Maybe it’s laundry day or time to bring out the lawn furniture. Or, maybe you just need a screwdriver or a bucket. So, it’s into the basement you go.
You flip on the light, go down the stairs, step in a puddle, head for the washing machine or the tool box…wait a minute – you stepped in a puddle?
Looking down, you see that it’s not a small puddle, either, but one that is spreading across the basement floor, soaking into boxes of stuff you have stored and collecting under the appliances. Panicky, you check the washer, the sink and the water heater – nope, nope and nope. No leaks.
Face it, my friend, water is coming into the basement. Maybe it’s been a period of heavy rain, maybe all the snow melting from last winter, maybe settling of the house opened up a crack but whatever the cause, whatever the source, the only thing that’s going to stop it is basement waterproofing.
Water can come into a basement in a number of ways:
Wall Crack – The most common source of water in a poured concrete basement is a non-structural crack in the wall. These cracks can be caused by settling of the foundation or lateral pressure against the wall created by over-saturated soil outside.
Cove Joint – When the foundation walls are initially formed on the footings there is a tiny space left in between that is called the cove joint. Hydrostatic pressure under the foundation can force water through this joint and into the basement between the wall and the floor. This pressure can also push water into the basement through cracks in the floor.
Wall Seepage – Poured concrete walls can allow water to come into the basement through porous concrete or over the top of the wall; masonry foundations admit water through bad mortar joints or porous masonry units like brick or concrete block.
Windows and Window Wells – A poorly fitted basement window can allow water to come into the basement. A window well without a drain (or with a chronically clogged one) will fill with water and put pressure against even a good window that can result in seepage. Also, a window well liner that has separated from the foundation can allow ground water to seep into the window well and then into the basement.
There are several methods to stop water from coming into the basement:
Crack Repair – Cracks in a poured concrete wall can be permanently filled and sealed by injecting them with expanding polyurethane. In a finished basement or spot where the crack is inaccessible, it is repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay.
Interior Drain Tile – Interior drain tile, perforated pipe buried in washed gravel beneath the basement floor, can stop water coming into the basement through the cove joint or cracks in the floor by relieving hydrostatic pressure and transporting ground water to a sump pump for removal.
Exterior Waterproofing – Water coming into the basement through porous walls or bad mortar joints can be prevented by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane, a heavy coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane, with a trowel to the exterior foundation walls. Exterior drain tile can be added, along with drainage board to protect the membrane and move water downward.
Window and Window Well Replacement/Repair – New window well drains can be installed and faulty windows and window wells replaced to prevent water from coming into the basement around windows.
Regardless of the source or the repair, when water is coming into the basement, you’re going to need an experienced basement waterproofing contractor to properly diagnose and solve the problem. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been stopping the flow of water into basements around Chicagoland, southeastern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana since 1957 and have already helped more than 300,000 satisfied customers. So, why not ask for our free advice?
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