Heavy rain can be great for certain plants in your garden or the overall health of your landscape. But it’s not a pleasing scenario to see rainwater entering your basement. If water is leaking into your basement after heavy rain, what can you do? We have consulted with plumbing experts to give you the answer to that problem and here’s what they say.
The first step is to locate the source of the leak. The correct solution to this problem depends on the cause. Some of your options include cleaning the gutters, improving soil grading, and repairing window wells.
Following the proper steps to seal basement water leaks can help minimize the damage and prevent this problem from reoccurring. Read further to learn more about the causes of rainwater leaking into basements and the methods to follow to repair and prevent the leakage.
What Causes Rainwater Leaking Into My Basement?
An inch of rain falling on the roof of a house will contain about 1,250 gallons of water. Without proper sealing, a significant amount of rainwater can enter the basement.
Some of the causes of rainwater leaking into a basement are as follows:
- Dirty gutters: Clogged gutters can redirect the flow of rainwater, causing basement floods.
- Poorly graded soil: Improper landscaping may let water drain into the foundation, which will lead it to the basement.
- Window well gaps: Spaces in basement windows can allow water to enter the area.
How Do I Stop Rain Water From Coming Into My Basement?
After finding the cause of rainwater leaking into your basement, use the right solution to fix the issue. Read each of the following points to know which solution fits best with your current needs.
Cleaning Dirty Gutters
It’s relatively easy to clean gutters. You only need to use a stepladder and use gloves to remove debris in the gutters. A garden trowel also comes in handy to remove stubborn debris from gutters.
Install gutter guards after this DIY cleaning project to help protect them from accumulating clog-causing debris.
Improving Soil Grading
Some yards may look level, but they invite water to come into your basement. Soil gradation impacts compressibility, shear strength, and water retention capabilities. Poorly graded soil can create unwanted water flow, which can lead to basement floods.
Improve your garden’s soil grading with the following steps:
- Wet your yard using a hose or wait until the rain passes. Check for locations of standing water in the garden and mark them with a wooden stake.
- If the marked areas create puddles after pressing on them, water might start flowing into your basement.
- Dig the marked areas and set the soil aside temporarily.
- Remove ground covering from the house. Make sure that the removal has a distance of about 10 feet.
- Fill the dug-out area with better quality topsoil than the ground that has been removed recently.
- Pack the soil down to settle it.
- After the soil settles, add another 2 inches of topsoil.
- Raise the soil until it reaches about 6 inches its original height. You should create a slope that has a 6-inch slant that spans approximately 10 feet from the house.
- Roll the locations with the additional soil. Use a lawn roller while walking the tool back and forth in the areas with the packed-down soil.
- Water the newly packed soil with a garden hose.
- Replant the landscaping.
Installing Fitted Window Well Cover
A window well cover will help keep rainwater, along with leaves and pests, outside your basement. Here are the steps to install this piece of equipment:
- Measure the width and depth of the basement window.
- Purchase an appropriately sized window well cover.
- Center the cover over the basement window. Make sure that its back edge fits snuggly against the exterior wall.
- Mark a 4- to 6-inch allowance from the wall on the window well cover with a pen or painter’s tape.
- Remove the window cover.
- Place a 2 x 4-inch piece of wood beneath the cover. Ensure that the small wooden plank aligns with the marked areas.
- Drill a hole in the marked areas, bypassing the plastic material and the wood.
- Fasten the clips that should come with the cover.
- Test the fit of the cover to ensure security.
Why Does Water Come Up Through My Basement Drain When It Rains?
Heavy rains can back up water from municipal plumbing systems, causing water to come up through a basement’s drain. Sewage wastes can also accompany the backed-up water, making basements filthy and smelly.
Installing backflow preventers and regular maintenance of plumbing lines connected to the basement can help avert this problem.
Is A Wet Basement A Problem?
A little moisture in your basement won’t be a significant cause for concern. But seeing large pools of water in your basement needs immediate action. Excessive moisture in the space can increase the risks of water damage to certain items such as unprotected oil paintings and oil furniture.
Additionally, moisture can also invite pests like millipedes and crickets. If you want to learn more about preventing insects from entering your basement, check out our post on How To Prevent Bugs In A Basement Apartment.
Can You Fix A Leaky Basement From The Inside?
Homeowners without adequate knowledge or understanding about indoor plumbing should rely on professionals to fix a leaky basement from the inside. But if you know how to determine and fix the leak yourself, it can be a low-cost DIY project.
To repair a leaky basement from inside the living space, you’ll need to do the following steps:
1. Find the Source of Leak
In certain cases, it’s relatively easy to determine the source of the leak. You only need to search for a pool of water in your basement and look for cracks or holes in the floor or wall nearby. But if you find it more challenging than usual to find the source of the leak, you can do a condensation test.
This investigation requires you to attach a reasonably large piece of tin foil onto your basement’s wall. Leave the material stuck to the wall for a full day. Remove the tin foil the next day.
Take a look at the direction in which the water vapor condenses the material. If the results are unclear, you may need to repeat the test until you find the source of the leak.
2. Seal the Crack
After finding the source of the leak, use the appropriate seal to close the crack or hole. Basements that use concrete for their walls should use a hydraulic cement seal. Another way to stop the leak is to use a waterproof silicone caulk. However, it can be challenging to seal wide gaps in pipes and walls using silicone caulk.
3. Seal the Masonry
Since the leak is from the inside, you’ll also need to close the interior walls in your basement. This product will help secure the seal used in the crack, preventing further leakage. Some sealants can also help inhibit dangerous gases from entering your basement.
Sealing causes of cracks in a basement can also help regulate the temperature in the living space. Read our post on The Ideal Temperature For A Basement for more information about the model level of warmth and coolness in a basement.
How Much Would It Cost To Fix A Leaking Basement?
The costs to fix leaks and other plumbing issues in a basement range from $125 to $800, depending on the severity of the issue. Leaky pipes have an average cost of $250.
The expenses can include professional services, which provide expert assistance in detecting the source of the leak. Other cases such as repairing a sump pump do have average costs of about $495.
Find the source of the water leaking into the basement. Some of the reasons for basement leaks are clogged gutters, poorly graded soil, and window well gaps. It can be a good idea to search for the source immediately after heavy rain.
Once found, use the appropriate methods to repair the cause of the leak. The right techniques can also reduce the risks of the problem reoccurring.