The basement in the average residential home is under constant pressure. From above, there is the downward force applied by the weight of the home's structure, furnishings, and finishes. From underneath the floor and along the exterior basement walls, there is constant pressure from natural soil movement, as well as from rainwater, melting snow, and sometimes floodwater.
With this level of constant pressure, it becomes easy to see why basements are subject to cracking and the formation of leaks. But basements can also spring a leak for other reasons, including aging, poor concrete quality, damage from vibrations and impacts, infiltration of tree roots, and damage from storms or wind.
It can be especially troubling for homeowners to realize that a basement that is currently dry can still be subject to the development of leaks in the future. Homeowners who are struggling with wet basements or concerned about what they might need to do to address future water infiltration issues will want to consider the following three options.
1. Improving exterior drainage
Installing a drainage system around the exterior of the basement allows approaching water to be collected and moved away before it can reach and attempt to infiltrate the exterior walls or floor of the basement's structure. Most basement waterproofing companies combine this type of drainage system with the application of heavy-duty sealants and membranes to further limit the ability of moisture to come into contact with the basement walls.
2. Adding interior drainage
Basements that cannot be easily cured of water infiltration problems, such as those that have become porous with age, can use the addition of interior drainage options to help manage the problem more easily. Popular interior drainage systems usually include the creation of channels along the base of the interior basement walls that collect moisture and send it to a collection point where an automatic sump pump removes the water from the basement through pipes connected to the home's drain system.
3. Sealing and fortifying cracks
In situations where the basement is just beginning to leak through one or more visible cracks in the floor or walls, homeowners may be able to successfully address the problem through the application of sealants or by injecting epoxy or expanding foam to fill the crack and resist water infiltration. While sealants, foams, and epoxies can provide immediate help in restricting water infiltration, more intensive steps will likely be needed to provide a permanent solution.
Homeowners who have additional questions and concerns should discuss their situation with a basement waterproofing service in their area.