Basement flooding can not only lead to mold and mildew, which can cause serious health issues for your building’s occupants, but it can also cause severe damage to your furniture, carpeting, and even the building’s structure itself, if not addressed properly. In this article, we’re going to go over the main causes for a flooded basement and how much you can expect to pay to waterproof it.
Common Causes of a Flooded Basement
A flooded basement can result from a number of sources from a natural disaster to your city’s own utility issues. However, some of the most common causes of basement flooding include:
Melting Snow or Heavy Rains
Some areas are more prone to flash flooding. Heavy rains or melting snow can heavily soak the ground, making it difficult for the ground to absorb the excess water fast enough, which can cause your basement to flood. In addition, these heavy rains and melting snow sometimes also travel from miles and come to affect nearby rivers and waterbeds, which can cause the water table to rise and the lower floors of your building to flood.
Insufficient Foundation Drainage
Gutters alone are generally not sufficient enough to shift away all water that can flood your home; therefore, in many buildings, each of the main corners of the building will contain some kind of system to drain water away from the foundation. Shifting water away from the building’s foundation is key to preventing basement flooding. If your home or building does not contain a water drainage system, one can be installed.
Foundation drains come in a variety of forms, including perimeter drain, French drain, and footing drain, all of which work differently to contain water and transport it away from your basement and foundation walls.
Cracks in the Walls or Foundation
If you have cracks in the foundation or walls, even if you have well-designed window wells, gutters, and downspouts, and they are installed properly, it still will not prevent water and moisture from entering your building through the cracks in your walls and foundation, which can cause serious damage.
Improper Wall and Floor Sealing
Most homes are sealed with a home foundation sealant, such as tar, which helps block out moisture and precipitation. How the floors and walls are sealed, if at all, determines how well your basement blocks or enables moisture.
Faulty, Missing or Improperly Installed Downspouts and Gutters
Downspouts and gutters are built to gather rainwater from the roof and shift it away from your home, but if they are defective, damaged, or installed improperly, rain will flow off the edges of your roof and onto the ground surrounding your home, which can saturate the ground and cause flooding.
Defective Window Wells
Basements often have small vents or windows located on the outside walls, which often include window wells. Defective or improperly designed window wells, serve as a drain, directing any puddled water right into your home.
Sump Pump Failure
Many homes, especially in areas with excessive water in the ground, have sump pumps built into the basement floor, which work continuously to move water out and keep it away from the basement. However, they sometimes break or fail and require maintenance or repair.
Leaky or Clogged Water Heater
In areas where water is especially soft or hard, it can cause build-up in appliances, such as the water heater, which can cause the unit to break down, leak, or flood the basement.
Broken Water Lines
Frozen pipes, worn out plumbing, or ruptures due to construction can all lead to broken water lines, which can cause a flooded basement. Additionally, home irrigation systems often spring underground leaks and/or can be adjusted incorrectly, which can send water straight into the foundation without your knowledge.
What are the Benefits of Waterproofing the Basement?
The main benefit of waterproofing your basement is that it ensures a safe, healthy indoor environment.
Trickling, leaking, or pools of standing water in your basement can cause humid or damp air, which makes it just ripe for mold and mildew growth. It can also cause a musty smell in your basement, which also affects the indoor air quality. Likewise, if the water in your basement contains sewage water, it can contain bacteria, which can also create an unsafe environment for the building’s occupants.
Standing water in your basement can also cause electrical shocks, gas leaks, and structural damage, which can weaken the foundation and make it unsafe for living.
A flooded basement can also cause major property damage to furniture, walls, wood floors, and other items, which can lead to costly repairs and replacement costs.
How Much Does Waterproofing Your Flooded Basement Cost?
The cost to waterproof your flooded basement will depend on the source of your problem as well as the area in which you reside.
The basement or foundation may need to be sealed, which according to reports, on average costs from about $750-$3,800, or you may need to replace the gutters, which typically costs anywhere from $1,050-$2,400 per 125 to 200 square feet.
Concrete cracks, another common source of flooding, on average costs about $684 per 500 square feet for acrylic concrete sealing.
Additional yard drainage may need to be installed to help direct water away from your basement, which typically costs anywhere from about $.05 per square foot to $70 per linear square foot. You may also need to check your indoor pipes and drains to prevent flooding from entering your securely sealed basement, which a trusted plumber will often do for free.
The cause of your flooded basement may be the result of a number of factors; therefore, it may require a professional inspection for best results. If upon inspection, you discover that your basement flooding is a result of various factors, in many cases, you may be able to find a reputable contractor who is able to repair, seal, and renovate your basement and the surrounding area to prevent further basement flooding, so you can enjoy safe, sound, continuous enjoyment of your entire home or building all year round.