One of the worst things a homeowner can encounter is walking down the steps of their basement and stepping into a pool of water. A flooded basement is a problem that requires your immediate attention and action or it could lead to more serious issues and even more expensive repairs. If this is your reality, you likely have a lot of questions, which is why we created this guide for when you have a wet basement.
Water in Basement? Here is How it Got There.
Unfortunately, all basements are prone to flooding. Since they reside underground, where a lot of water flows and shifts occur, the foundation is vulnerable. Here are some factors that can contribute to your flooded basement problem.
Too much rain is a very common cause of flooded basements. If there is a lot of rainfall over a period of time or quickly melting snow, it can put excessive pressure on the basement foundation and push through the cracks to create flooding.
The slope of your lawn can have a significant effect on water accumulating in your basement. An ideal lawn slope would be to have your house on the highest point of the slope so the rainwater flows away from your home and toward the public sewer system. What you do not want is to have your house positioned at the bottom of a slope so the water feeds right into your house, constantly saturating the earth around it and infiltrating the structure.
If this is your situation, you will likely deal with water in basement issues constantly. You should reach out to a local landscaper to figure out how to adjust the grade of your yard so that the water flows away from your house.
Clogged or damaged sewer lines are other causes for a wet basement. When a clog occurs in a sewer line, the backed up water often has nowhere else to go but right back into the house. Sewage lines often run below basements, so if it cracks its contents can seep into the basement floor. This is an even worse issue than rain-related flooding because there is dangerous bacteria flowing through sewer pipes that are unsafe to be exposed to and you will need to get it cleaned up immediately.
Sump Pump Failure
If your home is running on a single sump pump, you are particularly vulnerable to a flooded basement. Sump pumps are easily overwhelmed and prone to break down, particularly the plastic kind. It is a good idea to have a backup sump pump to help distribute the burden and relieve some pressure.
Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration
Be careful! If you have a deep flood and the water has risen above electrical outlets, then you’ve got a serious problem on your hands. Do not step into the water and do not go down to investigate alone, because if you get caught in a dangerous situation down there you want someone else there to help. Call in help immediately to get the area pumped.
If the flood hasn’t reached any electrical outlets and you are able to reach your circuit board safely, you should switch off the power in your basement to reduce the risk of additional danger.
Cleaning up a flooded basement can be costly. The price will range depending on the extent of the damage and how long you have let it sit before calling in cleanup help. Some of the accompanying issues that come with water damage are mold, mildew, and permanent material damage. The best ingredients for mold growth are moisture and lack of ventilation, which makes wet basements one of the best possible breeding grounds for mold.
Mold can grow on all kinds of materials including wood, drywall, insulation, carpet, and tile so virtually nothing is safe. Mildew is easier to clean up than mold, but it can leave stains and lingering smells that are sometimes impossible to remove. Both
cannot only cause damage to materials in your home, but they also pose risks to the health of the people living inside of the affected home.
Flooded basements can compromise the structure of your basement, permanently damaging drywall, wood framing, and insulation. You will need to dispose of water damaged or mold damaged materials. Replacing these things can be extremely expensive, but it’s the irreplaceable items that can be the biggest loss for someone experiencing this problem. If you store items that are important to you in your basement, it is a good idea to put them in plastic tubs and raise them off of the ground if possible. Again, the only way to reduce the damage done to your basement is to call in reinforcements as soon as possible.
If there’s water in the basement, you can help to remove moisture from the room by bringing in a dehumidifier, opening windows (if there are any), and bringing in and turning on fans.
How to Protect Your Basement From Flooding
Tar Sealant – If you are in the unique situation of building a home, a good preventative measure would be to add a tar sealant on the inside and outside of the foundation walls of your basement. This will help with waterproofing.
Install Weeping Tile – Install weeping tile around the exterior of your basement. Weeping tiles are not really tiles, but long drainage tubes with holes in them. These pipes pull water from the basement and the ground surrounding the basement and move it into the local sewer system.
Gutters – Make sure to keep your gutters clear to prevent clogs and backups, which can lead to excessive water pushing against your foundation and possible infiltration. Also make sure that your gutters are leading water away from your home. If this is an issue, you may want to consider extending your gutter downspouts to ensure proper flow.
Install a Sump Pump – A sump pump installed in a basement will drain water from the surrounding area and pump it away from the house. However, sump pumps can fail easily and installing a backup sump pump is a good idea in order to reduce the risk of flooding.