in a while. Like any piece of equipment, it’s not made to last forever.
  • Consider a backup generator or a battery backup for your sump pump if your area is prone to power outages.
  • Always keep an eye on your yard drainage.

And if you need any help or advice, be sure to call Basement Waterproofing Tech, your local Maryland basement waterproofing experts.