From flooding and water damage to mould and bug infestation, a leak in your basement wall can cause big problems. When fixing a leak in the basement, it’s important to know you can fix it from both the inside or the outside. Outside the wall, repairs are usually much more expensive as they will require quite a bit of landscaping work. Repairing a leak or crack from the inside is usually the cheaper, faster, and easier option.
The basement is the foundation of your home, so rightfully you worry if you see moisture on walls or floors. If not taken care of, it can spell major problems.
Don’t panic if you leak. You can waterproof your basement to dry it up and hold back any encroaching water.
Basement leaks are one of the most frustrating problems faced by homeowners. They can pave the way for many potential problems, including mould and mildew, unwanted insect and rodent infestation. Not to mention the damage infiltrating water can do to your foundation.
Luckily, waterproofing is a DIY project you can finish with a bit of time and effort. It will protect basement walls and floors from the damaging effects of water penetration by sealing porous masonry above and below the ground level to form a watertight coating. This stops leaks and holds back water flow, even under pressure, and helps keep basements dry.
Since the traditional way to fix basement leaks involves digging up around the foundation or some part of it, many homeowners seek interior basement leak repair solutions. Fortunately, regardless of the type of foundation you have, it is possible to fix a basement leak from the inside of your home; in this post, we tell you how.
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 we often 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 where mould and mildew could grow and cause allergic reactions in you and your family. 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 recognise 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 to recognise them on time effectively. Looking for dual occupancy? Look no further! MJS Construction Group has you covered.
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:
The last thing you want to worry about in your home is your basement leaking, but unfortunately, it is a common problem among many homeowners. Luckily, achieving a dry basement is possible with proper professional solutions.
Poor or Ineffective Grading
When your home was built, if it was built correctly, builders graded the land under your home to ensure that the ground around your foundation slopes away from the house, not towards it.
However, in many cases, they need basement repair due to ineffective or degraded property grading.
If water begins to drain in the wrong direction – towards your house – then water begins to accumulate against your foundation and leads to basement leaks in your home.
Luckily, a dry basement isn’t just a pipe dream. Basement Waterproofer Contractor will be able to determine if ineffective grading is the cause of your basement leak and provide an appropriate professional basement waterproofing solution.
Cracks in Your Foundation
Cracks in your home’s foundation aren’t abnormal, but they can certainly be a cause for water in the basement of your home. Occasionally, cracks in your basement can be the cause of the water.
In this case, it’s important to enlist a basement waterproofer in the area to assess your foundation and basement and determine if your foundation cracks and subsequent leaking are caused by hydrostatic pressure or structural problems. From there, KC Waterproofing can provide professional wall and foundation repair for a finally waterproof basement in your home!
Missing or Damaged Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts are other essential elements of any home as they channel water away from your home (and, more importantly, your foundation) when precipitation occurs. However, if gutters and downspouts don’t exist or aren’t working properly, water can then be directed towards your home’s foundation, where it can find its way into your basement and cause an excess of moisture in your home.
If you don’t already have gutters, KC Waterproofing can easily source and install the proper system for your home, leaving you with a dry basement and free of problematic leaks.
Poor Drain Tile and Sump Pump
A drain tile and sump pump are important elements of any home. A drain tile exists in a home to collect water around your basement foundation and direct it to one of two places. If your home is not on a slope, the water will be directed to a sump pump in your basement, where it is then pumped away from the foundation.
In some cases, a home may not have a drain tile and sump pump, whereas others have an ineffective system. This is where it is important to consider a professional basement waterproofing system to solve the lack of an ineffective drain tile and sump pump.
Basement Condensation and Interior Water Leaks
When warm, humid air comes into contact with the cool basement walls and floor of your home, the result is typically condensation. In severe cases, this condensation can lead to significant moisture in your basement, causing you to worry.
However, for interior water leaks, the cause is different but still arises from functions within your home. Check for inside basement leaks from areas of your home, including your shower, sinks, toilets, the washing machine or dishwasher, or simply just a bad pipe.
Basement Waterproofer Contractor to quickly find the source of your basement condensation or leak and provide professional advice on which basement waterproofing system will address not just the leak but the root cause for your basement leak.
Rain and water pool 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. Still, 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 lies in small cracks and holes or improper sealing of windows and stairwell doors. Please take advantage of the next rainfall and inspect your windows and stairways for signs of leaks, and proceed to caulk and repair whatever flaws you have found, sealing them properly and making sure outside drainage is adequately diverting water away from your home. Check out our range of Melbourne townhouse builders for your dream house.
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. You must regularly inspect your pipes for leaks and cracks, or blockages. 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.
Sometimes the source of leaks is not shallow water seeping through, but simply high humidity levels inside your basement. This could be due to poor room ventilation, living near the ocean or simply due to warm temperatures during the summer. You can recognise condensation when you see the walls, pipes, ceiling, or furniture feel like they are “sweating”. This problem 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 on time will be crucial 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.
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.
- Mould and mildew: Two of the most common home invaders are mould and mildew since they quickly appear in high humidity areas or where water accumulates. They are the culprits of that awful, musty smell in your basement and have the power to spread rapidly. They release spores that can produce respiratory problems and allergies, especially for patients who have asthma.
- Efflorescence: Is that chalky white mineral deposit you sometimes see on your walls, which occurs due to the chemical breakdown of its bonding agents that leach line 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 of 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 look 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.
Please don’t neglect your basement. Its 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.
Repair Basement Leaks
Step 1: Pinpoint the Problem
A wet basement wall may mean you have a larger problem on your hands. Water may be coming in from a variety of sources. Check for leaky downspouts or gutters that allow water to pool alongside your foundation.
Blocked drainage pipes and improper grading or ruts that direct ground runoff toward your foundation are major culprits. Correcting these problems, as well as waterproofing your basement walls, is the best way to prevent masonry surfaces from leaking.
First, determine if water seepage or condensation is causing your wet walls. Using duct tape or another strongly adhesive tape, tightly attach a 1′ square of aluminium foil to an interior basement wall and leave it for several days.
Remove the foil. If the room side of the foil is wet, the problem is condensation. Run a dehumidifier in your basement to help get rid of this condensation. If the wall side is wet, the problem is seepage. Note: unfortunately, both problems can occur at the same time.
Water seepage can also occur at the floor/wall joint. When concrete floors cure, they shrink and pull away from the wall, allowing a space for water to enter. It would help to seal all gaps between the floor and walls with hydraulic cement to prevent seepage (see more on this in Step 4).
Step 2: Surface Preparation
If you have puddles or pools of water from a leak, remove anything that may become damaged and clean up the water with a mop or towels. Remove any mould or mildew that might have formed (see project Remove Mold from Walls).
Next, remove any loose or broken mortar, dirt, dust or other debris around the leak using a broom or stiff brush. Clean the surface thoroughly. Waterproofing works best when applied to a clean, bare masonry surface.
To remove old paint, use a wire brush or sandblast the surface. Use muriatic acid to eliminate efflorescence — white, crystal-like salt deposits that form on the wall from moisture. Any efflorescence left on the wall will prevent a sealant from sticking to the wall. Any holes should be patched with hydraulic cement.
Step 3: Seal Walls
Now that you’ve prepped the surface, you’re ready to apply a sealant to your basement walls. For the best results, apply the first coat with a nylon or polyester bristle brush. The second coat can be applied with a brush or masonry roller. Work sealant thoroughly into the pores of the masonry surface. After using the first gallon, measure the area covered. It should be about 75 to 100 square feet. If the area is more than this, you’re spreading the sealant too thin.
Apply a second coat over the entire wall surface. If seepage is still present after several days, tiny pores or pinholes are still open, apply an additional coat to these areas.
Step 4: Seal Floor Cracks
Water that leaks through your basement floor usually gets there at the floor/wall joint or via cracks from the foundation/floor settling over time. Apply hydraulic cement to this joint to seal it. MJS Construction Group has the best range of home builders Melbourne services to help you create your dream house.
To fix a floor crack, open it up using a chisel and hammer. Make the inside of the crack larger than the outside by chiselling at an angle. This will allow for a better seal. Clean out the concrete pieces and dust in the crack with a stiff brush.