Basement Water Seepage: 5 Causes and How to Fix Them

By HomeAdvisor

Updated November 22, 2016


Have a basement leak? Before you jump into repairs, make sure to pinpoint the exact cause of the leak. Here are five common causes and solutions to help you tackle basement water seepage:

Cause #1: Faulty landscaping

Poorly graded landscaping results in standing water around the outside of your home — which eventually seeps into your basement.

Solution: Graded landscaping

Use dirt to create a berm that slopes away from your home. Properly graded landscaping will eliminate standing water and basement leakage. French drains and gutter extensions are additional tools to help you keep water away from your home.

Cause #2: Leaky pipes

Sometimes unwanted moisture comes from older or damaged plumbing. While these repairs may seem simple, some leaks are indicators of a larger problem.

Solution: Hire a professional plumber

Depending on the seriousness of your leaks, your faulty plumbing could be the result of a larger problem. A pro will be able to identify your leaks and make all necessary repairs.

Cause #3: Hydrostatic pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is the upward flow of groundwater through saturated soil. As water rises, pressure builds under your foundation — forcing water through tiny cracks in your basement floor.

Solution: Install drainage tiles

Indoor and outdoor drainage systems are important in eliminating pressure-related leakage. Installation of indoor or outdoor drainage systems usually requires a contractor and considerable amounts of work. Before investing in a drainage system — also known as drainage tiles — consult with a professional to pinpoint the exact cause of your leakage and determine the appropriate solution. 

Cause #4: Lateral pressure

Lateral pressure is the result of soil absorption. As the soil surrounding your basement absorbs water, it expands — causing your basement walls to crack.

Solution: Polyurethane or sodium bentonite

If the cracks in your basement walls are easily accessible from the inside, inject the cracks with an expandable polyurethane. If the cracks are only reachable from the outside, dig down to the site of the crack and the fill the hole with sodium bentonite clay. 

Cause #5: Window wells

Clogged window wells fill with water and eventually drain into your basement.

Solution: Clear window well debris

Clean out your window well drains to ensure there’s no blockage from debris.

Regardless of the cause of your leak, have a professional complete your repairs. Attempting these solutions alone could result in additional damage to your home.

Need a trusted home improvement pro? HomeAdvisor has you covered.

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