Wet Basement Repair Options
The right option for solving your wet basement problem depends on both the cause of the leakage and your foundation materials. At M&K Renovations, our contractors are experts at determining which option will best cure your basement woes here in the Greater Philadelphia area.
What can cause a wet basement?
The main causes of a wet basement are excess groundwater runoff, groundwater saturation, damaged drainage lines or pipes, or the aquifer level.
If your water problem seems to be seasonal, chances are your issue is either groundwater runoff or saturation. Water runoff occurs especially after storms and when a significant snowfall melts. Saturation means the soil itself is waterlogged, resting on your exterior walls, and gradually seeping into your basement. In southeast PA and the Philadelphia area, we tend to be dryer during the mid-summer months, so the ground has time to dry up, but the spring is particularly soggy. If this is when you get the most water, this is probably your issue.
If your problem is year-round and is not around the perimeter of the basement, we can look for leaks in pipes. However, sometimes leaks coming from elsewhere may take a path of least resistance that is farther away from the wall, so we need to consider other causes.
Because of an explosion of building in our area, many houses have been built in areas previously undeveloped where the aquifer is very close to the surface. If your basement is near or below an aquifer, you will likely experience a perpetually-wet basement.
On rare occasions, the cause of a wet basement might actually be a leak higher up in the house – possibly even from the roof and attic, finding its way down the walls of the house into the basement. So if the answer does not seem obvious to us, we look outside the box to find the real culprit before causing you to spend money on what might be the problem but ultimately isn’t. We’re homeowners, too, and we treat our clients as we’d like to be treated.
Exterior options for repairing your wet basement
We will look carefully at where the water is coming from and how to best draw it away from your home. Sometimes the issue of saturated soil is as simple as water pouring off the roof and pooling near the foundation. A good gutter and downspout system may be the most effective and least expensive solution for a wet basement problem.
All downspouts should carry water at least six feet from your foundation, and depending on your yard, a French drain can be installed. This is an outdoor buried drain attached to the downspout designed to carry water away from the building. This is an aesthetic alternative when you don’t want a six-foot-long downspout sticking out into your yard.
Your home should sit on a “crown” of soil, with the soil sloping away from the house at least 6 inches over the course of 10 feet in all directions. As long as the soil will not reach the level of your siding, adding a gentle slope in the landscaping around your house could solve a groundwater runoff problem.
If your home is situated partway down a hill, you may need a curtain drain, a shallow trench filled with gravel and perforated piping uphill from your home, which will intercept the water and carry it away from your foundation.
The most expensive and invasive option is waterproofing the exterior walls. This requires digging a trench around the outside of your foundation down to its base, applying a waterproof coating to keep the water out, and adding a drainage system at the bottom of the ditch. While highly effective if your house is built on waterlogged soil, it should not be the first option. Other less expensive options may work just as well.
Interior options for repairing your wet basement
Crack injection is an option for poured concrete basement walls if water is seeping through cracks. Special materials that are injected into cracks expand as they cure, filling all gaps.
An interior perimeter drainage system is an option for unfinished basements. It involves cutting a small trench around the perimeter of the basement, drilling small holes into the base of the walls to collect water that is draining through the cinderblock or stone foundation, and adding a layer of gravel and perforated piping to carry the water to a sump pump. The basement would still have some humidity issues, but they could be solved with a dehumidifier.
Call us at M&K Renovation today, (610) 353-2895, for a free consultation to determine the cause of your water problem and discuss what methods would work best to solve your wet basement issues.