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Water Seepage: What It Is and What to Do About It

Are you noticing water seeping into your basement or crawl space through the foundation wall? Don’t panic. This is a common issue among homeowners, and the good news is that it’s almost always repairable. In this blog post, we’ll review what causes foundation water seepage, signs that it might be happening, repair options, and how you can help prevent water seepage through your foundation wall. 

What Is Foundation Water Seepage and What Causes it?

Foundation water seepage is when water starts to seep through a foundation wall and into a basement or crawl space. This can happen for various reasons, including the following:

  • Shrinkage cracks – These are very thin hairline cracks that form in a poured concrete foundation wall as concrete dries and cures. While they don’t threaten your home’s structural integrity, water can still make its way into these hairline cracks and seep through the wall. 
  • Hydrostatic pressure – Poor drainage around a foundation can cause hydrostatic pressure to build up and push against the foundation wall. Hydrostatic pressure can not only push water through shrinkage cracks, but actually cause a foundation wall to bow inward, and even crack.  
  • Leaks through the cove joint – The cove joint is where the foundation wall and basement floor meet. If this joint isn’t properly sealed, water can make its way into your home. 

Where’s the Water Really Coming From, Though?

Just because you have water in your basement, that doesn’t mean it’s seeping through the foundation wall. Other sources of water seepage include basement windows or window wells. These can often become clogged with debris, allowing water to enter your basement. Another potential source is plumbing leaks. If you have any pipes running through your basement or crawl space, it’s always a good idea to check for leaks or other issues. Additionally, leaky appliances like hot water heaters or washing machines can cause water damage in your basement.

It’s always a good idea to have a professional come and take a look if you’re unsure about what’s causing the problem. 

For more information, see How Heavy Rain Affects Your Basement.

Signs That Water Is Seeping Through Your Foundation Wall

So, if you’re wondering whether water is indeed seeping through your foundation wall, there are a few signs you can look out for, including:

  • Puddles of water – The most obvious sign that water might be seeping through your foundation wall is standing water. 
  • Musty smell – If there’s a musty smell in your basement or crawl space (or even your home’s living area), that could be a pretty big clue. 
  • Visible water damage – It’s also worth checking for any visible signs of water damage, such as damp patches on the walls or floor.
  • Visible cracks – You can also keep an eye out for any cracks in the foundation wall. Even small cracks can be a problem, because water can seep in through them and cause more damage over time. 
  • Efflorescence – This is a white, chalky-looking substance that is left behind when water dries on concrete surfaces. It’s often mistaken for mold.
  • Peeling or bubbling paint – This could indicate that there’s moisture in the wall behind the paint. 
  • Rust – Rust on items stored in a basement or crawl space is another sign of excess moisture. 

Of course, the best way to know for sure whether you’ve got water seeping through your foundation wall is to have a professional inspection done. A qualified expert will be able to give you a more accurate assessment of the situation and recommend any necessary repairs.  

Repair Options for Water Seepage

Addressing water seepage requires a multi-faceted approach.

For structural repair, wall braces or wall anchors are effective solutions. These methods strengthen the wall, preventing further cracking and movement. Additionally, installing a vapor barrier can effectively stop water seepage through the crack. This liner acts as a barrier, keeping moisture out.

In cases where leaks occur at the cove (the joint between the wall and floor), an interior drainage system is the most suitable solution. This system captures any water entering at this point and redirects it away from the foundation, thereby preventing water accumulation and potential damage to the interior space.

Each of these solutions targets specific aspects of the problem, ensuring a comprehensive approach to repairing and preventing future leaks.

How to Help Prevent Water Seepage

The good news is that there are some things you can do to help prevent water from seeping through your foundation wall and into your basement or crawl space, including:

  • Regrading your yard, if necessary – Regrading your yard is a great way to keep water from pooling around your foundation and seeping into your basement or crawl space. This can be done by sloping the ground away from your home so that water runs away from the foundation instead of towards it.
  • Installing downspout extensions – These extensions redirect water from your gutters away from your house, reducing the amount of water that seeps into the soil around your foundation.
  • Cleaning gutters regularly – When gutters get clogged with leaves and debris, they are unable to function properly, and water can run down the side of your house and soak the ground around the foundation.  
  • Installing a drain tile system – This system involves laying perforated pipes around the perimeter of your foundation to collect and redirect water away from your home.   

For more information, see Calculating The Importance Of Gutters And Drainage.

If you’re concerned about water seepage in your home, contact us today to schedule a free inspection and receive a repair estimate! 

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