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How Do Basements Leak



I can’t tell you how frequently I hear “my basement never leaked before” from Twpconstruction customers in the Toronto area. Of course they want to know why it should be leaking now and many hope that perhaps their leak was a onetime aberration and it won’t happen again so they don’t have to do anything right now. If there is one thing that I know as a certainty, it is that if your basement has leaked once and has not been repaired by waterproofing, you will have a wet basement again in the future.
In my experience all basements will leak eventually and that observation is reinforced by the insurance industry which doesn’t protect homeowners from foundation leakage. We all know that they won’t take a risk on covering losses that they know will happen. A wet basement is a certainty in time. A variety of factors can contribute to your wet basement. These include plugged exterior drainage tiles or the absence of these completely, property grading, environmental factors such as seasonally high water tables or heavy rains, cracks from settling or the construction process, and so on.
So why did you have a wet basement this time? As a Twpconstruction professional waterproofer, I can assess the factors present in your individual home and thoroughly explain the nature of the problem and the proposed solution to you. I thoroughly review all contributing factors and present the best possible modern basement waterproofing technologies to achieve a dry living space. With a Twpconstruction expert remediation, you can truthfully say “I have a DRY basement” and isn’t that what we all really want in our homes.

Understanding Your Wet Basement

You don’t have to have a degree in physics and understanding your wet basement is not rocket science. I’ve learned that it is a matter of simple common sense understanding about the nature of water and what water will do. Here are two helpful observations for you to consider about you wet basement problem. First, water will always flow to the lowest point and build up or fill up from there, increasing its pressure. Second, water will always follow the path of least resistance.
Let me illustrate using a couple of simple examples. When you pour water from one object, say a pitcher, to another, a glass, it fills from the bottom of the glass, the lowest point where it meets resistance, to the top. The same is true with your home’s basement. The water from the ground or from rainfall and melting snow flows and accumulates at the bottom of the original hole dug to accommodate your home. The backfilled ground around your home is always less compacted than the undisturbed surrounding land and the water finds its way to the lowest point- the footing of your foundation. There, like the glass, it begins to build up filling the available space. If your basement is unfinished you may be able to chart the height that water has reached in the past by examining the efflorescence and water marks visible on the walls.
Builders used various methods to carry the accumulated water away- most commonly weeping tile systems. These work for a time until silts, tree roots, etc. clog them giving the water no place to flow so that it continues to build up pressure and height. This brings me to my second observation: Water always follows the path of least resistance. It takes the easiest way to travel to the lowest point. I like to remember those times at the beach when you’d build a sandcastle with a moat, fill it with water and then watch with dismay as the water broke through at a point of weakness in your walls. Like the Canadian beaver you had to continually rebuild and reinforce your walls because the water always found the point of weakness, a path it had travelled before, an easier way out. That’s the case with your wet leaky basement. Deterioration at the floor-wall joint, cracks in concrete or block walls, or poorly plugged tie rod holes for example can all provide easy, unrestricted access for water. And, the water is bound to find it.