A variety of avoidable factors can cause wet basement issues. In this article we will explain some of these factors and we will give you advice on what you can do as a house owner to minimize the damage to your house due to wet basement problems and in effect this will increase the longevity of your home, and decrease your costs of repairing unnecessary damage.
Excavation Was Done Improperly
When a house is being built one of the first steps is to excavate (remove) all the rock and dirt, deep enough, not only for the foundation to be properly laid out, but also to create enough space for the construction workers that will be working on the foundation of the house to conduct their work. An important part of the excavation process is to locate the point at which water forms below the ground. The reason being is that if the foundation is poured below the point at which water forms under ground, this may very likely result in wet basement problems in the future, since the basement is surrounded with water for decades, essentially penetrating through the foundation and into the basement.
Another important step of excavation is to properly determine the depth of the foundation so that the top of the foundation (where the wooden footing goes) is below the point at which frost forms. If the top of the foundation is above the point at which frost forms, what happens in winter is that the ground freezes, which makes the ground harden and expand creating pressure on the foundation. When spring comes and the frost melts, the ground around the foundation contracts and loosens. This creates a hole in-between the foundation and the ground, causing water to leak downwards and eventually over the span of several years, this movement of dirt, water, ice and essentially the foundation may cause the foundation to crack, resulting in wet basement problems. Therefore, it is essential for the excavation process to be done properly by experienced professionals if a house it to withstand the seasonal nature of the Canadian climate.
Age of House
Even if excavation was done properly when the house was built, age plays a major role in the health of the house. Just like humans, houses get old too and as they do new problems arise. After a decade or two, the dirt under the house, which was stable and firm when the house was built, will inevitably shift causing the foundation and the house to shift with it as well. These shifts and movements in the ground and essentially the house cause added strains to the foundation, and eventually cracks form causing leakages and wet basement problems. Most of the time a crack repair professional can effectively and efficiently seal the foundation crack, preventing further water leakage and wet basement problems. When choosing a basement crack repair professional in your area look for someone with experience and a reputation. An online search on Google is a great start to research your options. Simply Google "basement crack repair" in your city to get a list of local basement crack repair companies near you. Our crack repair professionals at Crackmasters have successfully repaired thousands of foundation cracks and saved our customers thousands of dollars in possible damage. So if you are located in Oakville, Mississauga, Milton or the greater Toronto area, check us out, we guarantee professional work, and we have extensive experience in basement crack repair.
However, sometimes the damage to the foundation is too severe and excavation must be performed in order to fix the problem which is much more expensive and time consuming then doing a basement crack repair.
A large number of wet basement issue that home owners in Ontario are experiencing can be avoided, or at least minimized, by properly maintaining your house. Due to our seasonal climate in Ontario, houses experience added strains on the foundation throughout the year. In winter the land freezes, causing it to expand, and harden. This adds pressure on the foundation of the house, weakening the foundation, especially if excavation was done improperly. When spring comes and the snow melts the ground softens and contracts causing a gap in-between the foundation and the land surrounding it. To make matters worse, all the snow surrounding the house melts and the water finds its way downwards and into your basement. This water may soften your foundation over time, making it more susceptible to crack especially if excavation was done improperly when your house was built.
So you may ask, what can I do to minimize the chances of having a wet basement?
First thing that you can do to help reduce wet basement issues is, when winter comes, shovel all the snow away from the walls of your house, especially when the snow is about to start melting (just prior to spring). This will reduce the amount of water flowing along your foundation and therefore the damage from water will be reduced drastically.
Another important and fairly inexpensive method to reduce wet basement issues is to keep your gutters clean and functioning properly. Your gutters lead water away from your house, but many times we see damaged gutters which result in water falling directly along the foundation of the house, and not away from it. This water finds its way downwards towards your basement and wakens your foundation, in effect resulting in wet basement issues.
Another important maintenance measure you can take to minimize wet basement problems is to inspect your basement windows annually. The sealant that seals the gaps between your windows and the foundation of your house may weaken and crack over time, and this may result in water leaking into your basement, further weakening your foundation and accelerating the inevitable deterioration of your foundation. Therefore, if you inspect your windows regularly, checking for any cracks, or signs of water leakage, you can spot the problem on time, and take the necessary measures to prevent further damage to your house. If you see any cracks or water leakage around your basement windows contact your windows company so that they can fix the issue before it's too late.
Finally, if your basement windows are partially under ground with wells around them, you want to make sure that the well has a drainage system in place which leads any trapped water away from your house. If there is no drainage installed, then any trapped water will not be able to escape and this may very likely result in wet basement problems. So, make sure that objects such as leaves, dirt, flowers, weeds, rocks, etc… do not get trapped in your basement window well. This will help minimize the likelihood of the well drainage being clogged, and will in effect minimize wet basement issues.