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Leaky Basement? The Problem Could Be Your Gutters

Water droplets, puddles of water & mold in your basement could be a sign that your gutters aren't working properly. Find out how these are related here.

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When your Michigan basement starts leaking, it can be hard to pinpoint the source. If you’re seeing pools of water in your basement, it must be because of poor construction, right? Well sometimes, there are other factors that play a huge role in why your basement begins to leak. Here are some of them.

It All Comes Down To Your Gutters 

While bad construction may also be the culprit, broken or bad quality gutters have a huge impact on the health of your basement. Properly functioning gutters safely create a passageway for rainwater and snowmelt to drain away from your home. When they incur damage, water is free to pool around your foundation, setting problems into motion.  

Warning Signs of A Basement Leak: 

  • Condensation droplets on your ceiling, walls, or egress windows 
  • Cracks and bowing walls 
  • Puddles  
  • Mold and mildew formation 
  • A damp, muggy environment 
  • Musty smells permeating from your basement 

Here’s Why Gutters Matter

The root cause of basement leakage has to do with the soil surrounding it. When it’s too saturated with water, it exerts pressure upon your basement walls. This process is known as hydrostatic pressure. In places where there’s a lot of precipitation (rain or snow), hydrostatic pressure can be a big problem for homes.

This rings true in Michigan where the annual snowfall amounts to 64 inches. Melt periods can be overwhelming for your soil; hydrostatic pressure can crack and bow your basement walls, leading to leaks, mold, and musty smells.

Your gutters can act as your first line of defense against hydrostatic pressure; that’s why it’s important to make sure they’re in good shape.

Ways That Gutters Can Malfunction

  • Gutter clogging 
  • Leaking gutter joints 
  • Bowing due to overwhelming weight from rain and gutter clog 
  • Unlevel gutters 
  • Downspouts too close to your foundation 
  • Rusting, causing leakage 
  • Development of ice dams 

Protecting Your Gutters Protects Your Basement, Too

By being proactive about water management in and around your home, you can prevent basement leakage before it gets worse or even has the chance to arise.  

Gutter Guard Systems

Gutter Guard systems are a solution for gutters that frequently clog. This solution typically comes in the form of perforated gutter covers. The openings in the gutter guard allow water to trickle through, and are small enough to block from debris from entering it. This successfully works to avoid clogging and water overload, which would ultimately lead to pooling and trenching around your gutters.  

Gutter guards also ease up the burden of cleaning by making it harder for your roof and gutter to collect debris. If things are stuck on top of your gutter guard, it will still be easier to remove, since you won’t have to dig inside of the gutter.  

Downspout extensions 

Unfortunately since downspouts are traditionally placed so close to the home, this predisposes your basement to flood as all of the water being caught in your gutter comes  

Downspout extensions, known as FSM’s YardGuardTM, is an extended pipe attached to your downspout that discreetly transports water far away from your home’s foundation, preventing basement leaks.  

Specialty Gutters 

Since most gutters are made from aluminum and steel, they can be prone to rusting over time. That’s why so many homeowners are opting for specialty gutters made of rust-proof materials. Galvalume and copper are just two extremely effective metals used to create specialty gutters. Since copper is naturally a rust-resistant metal, it’s the perfect material to use for your gutters. Galvalume is a manmade specialty gutter solution that can last over 70 years on your home if maintained regularly. Galvalume is a steel gutter material with aluminum and zinc coatings. The combination creates protection from rust and corrosion. 

frequently asked questions

Since foundation and basement problems only get worse with time, you should never wait to fix a leak in your basement. Not only does the leak point to other severe and potentially structurally compromising issues in your home, but it has other adverse effects on the quality of your home.  

Not to mention, fixing your basement or even fully finishing it will increase the property value of your home over time. If you ever try to sell, you may be able to get a return on your investment. If you never sell, you still have a safe and dry basement to enjoy.  

Though you may not experience frequent leaking and flooding in your basement, heavy rains can completely engulf the soil around your home and infiltrate into your basement. With the proper basement waterproofing solutions and working gutters, rain won’t be a problem. 

When your gutter is clogged, there are many offbeat ways that your home will try to tell you. You may notice stains on the side of your home, pests gathering in or near your roof, or even plants growing from your gutter. Most notably, if you know that you haven’t cleaned your gutter in a long time, then it’s very likely it has become clogged.  

Without constant protection provided by some sort of gutter guard system, you will need to do routine maintenance to your gutters. It’s recommended to clean out your gutters at least twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. If you have large trees in your yard towering over your home, you’ll need to clean them out more often.

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    A Decade of Expertise: FSM Has Your Gutter’s Solution 

    Since we specialize in both gutter repair and basement waterproofing, we know how to make these systems work together for a safer home. We provide free, whole-home inspections to get to the root of your home’s issues, then stop it at the source.  

    Deciding to protect your home is an investment that will keep on giving; but we understand that it’s a big decision. That’s why we offer no-obligation quotes as well, so you can feel confident in choosing us. We’re proud to be Michigan’s staple in gutter repair, basement waterproofing, and more. Schedule your first appointment in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and more.  

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