Finding a solution to your flooded basement is important. You just don’t want to save your home and properties; you want to protect your health.
A flooded basement is not only smelly but also negatively affects your home’s value. If you don’t act now, a flooded basement can destroy your walls, floors and even roofing, while encouraging a scary outgrowth of mold.
For many homes, you can prevent a flooded basement when you clear your gutters and divert the gutter water away from the house. However, it’s not just that easy when the water is flowing from a backed-up municipal storm drain or coming from the underground. Proactiveness is the key to saving your home.
Here are possible solutions to a flooding basement:
1. Use gutter extensions
In a scenario where a downspout is discarding runoff close to your home, you should quickly use gutter extensions (plastic or metal) to direct the water farther away. Note that extensions aren’t the best long-term option for keeping water away: they are often a trip hazard and one could easily run over them while mowing the lawn. Underground drainpipes, however, are a more lasting option because they are belowground and can move more gutter water farther from your home.
2. Use plugs
Gaps or cracks on the plumbing pipes in your basement can lead to serious flooding. Once you notice these cracks, hydraulic cement or polyurethane caulk can be used to plug these gaps.
If the water is seeping into your basement through holes in your pipes, plugs are very effective in stopping the leakage. But if the water is seeping up through the flooring or seems the walls meet the flooring, groundwater is the problem, and plugs become ineffective.
3. Restore the crown
If your basement still gets flooded after fixing the holes and clearing the gutters, then the cause may be surface water seeping into your basement. You can stop this by draining surface water away from your home.
Note that houses are often built on a “crown” or inches of soil around the foundation of the house. This crown helps in draining surface water away from the house. As time goes by, this soil settles in older homes and becomes ineffective in stopping surface water from entering the foundation. With simply a shovel and soil, you can work a new crown of soil around your foundation.
4. Swale or berm—reshaping the landscape
For some homes, setting up a new crown of soil around the building could bring new problems: termites and rot. A better option could mean reshaping the landscape by redirecting water long before it touches the building. This can be done by building a swale, which a wide and shallow ditch, or a berm, which is basically a heap of soil.
For small homes, berms and swales can be easy to construct. But for large areas, you might need the services of a landscape contractor.
5. Fix footing drain
A flooded basement could be due to a hydrostatic force of water coming up from the underground. This is often evident when water leaks through the seams where the flooring meets the walls. In this case, see if the building has footing drains—underground pipes installed during the construction of the building to send water away from the house. If your footing drains are clogged, use a garden house to flush off the muck. If the drains are still clogged, a skilled plumber can clear it with an augur.
6. Use a curtain drain
If your house is not built with footing drains, fixing a curtain drain is the best move. The job of a curtain drain is to divert underground water away from your building.
With a curtain drain, you will be sending the water away at a safe distance. If the drain can only pass underneath land with shrubs and trees, you might want to consider using a solid pipe instead of a curtain drain. By using a solid pipe, roots cannot grow into the piping, clog it or damage it.
7. Pumping the water
If your house keeps getting flooded, you have the option of channeling water out from the interior. This means creating an interior drain system can solve your flooding problem.
Start by sawing around the perimeter of the flooring, chipping away the concrete, and laying perforated pipes in the hole. The job of the perforated pipe is to drain the water into a collection tank located at the lowest point of the basement, where a sump pump sends the water out of the building.
An interior drainage system is one of the cleanest and less troublesome ways of keeping your basement dry. It is also the best option an exterior drainage system would ruin your landscaping.
8. Waterproofing the walls
Getting the water out of the house is one thing; protecting the walls is another kettle of fish. Another option—a more expensive—is to build an exterior drainage system that consists of a French drain to take out hydrostatic water as well as exterior waterproofing to shield the foundation. This process will involve some excavation work around the building. It’s a lot messier option, but it is great for the long-term.