It is important to the health of your family that your basement is kept dry and the air quality at safe levels. Doing so can help preserve the structural integrity of your home and prevent additional problems.
Basement flooding is caused when water enters the basement environment. This can happen in a variety of ways; over the top of the foundation, through the cove joint (where the wall and floor meet), through leaking wall or floor cracks, through basement windows, through above grade issues like windows and siding, or plumbing issues.
Moisture can cause expensive damage, including rotting of support beams and floor joists. This decaying wood doesn’t just endanger the home’s structural integrity, but it can also be very attractive to unwanted pests, including termites and roaches. Furthermore, moisture in this area of the home can lead to growth of dangerous mold or mildew. This is a fungus that can grow on walls, floors, or ceilings, and it can make the home “like a basement”, which could lead to a variety of serious health problems. These issues can be avoided by making sure that an effective waterproofing system is installed to help keep it moisture-free.
Common Basement Problems
There are a number of ways water can enter your home and we have proven solutions for all of them. Continue on to identify the nature of your water infiltration issues so that you can learn about our solutions. OR feel free to contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our certified foundation consultants.
Leaking Wall Cracks
Wall cracks are the most common type of problem that we find in poured concrete foundations. A poured concrete foundation is vastly superior to walls constructed out of masonry block or bricks because it is inherently stronger and much easier and cost-effective to diagnose and repair when cracked. However, all concrete mixtures contain water, which evaporates during the curing process; this drying causes cracks to develop usually within the first three months of construction. The other cause of cracking is poor building techniques.
This is GOOD NEWS! It means that your foundation walls have all the cracks that they will ever have, unless there’s an underlying structural problem. There are many other theories that say hard winters, heavy rainstorms, and “continued settling” can continue to cause cracks, but unless you have movement in your foundation, you can set those tales aside. Think about it, there would be no sense in repairing cracks if they were going to continue to develop.
The BAD NEWS is that the cracks you have are getting worse! Even hairline cracks that aren’t leaking now are likely to leak at some point in the future. Why?
- Water is erosive and will continue to deteriorate the crack until it works its way to the inside of your home.
- When a wall cracks, there are two pieces of concrete that are tightly wedged together. This is significant because the expansion-contraction cycle of the ground can move those two pieces in opposing directions, causing the crack to open and most patches to fail.
The main way we can solve this problem is by implementing a wall crack repair method that will both seal the crack and prevent it from getting any larger.
Another common type of below grade issue is water entering your basement from the cove joint (where the wall and floor meet). When the ground gets saturated during heavy rainstorms, the water table under your foundation starts to rise, which is called hydrostatic pressure. This increase in pressure during a storm, or wet season, can force water through the cove joint. It will typically recede after the storm, leaving no trail or clue as to where the water infiltrated your basement. This type of problem is often the most difficult type to diagnose.
The heart of a basement waterproofing system is the sump pump. Your sump pump keeps water flowing away from your home. When it fails, the drain tile and window well drains will back up and the result could be several inches of water in your basement. That is why it is important to have a quality sump pump battery backup that you can count on when you need it most. For the ultimate peace of mind, see our Basement Defender System that will alert you BEFORE your sump system fails.
We offer a variety of different sump pump systems to ensure that you have adequate pumping capacity no matter the amount of rain.
Leaking Mortar Joints
Many homes in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana have foundation walls constructed of something other than poured concrete, such as cinder block, brick, stone, or even wood. Masonry foundations pose more of a challenge when it comes to keeping your basement dry because the walls are not solid. Instead the walls are constructed using mortar to hold the individual blocks or stones in place. Over time, this mortar will deteriorate and become less water resistant, allowing water to flow into your basement through the open joints between the blocks. Another major drawback with block walls is that water can enter one area of the foundation, run through the hollows of the blocks, and enter the basement on the interior several feet away from the point of exterior entry.
Windows can be great for allowing natural sunlight to brighten your basement, and they’re necessary for fire escape code if your basement is used for a living space. However they quickly become an issue when they fill up with water and spillover into your basement.
There are several reasons why a window well might fill up with water:
- They are not properly covered, which allows rain to pour into the well.
- The well has a dirt floor or walls that allow groundwater to seep in.
- The well does not have a drain or the drain becomes clogged by debris.
Window wells are not designed to act like a fish tank, which means that the water will likely leak into your basement causing damage to your personal belongings.
We have two solutions that assist in the prevention of leaking window wells. One is to install new window wells and a cover to disperse the water. Another is to install a drainage system in the window well to give the excess water a path out of the well before it can build up and spillover.
When the ground becomes saturated, hydrostatic pressure can build up under the basement floors and force water up through the cracks in the floor or through the cove joint. Most people think that they will just seal up the floor crack and cove joint to solve their problem. However, by sealing up those cracks and cove joints, you are damming up the water, causing more pressure to build under the floor. That pressure can lead to a buckled floor and some nasty cleanup and repair after the ensuing flood.
The permanent solution to this problem is to install a drainage system as well as a sump pump system to control the water table beneath the floor. One of our certified foundation consultants can provide you with a recommendation that is specifically designed for your home.
It is very common for basement floors to crack during the building process as the floor dries, just like poured concrete walls. This cracking does not usually cause any structural issues, it just may be an eyesore. If your basement floor is settling or sinking, it may be a sign that you have an underlying structural problem and you should have it looked at by one of our Certified Foundation Consultants right away to prevent more costly damage to the structure of your home.
Water Over Top of Foundation
Should you see water coming in over your basement walls, the first thing to do is to determine whether the source is below or above-grade (ground) level. Many times when water comes in at the top of the wall, it’s often caused by deteriorated caulking, tuckpointing, leaky windows or even a roof issue. If water penetrates the exterior of your home, it will likely run down through the hollow of your walls and spill over into your basement, without leaving a trace in your upstairs living space.
The most common way to determine if it’s a below-grade issue is to look at the spillover joint, where the top of the foundation wall meets the joists of the main floor. If the spillover joint is below grade, or underground, any time it rains and the ground becomes saturated water can spill over that joint and end up right in your basement.
The best way to determine whether you have a below-grade issue is to perform a water test. On a dry day, lay a hose on the ground (so nothing above ground gets wet) and run it for five to ten minutes if the ground is wet, but it may take twice as long if the ground is dry. If leakage occurs, one of our certified foundation consultants can provide solutions to permanently repair this problem.
We receive a lot of correspondence from homeowners wanting to know what this common basement problem is and what causes it. It shows up on your walls as layers of a white, flaky deposit. It’s powdery, and it’s found in all types of basement and crawl space environments.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Cement is a porous material and it absorbs moisture from the soil surrounding your home. It slowly releases the moisture into the below grade space through wall cracks. As the moisture moves through the concrete foundation, it also brings with it small bits of minerals from the soil, as well as lime from the cement material itself. When it evaporates, it will leave the sediment behind. As time passes, you will see the sediment in the form of a white-colored, flaky, powdery substance on your walls.
The only real solution to this problem is to prevent it from happening again. There are cleaners you can buy, or DIY mixture you can use to clean the material off the wall. However, this isn’t going to stop the problem from continuing. To put a stop to the problem once and for all, you will need to eliminate the source of moisture. There are a number of ways water can enter your home and we have proven solutions for resolving these issues.
Basement Water Solutions
Window well repair / installation
Resolved all issues with creative problem solving. Many years of experience by the gentleman who did the work (Aurilio?) was evident.
Would highly recommend.