Basement Water Leak Prevention

Tips on Preventing a Wet Basement and Fixing Basement Water Leaks

By Mark J. Donovan

Preventing a basement from having water leaks starts during the planning stages of building the home. The home construction plans, specifically as it relates to excavation and foundation work, need to be well thought out to ensure the home’s basement will be free of water issues. By following a few simple steps in the construction of the foundation and the soil underneath and around it, basement water leaks can be prevented from occurring.

Eliminating the risk of a wet basement also involves taking the right steps during the final grading of the surrounding land around the home.

In addition, the location of gutters and down spouts also plays a significant factor in controlling roof run off and keeping the basement dry.

In regards to the construction phase of the home and ensuring the basement will be leak free, make sure that the excavation and foundation contractor installs plenty of gravel in the bottom of the hole for the foundation. In addition, a network of PVC pipes should be installed underneath the foundation and basement slab. The PVC pipes should connect up with a perimeter drain installed around the foundation that directs water away from the home. By following these few simple foundation design guidelines, ground water will be able to flow away from the foundation footings and walls and thus significantly mitigate any risk of a wet basement.

After the foundation walls have been installed and have time to adequately cure the exterior of the concrete walls should be sealed with a water sealer. This will prevent any ground water from penetrating through any potential cracks in the foundation walls. It will also help to reduce any humidity levels within the basement.

Prior to pouring the concrete slab for the basement floor Polyethylene plastic should be installed on the gravel floor. The plastic will act as a moisture barrier, again to mitigate high humidity levels in the basement.

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Once the foundation has been installed and sealed backfilling around it is the next step. Make sure that when the excavation contractor backfills around the foundation walls that he slopes the soil so that water can drain away from the home. This way any roof water run-off, as well as ground water, can naturally drain from around the home’s foundation.

After the home has been completely constructed install gutters and downspouts. In particular pay attention to the location and design of the downspouts. The downspouts should be located in an area of the home and designed to direct roof water away from the home. Also, make sure that you select the right size gutters for your home’s roof.

If you select to narrow of a gutter roof run-off water will flow over them and down to the home’s foundation. Inevitably this will lead to water seeping down along the foundation walls and increase your risk of a wet basement.

Basement water leak prevention

You may also want to install gutter guards or shields to prevent the gutters from becoming clogged.

Clogged gutters also leads to water dripping over the edge of them and down along the foundation walls.

If your home is already built and you’re already dealing with basement water problems then the best solution is to excavate around the foundation and install a perimeter drain and seal the exterior foundation walls.

Warning, this is an expensive endeavor. When backfilling around the foundation you can then make sure to slope the surrounding soil away from the home. Similarly you can install gutters as well.

One final tip. Planting shrubs around the foundation walls also helps to mitigate the risk of a wet basement. The shrubs’ roots suck up ground water thus reducing the amount of water that works its way down the foundation walls.

For more help on Basement Additions, see’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your basement remodeling project is done correctly and you get the project finished on time and budget.

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