The first question nearly every customer asks is Why is my basement leaking now when it never has before? The major problem with builders, architects, and engineers in terms of design is most abide by township and state codes that are not written to assure you a dry basement later on down the line. In most cases, you can look and see that your interior and exterior basement walls do not have a rubber membrane that acts as a protector against water. And, more likely than not, your basement floor is not protected below the concrete slab to manage hydrostatic pressure. Without this protection, groundwater will enter your basement at the footer joint due to pressure from the earth on your walls. This could explain the following: according to the Home Inspection Census > 98% of all basements will eventually leak due to builder neglect.
Basement leaks can be a source of significant frustration for homeowners, and understanding why they occur is crucial to addressing the issue effectively. In many cases, the root cause of basement leaks can be traced back to construction practices and the absence of certain protective measures during the initial building process. While homeowners often wonder why their basements are leaking now when they never have before, the answer frequently lies in the lack of proper basement waterproofing and drainage systems that are essential for keeping basements dry. This article will delve deeper into the factors contributing to basement leaks and the critical role of proper design and construction in preventing these issues.
One of the primary reasons for basement leaks is the lack of proper waterproofing. Many builders, architects, and engineers adhere to building codes that may not prioritize basement waterproofing as a primary concern. Building codes are often designed with safety in mind, but they may not comprehensively address the unique challenges of basement construction.
To address this issue, it is essential to incorporate waterproofing measures into the basement’s construction plan. A rubber membrane, applied to both the interior and exterior basement walls, serves as a protective barrier against water intrusion. Proper waterproofing materials and techniques are key to ensuring the longevity and durability of the basement structure.
Basements are particularly susceptible to hydrostatic pressure, which is the force exerted by groundwater against the foundation walls and basement floor. Without adequate protection and drainage systems in place, this pressure can force water into the basement through various entry points.
To manage hydrostatic pressure effectively, it is crucial to install drainage systems such as sump pumps and French drains. These systems help divert water away from the foundation and into appropriate outlets, preventing water from accumulating and seeping into the basement. Proper grading around the foundation can also help mitigate the effects of hydrostatic pressure.
The joint between the basement floor and foundation walls, known as the footer joint, is a common entry point for water. Without proper protection and sealing, this joint is prone to leakage, especially when subjected to pressure from the surrounding soil.
To address this vulnerability, it is essential to seal the footer joint with waterproofing materials and membranes. Ensuring a tight seal in this area is crucial for preventing water infiltration and maintaining a dry basement.
As mentioned in the original paragraph, builder neglect is a significant contributor to basement leaks. Many builders may prioritize cost savings over proper waterproofing and drainage measures, leading to issues down the line.
Homeowners should be proactive in selecting builders and contractors who prioritize high-quality construction practices and waterproofing measures. It’s crucial to request and review the construction plans to ensure that adequate waterproofing and drainage systems are incorporated.
Even with proper initial construction, basement leaks can occur over time due to wear and tear, shifts in the soil, and the natural aging of the building materials. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are essential to prevent and address these issues.
Homeowners should invest in routine inspections and maintenance to identify potential issues before they become major problems. Prompt repairs and updates to the waterproofing and drainage systems can extend the life of the basement and prevent future leaks.
In conclusion, the question of why a basement is leaking now when it hasn’t before often boils down to construction practices and the absence of essential waterproofing and drainage measures. Builders, architects, and engineers should prioritize these measures during the design and construction phases to ensure a dry basement for years to come. Homeowners must be vigilant in selecting reputable builders and investing in maintenance and repairs to prevent and address basement leaks effectively. Understanding the factors contributing to basement leaks is the first step toward ensuring a dry and functional basement space.
Most professionals will agree that the best way to relieve hydrostatic pressure is from the interior as opposed to the exterior. A pressure relief system or French Drain is installed below the floor around the perimeter of the basement floor. The deeper and wider you dig the better the outcome. Aqua Dry Basement Waterproofing will ensure that your French Drain has the necessary 2″ pitch for every 50 feet.
Regardless of what you read or what you are told, a sump pump is completely useless unless it works together with a pressure relief system. The French Drain will collect the excess water and the sump pump will extradite the water away from your home. The average 1/3 horsepower sump pump installed by Aqua Dry Waterproofing will manage approximately 2,400 gallons of water per hour. One sump pump is more than sufficient in most cases but depending on the size of your basement you may need multiple sump pumps installed. An industry rule of thumb suggests one sump pump for every 100 linear feet with a battery backup system in case your home experiences a power outage.
Wall cracks and bulges in interior basement foundation walls occur more frequently in older structures, newly constructed buildings are not immune to them. Soil that pushes against your structure walls settle at different rates and expands and contracts throughout the year depending on both the season and hydrostatic pressure of the false water table. There are several warning signs that the everyday homeowner may not see that the professionals at Aqua Dry Basement Waterproofing find with a proper inspection. The longer you wait the more expensive the repairs can become.
Most homeowners do not fully understand the potential hazards that mold and fungal exposure can have on your health. While molds are often deemed toxic or non-toxic, some non-toxic molds can produce secondary metabolites that can produce toxins. Our waterproofing professionals at Aqua Dry Basement Waterproofing refer to these hazards as mycotoxins, which can harm one’s health and home. Symptoms include illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, learning disabilities, heart problems, and chronic fatigue to name a few. If your basement has that “musty smell” and often seems damp in nature you may have mycotoxins in the air.
A thermal armor vapor barrier will not only isolate wall condensation and save you energy but it is 100% Mold Free. This tax deductible barrier is becoming the new standard as it is designed to act as a non-delaminate insulator so you will never have to worry about deterioration. Its counterpart, standard fiberglass, can and often will deteriorate putting out air borne filaments.
The Oldest Trick in the Book If you suffer from the “musty basement smell” your best bet is to install a state-of-the-art self-sufficient dehumidifier. A decade ago you would need 5 dehumidifiers to maintain 2,000 square feet of basement at 42% R/H. With recent advances in energy star rated products you now can use one unit at 5 times less the cost of electricity that empties itself. A dehumidification system installed by Aqua Dry Basement Waterproofing will allow you to control the relative humidity. Keep in mind that rain is not the only cause of a wet basement.