Why do I always have water in my basement?

Water and Mold In Basement

It’s not raining out, why do I always have water in my basement, and what is that stuff on the concrete block?  These are absolutely the best questions a homeowner can ask when finding discoloration on their basement walls.  The answers are fairly simple but also very diverse.  Whenever I go to a home with water issues in the basement and no obvious reason for it to be there, my first look is outside at the gutters and leaders on the home.  I would say that 75% of the time, the gutters are clogged somewhere, and the downspouts are pouring water into an area of the foundation that can’t handle that much water.  The water then makes its way into the ground and eventually finds a slight stress crack in the foundation and into the home.  As is common practice, most foundations are properly tarred when built, but once a stress fracture occurs, that tar will hold to separating block, allowing for water to penetrate to the interior.  There are more systems that work well than do not, but for our purposes, we want to know what signs of failing systems are.

The second thing we consider is whether or not the leaders coming from the roofs are actually making their way to the street.  For years we mowed our lawns with lawn mowers that we pushed across our lawns, and the weight of those mowers was less than 75 pounds.  Now we have people mowing our lawns in what are in essence tractors.  These large and heavy machines have done a tremendous amount of damage to the underground perforated drainage systems that we have installed in our lawns to move water from our homes.  The best way to check to see whether this has been done is to simply run a hose into the pipe where the pipe connects to the leader from the roof, and see what happens.  If within a few minutes you have no water at the end of the pipe, then you have probably got a break somewhere.  That break can cause sinking and erosion in that area of  the property, as well as water backing up against the foundation.
Basement Water Leak Sources

Another reason for water intrusion in basements is nothing more than an extremely high water table. Combine that with an improperly built foundation, improper tarring, a non working french drain system, and sump pumps with the inability to get the water far enough from the home to keep it from leaching back into the foundation, and you have the makings of a disaster.  In cases such as this, it may be necessary to add an extra sump pump to the basement so that there can be no doubt that all areas of the foundation are dispersing the water equally before it could ever enter the home.  Once water has entered the home, then the real trouble begins.

Today we spend so much time in our basements, and we have spent billions of dollars on our “man caves” that one water intrusion without proper insurance can lead to a complete loss.  It is my firm belief that the best way to prevent this from happening is to inspect our homes regularly on our own, and annually with a professional.  We should take care to check air quality, and make sure that all of our prevention equipment such as sump pumps, back up batteries, dehumidifiers, and flash lights, are all at the ready.  We should know whether or not we live in an area subject to flooding and what to do if we suspect that we are in for nasty weather.  Don’t wind up washed out in your own home.