Have you noticed water on the floor of your basement? Regardless of whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, noticing water in this area surely doesn’t make you happy. There are several potential reasons why your basement floor is leaking. Cracks in the walls or the floor, porous concrete or a cove joint leak can all be the culprits. However, a leaky cove joint is the most common cause of such issues.
Common Problems Caused By Leaky Basement Floors?
Water on your basement floor should not be ignored. Water that enters can wreak havoc all over the place, causing various problems. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.
Mold and Mildew
Water and mold go hand in hand. A mold and mildew presence is never good news since it leads to several other problems. For instance, if it grows on wooden floor joists, it can cause structural damage. In addition, airborne mold spores can quickly spread through your house creating health risks.
Addressing this problem on time is essential, otherwise, you may end up with health problems or expensive foundation repairs on your hands.
Uncomfortable Living Space and High Electric Bills
When you constantly battle with water on your basement floor, this area becomes unfunctional. This area is most commonly used for storage and with leaks, leaving your belongings down there will put them at risk. Furthermore, when that water begins to evaporate, it will cause an avalanche of other issues. It will lead to increased humidity levels and not just in the basement. Due to “stack effect”. humid air will rise and enter your living space, making it much less comfortable. Moreover, since your HVAC system will work much longer than it usually would, due to humidity levels, your bills will be higher.
Water on the floor will also invite unwanted guests, such as rats and insects who are looking for shelter with food and water. These creatures can not only make your place unsanitary but will cause various structural problems. Eventually, due to all of these issues, your home’s market value can drop.
What Causes a Leaky Basement Floor?
If your home has been damaged in some way, water might infiltrate your home. Of course, cracks make it easier for water to get in, but they are not the only reason why there is water in your basement. If you live in an extremely humid area or a significant amount of rain fell during the last couple of days, hydrostatic pressure around your home will increase and water will enter it. The same will happen if your property is poorly graded and rainwater constantly pools around your home.
Hydrostatic pressure can also push the water through the cove joint and into your basement. A cove joint is the area where your foundation walls meet the floor. Since these two structural elements are not built at the same time, the concrete that walls are made of and the concrete that footing is made of often do not create a cohesive water barrier. The water that gets through at this point due to hydrostatic pressure will end up in your basement. This is known as cove joint seepage.
Hydrostatic pressure is a force that pushes against your structural support when the soil around the foundation becomes overly saturated with rainwater. The water that accumulates around the foundation can cause your basement floor to expand and contract on a molecular level. This is known as the clay bowl effect. These motions, although invisible to the naked eye, can make your home endure a lot of stress and cause your concrete floor to crack and leak. When this happens, water gains an opportunity to enter your home faster, causing problems along the way.
Signs of a Leaky Basement
Not all homeowners go down to their basement daily. This is why sometimes water damage can go unnoticed for long periods. If you don’t want to go to your basement one day and find it moldy and damaged, you need to inspect it every now and then. Even if you do not see a crack in the floor, several signs will let you know your concrete floor has been damaged.
Mold thrives in damp and dark places and your humid basement checks all the boxes. If you go down to your basement and notice that mold has appeared in one part of it close to the floor, contact professionals in your area and have them inspect your foundation. Addressing the underlying problem is just as important as removing the mold. If you skip that step and do not fix the cracks, mold will appear over and over again, luring in insects and pests.
If you have a leak, your basement will start to smell musty. Because of increased moisture levels, your belongings will get damaged. You can expect damaged fabrics and wood rot, all of which smell nasty. If you want to find out whether there is a leak in your basement, follow your nose.
Humidity In Your Living Space
Humid air won’t remain in your basement. Instead, it will spread all over your home, increasing humidity levels in your living space. If you suspect that your basement has leaks, check your hygrometer. It will let you know whether something is off. If your internal humidity has suddenly skyrocketed, you may have a leak that is adding moisture to the air.
Insects and Rodents
Unfortunately, mold infestation is not the end of your problems. Many insects feed on mildew, so they will also move into your humid basement. Before you know it, rodents that eat those insects will also try to find a way in. As you can see, this problem can quickly snowball and soon your basement will become completely unsanitary. What is even worse, pests that live in your basement can also enter your living space in search of food. Preventing moisture problems can help you make your home much less attractive to insects and rodents. Therefore, if you notice that water is seeping through basement floor cracks, call your local contractor as soon as possible.
Severe Structural Problems
Leaking basement floors can compromise the structural stability of your home. Mold, insects, and humidity can severely damage the structure of your home, making it unsafe for you and your family. If you ignore telltale signs that your basement is exposed to moisture and water, problems regarding the structural elements of your home can escalate, multiply, and lead to a disaster. Failing to address these problems on time can even leave you without a roof over your head. This is a good argument for getting your basement cracks checked as soon as possible.
Lowered Home Value
Now that we have analyzed all the problems caused by a leaking basement, it is easy to see how they can affect the value of your home. After all, no one wants to buy a house with severe structural damage, or even mold and mildew in the basement. Nowadays, most buyers are looking for a turnkey home and not a fixer-upper that will take time and money, so if you are planning to sell your home in the future, make sure you keep it in the best possible shape.
To prevent water damage from happening and to increase your home’s value, waterproofing your basement is a must. Since cracks in your basement can lead to various problems, it is best to fix them right away. Being preventative about this sort of thing is your best strategy and will save you a lot of time, money, and nerves as well. Therefore, as soon as you notice water in your basement, or even just increased humidity levels, call your local contractors and see what they recommend.
Leaking Basement Floor
Cove joint seepage can cause numerous problems and endanger the health of your home and your loved ones. Therefore, it is an issue that should be addressed as soon as possible. Some waterproofing companies recommend sealing this joint. However, this is not a good solution. Let’s see why.
Problems with Sealing the Cove Joint
While it may seem like an easy fix that should keep water out of your basement, sealing the cove joint is not a good solution. In fact, it is only a short-term one. It will prevent leakage for some time, but it won’t address the hydrostatic pressure.
When this pressure increases in the near future due to a rainstorm or snowmelt, one of two things will happen. Either your walls won’t be able to endure the pressure anymore and will begin to crack, or, more likely, the sealant will be penetrated by water and completely removed. When the sealant becomes damaged, it will also become useless. Since this solution doesn’t address the hydrostatic pressure in any way, this force will keep causing basement leakage.
The Best Way to Address Cove Seepage
Sealing this gap is not a good solution, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any that will properly address this problem. By installing an interior drain system you can protect your home from water damage. This pipe is installed along interior basement walls and quickly collects water that comes in through the cove joint.
Unlike the exterior drainage system, this one doesn’t require any excavation and can be installed in just one day. Since it is placed out of the mud it is not prone to clogging issues. In addition, it is a more affordable solution that will also address wall seepage. The water that is collected is then directed into the sump pit, from where it leaves your home for good.
While leaky basement floors are most commonly a result of cove joint seepage, sometimes foundation cracks are the main culprit. These cracks are often a sign of foundation damage. In this case, schedule a foundation inspection and a professional will determine which solution will suit your home the most.
Problems with Concrete Patches
If there is a leak in your basement and you quickly want to patch it before more water enters this area, you can discuss using a concrete patch with your local contractor. However, keep in mind that these patches are just short-term solutions and they can only be used to buy you time while you explore more permanent options.
Furthermore, concrete patches do not address the underlying problem in any way. Foundation cracks can be a sign of settlement, a problem that needs to be urgently addressed. Otherwise, it can lead to various structural issues and even put the safety of you and your loved ones at risk.
If after inspection your contractor determines that your foundation has been severely damaged and has settled, installing foundation piers may be your best option. During the installation process professionals will excavate the soil around your foundation and then install the durable steel pier sections.
They will place them beneath the areas that have suffered the most damage. There are several types of piers, but they are all designed to support your foundation and even lift it toward its original position.
How Can I Keep My Basement Dry?
If you want to maintain a healthy and dry home, your best strategy is to prevent water leakage from happening at all. To ensure that water won’t come up through your concrete basement floor, install waterproofing solutions and schedule annual inspections. With a professional who will inspect your foundation every year, you can address problems such as cracks or leaks as soon as they appear, preventing them from causing further damage.
Preventing problems from appearing in the first place is a much better solution than fixing them every time they arise. Therefore, when you move into a new home, take the necessary steps to waterproof it, so you can be at ease knowing that it is protected against water damage.
With waterproofing measures you can keep water out of your basement, thereby avoiding expensive repairs. Some of the solutions we recommend are sump pumps, interior drains, as well as vapor barriers.
Sump Pump: If you have a problem with a leaking basement floor, installing a sump pump is a good option. Not only can this appliance remove water that has accumulated below your foundation and thereby relieve hydrostatic pressure but it can also remove any excess water that does end up in your basement. Here at Foundation Systems of Michigan, we offer high-quality Elite 365™ Sump Pump System that includes three pumps for the highest protection level of your basement.
Interior Drain: Concrete is porous, which means water will seep through it. An interior drain system can collect any water that comes in through the walls and cove joint and guide it into the sump pit. This type of system is clog-resistant and doesn’t require heavy excavation.
Vapor Barrier: The VaporLoc Elite® Basement Wall Vapor Barrier System will act as a vapor barrier and at the same time direct water that seeps in through the walls to your interior drainage system below.
As Michigan’s leading foundation specialists, we can help you tackle any problem regarding your basement. Whether you need waterproofing services or foundation repair, we are here for you. We offer everything from sump pumps and drainage systems to I-beam support, so call us today and schedule a free inspection and quote. Our services are available in the entire Lower Peninsula and the Eastern Upper Peninsula in Michigan, as well as in Northern Ohio and Toledo.