Why Do Basements Leak?
Water in the soils leaking into basements is a problem that has always caused Michigan homeowners trouble. This water will enter the basement through the walls, floors, and joints between them. Recent technology allows contractors proven ways of solving your basement waterproofing problem.
Your footing drain is typically what causes your original basement water problem. Once it clogs up water will enter your basement and create moisture problems and ruin your belongings.
We can help with a proven track record of solving your basement water problem.
The Clay Bowl Effect
When your home was built, a hole was excavated into very hard, virgin soil to accommodate the basement. The ground never "forgets" this hole, thus whenever the ground becomes saturated, water will always seek to fill this hole. This water creates pressure around your walls and floor that allows for seepage opportunities at any cracks or joints. This water pressure will occur during prolonged heavy rains despite your best efforts to keep ground water away from your home. That is why extending downspouts, building up the grade, caulking driveway cracks, and even adding room addition slabs may mitigate the amount of seepage you receive, but won't solve the problem.
Three Types of Leaks
Locating where water is entering your home is key to choosing the appropriate solution, so mark the source whenever the seepage is active.
Through the walls:
The most common basement leak is due to seepage through wall cracks. These cracks will continue to deteriorate and will eventually leak, and this seepage will get worse over time. Other possible wall leaks are tie rod ends, honeycombed concrete and pipe penetrations.
Through the floor or floor/wall joint:
Most modern homes are built with a drain tile system around the footings to keep water from creating pressure against the floor or cove area (floor/wall joint). Some drain tiles run into the sump pump, others to the city storm sewer system. If seepage occurs in this area, check your pump's operation first, if that is working normally, then your drain tile is not.
Over the top of the wall:
Water entering at the top of the wall, between the concrete and wooden sill-plate, is due to one of 2 things: The soil grade has been built up outside the home, higher than the concrete. Homeowners, in their efforts to keep water away from the foundation, build the dirt level higher than the concrete wall, ironically creating a seepage problem through the below grade brick or siding.
Sometimes there is an above grade penetration of water, due to a caulking or tuckpointing issue. Any water that penetrates the veneer of the house will run down the back side of the siding and appear at the sill-plate juncture in the basement. The surest way to verify which of these two "spillover" problems you have is to water test by running a hose on the ground on a dry day. If water comes in, it is a below-grade problem. If water does not come in, then it is an above grade problem that will require caulking, tuckpointing or possibly roofing repairs.
The basement is a valuable part of your home and is designed to be dry, usable space, whether as a finished recreation room, a workshop, or simply a safe storage area. Once a leak occurs however, its usefulness and value is very limited - fortunately permanent solutions are available for all seepage problems. Learn More About solutions to wet, leaky basements in our WATERPROOFING SOLUTIONS section on the left column of this page.