Groundwater leaks are the problem that basement contractors encounter most commonly. As groundwater pressures build in a basement, they can add a special type of pressure- known as hydrostatic pressure- against foundation walls in a basement or crawl space.
This water will enter the basement or crawl space through any opening it can find, including any gaps or cracks along the foundation walls. While basement flooding is most common through the joint where the foundation wall meets the floor, it's also common for water to leak in through cracks, around pipes leading out of the home, around windows, and through the basement floor. Each of these problems is unique- below are many of the most common sources of groundwater leakage.
Basement Wall Cracks
A crack in the basement wall is leaking, allowing water to flood into the home. They can also be a potential indicate of a foundation issue, especially if the cracks are not vertical. Whether horizontal, diagonal, or vertical, this is a major potential problem that should be looked at right away.
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Pipe Penetration Leak
A gap around a pipe that penetrates through the basement wall is allowing water to run from the earth outside into the home. If not a pipe, it could also be a cable or electrical wire, a sewage line, or some other opening. These lines can be much more challenging to seal than a typical wall crack, and because they expand and shrink with temperature, seals can easily work loose.
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Basement Leaks on the Floor or at the Wall/Floor Joint
Water is seeping upwards from cracks running along the floor, or it's leaking in from the corners of the floor, where the basement walls and floors meet. Often, water will also leak through the walls, especially in cases where field stone walls are present. In the case of block walls, the cavities in the blocks will fill with water, which will then seep through the bottom of the walls.
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Leaking Basement Windows
Water is coming in around your windows and leaking down to the basement floor. This is sometimes made worse by window wells that are filling with water, snow, and debris. Basement window leaks are often also caused or intensified by rotting or rusting window frames, which is common with steel and wood framed basement windows.
Click to read more about leaky basement window repair.