Is basement seepage normal? No.
Here is all about above and groundwater seepage in basements.
Basements offer useful spaces to homeowners, but unfortunately, they are located at the lowest point of the home, and that makes them prone to water seepage and damage.
A lot of times, people aren’t even sure where the leakages are coming from, and by the time they figure it out, a lot of damage might have already been done to their property.
This is a problem a lot of homeowners face, but thankfully, we are here to discuss the problem.
In this article, I’ll be talking about basement seepage, the causes, and solutions.
Water Seepage In Basement
Basement water seepage is the passage of outdoor water through small cracks and spaces in the foundation, into the basement. This happens mostly when there is heavy rainfall, or when large amounts of snowmelt.
When this happens, the level of groundwater increases and rests by the foundation. If there are cracks in-between, then the water will slowly seep through and enter your basement.
Water doesn’t need large holes to flow through, as even the spaces in the tiniest cracks are enough to let water in.
If the water isn’t removed quickly, it can damage your furniture and the overall structure of your basement. The leftover moisture can also create a perfect breeding environment for dangerous mold to grow.
Removing a large mold infestation could cost you hundreds of dollars while repairing the damage done to furniture or other structures could cost thousands.
For this reason, you must take water seepage seriously and make sure it doesn’t occur or re-occur.
Signs of Water Seepage & Leaks
Some cracks in your foundation are so small that you may not notice them on time. Thankfully, some signs tell you that water seepage is taking place in your basement.
Below are the signs you need to look out for.
Poor indoor air quality:
When there is excess moisture in your basement, you will notice that the indoor air feels humid. This takes away the freshness of the basement, and it is very noticeable once you walk in.
Mold growth: As I have mentioned before, basement moisture creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. Mold spores are flying basically everywhere, and they need moist and warm environments to land and grow their colonies.
If you notice mold growth on your basement floors, walls, or ceiling, then that’s a clear sign that water is seeping in from outside.
Musty smells: When moisture is lodged in your cushions or carpet, you will begin to perceive some dampness. This smell isn’t harmful so to say, but it isn’t pleasant either.
Mold growth can also produce musty smells, so even if you can’t see the mold, the smell will tell you that they are present somewhere in your basement. And this is a result of water seepage in the first place.
Visible cracks in your basement walls: While some cracks may be small and hidden, others are large and very visible. When water constantly seeps through the walls, it will begin to develop these cracks.
In addition to this, water seepage can also cause your wall paint to warp and peel off. This will leave your walls looking aesthetically unpleasant.
Watermarks: Water flowing from outside will carry as many dirt particles as it can along the way. If the particles are small enough to seep through with the water, then you will notice them around the affected areas of your basement.
Besides the dirt particles, water can also leave stain patches on your basement walls or ceiling.
Rust: If there are corrosive materials in your basement, they too can be affected by water seepage.
Rust marks are the most common signs in this regard.
Standing water in your basement: This is the most obvious sign of water seepage in your basement. The more the water passes through, the larger the pool it forms.
If you are away from your home for a long period, then you will return to find large pools of water near the areas that are cracked.
What Causes Basement Leaks?
There are several causes of leaky basements. Each cause has its own repair option.
Also, Water can seep through your basement for many reasons.
Let’s take a look at some of them below.
One of the most common causes of basement leaks is cracks in your foundation. These cracks don’t just appear on their own, they have their own causes too.
Hydrostatic pressure is one of such causes. This is when groundwater pushes against the foundation walls, and the constant pressure over time begins to push through the walls.
Of course, the walls will begin to give in at some point, and that is when the cracks will begin to form.
Shrinkage can also cause cracks in your basement floors, which will in turn cause leaks. In this case, the poured walls and floors dried up faster than normal and caused the concrete to shrink. Shrinkage is common with newly built homes.
Settling too can cause leaky basements. This is when the ground under the basement floor is compressed under the weight of the poured concrete. The more it compresses, the larger the cracks that are formed.
Leaks in basement walls and floors can leave water in corner of basements. The pool of water may have also come from the cracks in the foundation.
If your yard is slanted towards your home, then it will direct rainwater towards your foundation. If the water lodges there for long periods, it will begin to soften up the structure and find its way through the concrete pores, and eventually into the basement.
Leaking pipes in the basement boils down to faulty plumbing. This could be from your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. The smallest leak in a pipe is enough to allow water to drip through and flood the basement over time.
A drain pipe is built to collect water and channel it away into the main drainage system. However, if the drainpipe is clogged with dirt and other materials, water will not be able to flow properly.
In this case, the water will not flow properly, instead, it will begin to seep through the foundation walls, the basement floor, or the cove joints.
If your basement has windows, then it may serve as an entry point for water. This is most especially when the window wells are in poor condition.
Your window wells are meant to collect rainwater and keep it away from your basement. If it is clogged, then the rainwater will overflow and begin to trickle into your basement gradually.
Typically, manufacturers build windows to prevent water from coming into your home, but heavy storms can compromise them, especially if they are old and in bad shape.
A clogged window well can also allow water in, as it won’t be able to drain properly. When the water gathers up in the wells, it will eventually flow around your basement windows and into the basement.
Why Water Leak Is Bad For Your Basement
Having pools of water in your home is a terrible situation. This can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, as well as the formation of efflorescence.
Sadly, mold growth in your basement isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it also has negative effects on human health. Mold is allergenic and toxic and can cause severe respiratory problems.
Mold removal can also e a headache for homeowners. Cleaning a mold-infested carpet, wall, floor, or ceiling can all be stressful. Professional mold inspection isn’t free either.
To add to that, water seepage puts members of your home at risk of an electric shock if they make contact with a soaked electrical appliance. Moist appliances can also lead to a fire outbreak.
Another reason basement seepage is bad is that it can attract insects and other pests into your space. Cockroaches, carpenter ants, and the likes all love moist areas, and a damp basement is just right for them.
As if that isn’t enough, water seepage can also do some serious damage to your structure. Excessive moisture can cause foundation sinking or settlement, and if left unattended, will lead to a building collapse.
Wooden joists supporting your foundation will be soaked and begin to rot over time, and will no longer be able to hold the weight of the structure.
This is a situation you don’t want to be in, as lives may be lost in the event.
Basement seepage is a big issue that must be resolved if you want your structure and your belongings to remain in good condition.
Be sure to identify the signs of seepage, and hire a professional to do the fixes.
Thanks for reading!
- How To Tell Where Water Is Coming Into Basement
- Basement Water Damage: Signs, Causes, And Repair [Mitigation]
- 10 Leaky Basement Repair Options To Stop Water Seepage
- Basement Leaks Where Wall Meets Floor [Seal Cove Joint]