Why Basements Leak

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 by Cade Ingle

2 Reasons Why Basements Leak

When builders build homes, they have a lot of things to put in the house and pay for. Given the choice of spending money on beautiful things like great cabinets and bathroom fixtures, or on things that protect the house and make it last longer that a buyer wont see - he goes for the beauty. Why? It’s what people see and want.

There are two things that keep a basement from leaking:

1. A coating on the basement walls
2. A proper drain around the bottom of the foundation- Called a “ footing drain”

Wet Vac For Basement Flooding

Wall coatings can be inexpensive black tar coatings called” Dampproofing.” Dampproofing costs builders about 20 cents per square foot, or around $200 a home. Dampproofing doesn’t bridge wall cracks, doesn’t stop water completely, and doesn’t last forever. Until about 1985, nearly all new homes were dampproofed.

Even today, 85% of homes still only get their foundation walls dampproofed. A big step up from Dampproofing is “Waterproof” coatings. These will cost a builder from 60 cents per square foot to $1.25 per square foot, pr $1,000 or more per home. It often includes some kind of drainage board or protection board, such as foam, over them. Waterproofing will bridge most small wall cracks, and will last a lot longer than Dampproofing.

Footing drains are plastic pipes with holes or slots laid around the outside of the footing or at the bottom of the walls. A bed of crushed stone is installed around them and the soil around the outside of your home is pushed back over the drains. There are many things that can go wrong with a footing drain. Especially since unskilled labor is often used to install them.

Problems include:

• The drains don’t lead out anywhere- fairly uncommon
• The place they lead off to is blocked, clogged or crushed- fairly common
• The drains have very little or no stone around them- stone is expensive
• The drains are not connected as a continuous loop or are installed to high

Footing Drain Failure

Footing drain failure is the most common cause of wet basements. When this happens, the soil around the outside of the foundation can’t drain and it becomes saturated. The weight of the water in the soil created hydrostatic pressure and pushes the water into the basement though:

• The joint between the footing and the wall- most common
• Through wall cracks and pip penetrations- very common
• Through porous block walls- very common if you have block walls
• Under the footing- pretty rare

Why Basements Leak - Image 2

If you're looking to have your basement professionally and expertly waterproofed contact us at Midwest Foundation Repair today! We can be reached online or at this phone number: 1-515-289-1606

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Midwest Foundation Repair
9850 Douglas Ave Suite 100
Urbandale, IA 50322