Did you come home from work to a wet basement? After cleaning up the mess and moving your valuable items off the floor, your initial instinct is probably to check for cracks. And you are right, foundation cracks are one of the major reasons your basement may leak. But what if you checked the walls and the floor and there are no cracks to be found? Here are a few ideas on where the water could be coming from, based on our experience as a Baltimore basement waterproofing company.
Are You Sure There Are No Cracks?
No, we don’t doubt that you searched far and wide, but sometimes cracks are hard to see. For example, cracks can often follow the brick pattern if your basement walls are set with concrete blocks. Instead of an obvious eyesore of an irregular clack, you may find tiny vertical, horizontal or zig-zag cracks between the concrete blocks. They often indicate that the foundation has shifted, causing the wall to move.
On the other hand, there are exterior cracks that you may not see on the interior. For example, if a basement wall buckles outward and becomes displaced, a wide crack will open up on the outside, while the inside may only show a slight dent in the wall. If you notice that your basement walls are visibly bending or bowing, it’s a good idea to excavate the exterior to assess the extent of the problem.
Water Leaking Over the Wall
Not surprisingly, most basements are built with walls that extend above grade. This helps prevent water from choosing the easiest route—seeping through the space between your basement and main floor. However, such leaks still happen, although their origin is often far from the ground. As you know, gravity makes water travel down by following the path of least resistance. So if you have a chimney leak or a roof leak, water could easily end up in your basement. It will travel along the wall framing until it enters the basement from the top.
Water Leaking From Broken Seals
There is a reason why navy submarines don’t have windows: every window is another chance of a leak. And although your basement is not a submarine, a similar principle applies: the fewer things you have cut into the walls, the better for the overall integrity of the basement. Unfortunately, sometimes we just have to put holes into basement walls to accommodate the said windows or plumbing. And if the seals around these conduits were poorly applied or deteriorated with time, you may get a leak.
These seams around windows and pipes may also leak because of the water pushing against them from the outside. Although you can’t fully eliminate ground water, you can take the steps to direct it away from your foundation by establishing proper grading and extending your downspouts. Exterior drain tile may also be helpful in reducing the pressure and moving water away from your basement.
Water Leaking From Wall and Floor Joints
Another common place where water may get into your basement is through the joints between the wall and the floor or between two walls. This is also caused by hydrostatic pressure around your home’s foundation. And the joints are typically the weakest spots and the easiest for water to penetrate. Water coming up through floor joints could also be a sign of a high water table. In this case, a sump pump can help you pump the extra liquid away before it rises enough to cause damage.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Schedule a free consultation with Basement Waterproofing Technologies and let our experts assess the situation. It’s import to trust basement repair and waterproofing to a professional, especially if foundation damage is present.