Due to their nature of being underground, or at least partly underground, a basement can be a nice and cool place to store things as well as be used as an extra living space. But it also becomes a nice place for water to flood into if given the chance. But why do basements leak? Why do some basements flood with water whenever there’s a heavy rain, or shortly after a long rainstorm?

This is because of the nature of water—it likes to find the paths of least resistance to travel. There are a number of factors to consider that can contribute to a basement’s tendency to flood, but fortunately there are also a number of ways to spot a leaky basement before things get worse. Let’s take a dive into why do basements flood and how to fix the problem!

Significant flooded basement in Richmond, VA.

A Main Cause of Flooded Basements: Rain and Water Pooling Around the Foundation

Rain is perhaps the most common reason why basements flood, especially during heavy rains or during hurricane season. As water soaks into the soil around your home and pools around your foundation, the pressure around your foundation begins to grow—this is called hydrostatic pressure. All that water adds a lot of weight and pressure against your foundation, and with enough stress and repeated rains, it can cause a crack. That can quickly become a path of least resistance for water, leading water in the wrong direction: Into your basement.

Other Causes of Flooded Basements

Even if it isn’t the rainy season, your basement can become flooded if there are other existing problems. Here are some of the other reasons as to why do basements leak:

  • Problems with Your Foundation’s Drainage
    • Typically, your home should have been built with a drainage system to help divert water away from your foundation and your basement. After enough time, a typical foundation drainage system can begin to fail, and some houses may surprisingly be without a drainage system at all. Either one of these scenarios can allow water pooling to occur, giving water a chance to seep into any cracks that may exist, and ultimately flooding into your basement.
  • Sump Pump Failure
    • Sump pumps do the work of pushing excess water out and away from your foundation. But should your sump pump fail, especially during a bad rainy day, all that water that’s draining into your sump pit can instead flood into your basement.
  • Sewer Backup
    • Probably the most gross scenario! When rainwater overflows your city sewers, it can lead to sewer backup. This is when sewage flows back up and into your home, whether through your floor drains or even your toilet. Your basement floor drains will likely be the first to be affected by this overflow. This can be dangerous because of all the harmful bacteria that lives in sewage.

How to Fix the Problem

Whether you’ve encountered a cause of flooding or a sign that flooding could happen under the right conditions, it is important to have the problem addressed as quick as possible. Fixing a flooded basement can be very costly, so finding the right solutions can save you a lot of headache and money in the long run. Depending on the source of flooding or potential flooding, here are some of the solutions for basement waterproofing.

  • Foundation Cracks
    • When cracks occur in your foundation, there’s no way for it to get better on its own, and every crack can become a potential avenue for water to leak in. The best option to ensure a safe and intact foundation is to call for a basement waterproofing expert for proper basement repair.
  • Basement Floor Drains
    • While there’s no way to stop sewer backups from occurring, you can do something to keep sewage from flooding out from your basement floor drains and affecting your basement. With a one-way drain plug, you can prevent sewage from flowing up into your actual basement. However, it is important to regularly check and clean your drain plug to ensure that it continues to function properly.
  • Sump Pumps
    • When your sump pump has failed, it is important to have it repaired by a basement repair professional. Be sure to check your sump pump’s warranty and inspect your sump pump on a regular basis. For extra peace of mind, consult with a basement repair expert about installing a battery backup for your sump pump—that way, in the case that your electricity goes out, your sump pump will continue to push that water out and away from your home.
  • Grading
    • Having improper grading can affect the way that water moves or pools around your house. Consult with a landscaping professional to resolve your grading situation and create a proper slope.
  • Gutters and Downspouts
    • Be sure to check your gutters and downspouts regularly and keep them free of leaves and debris that might otherwise clog them. Gutters and downspouts help keep water moving away from your home.

Keep Your Basements Safe and Dry with ’58 Foundations

Dealing with the aftermath of a flooded basement can be a whole lot of stress and a great blow to your wallet. But with the right investment, you can keep your basement nice and dry for many years to come, saving you from the potential trouble and headache. For over 60 years, ’58 Foundations has been helping homes like yours stay safe from the problems of water intrusion—our basement waterproofing systems have proven themselves effective and long-lasting! From drainage channels and sump pumps to repairing cracked or bowing basement walls, we have the expertise to keep your basement safe year after year, restoring your peace of mind. Call us today for a free basement waterproofing inspection and a detailed estimate!