A number of different things can cause basement leaks, most often caused by insufficient waterproofing. The most common cause is a lack of pressure in the earth around your foundation due to silt. When a build up of sediment occurs around your foundation, it compacts and forms lateral or downward pressure which causes it to get damaged, which then leaks into your basement. Sometimes this type of leaky basement can be fixed by simply digging around it and placing some kind of structure over it (i.e. a slab).
Basement leaks can also be caused by structural damage to your basement wall. If your basement wall is buckling, or if you can hear water dripping from the wall, you should probably check it for damage. This might not sound very important when you’re in a hurry, but in fact it can be extremely damaging if it results in structural damage. Structural damage can result in leaks, foundation cracks and possible mold growth. The most damaging type of structural damage is when water from your basement seeps into the walls and surrounding rooms. In this case, you are basically dealing with a wet basement, which is subject to both decay and structural damage due to leaking.
Another major cause of basement leaks comes from cracks in the walls and floors. These cracks are the perfect breeding grounds for mildew and mold. Cracks also allow cold air to enter the basement, further raising the relative humidity. In all cases, you should fix any cracks in your basement walls and floor immediately in order to prevent any damage. Remember that it is much more expensive to repair basement leaks than it is to fix the damage caused by structural damage.
One thing that often happens with basements is evidence of basement leak damage, such as peeling paint or soggy flooring. There are many causes of basement paint peeling, including improper cleaning techniques and low-quality paints. However, the most common cause of basement soggy flooring is excess moisture. It is important to fix any areas of leakage as soon as possible because the longer the area remains damp, the more likely it is that mold will grow. If you have concerns about the possibility of basement soggy floors, you should check the exterior of the wall for signs of mold, which will usually look like small black specks or patches.
Foundation cracks can also indicate another problem, such as settling, foundation potholes or cracks in the floor. You should also make sure that you don’t have any loose bricks or tiles around the house. Loose materials near the foundations could mean that there are cracks in the floor or walls. In addition, your basement walls may have been built on soil that has compacted, which can result in foundation problems.
One of the most serious causes of basement leaks is soil around the house. Because soil is an absorbent, excess moisture in the air and ground can collect there. Over time, the collected water can expand into cracks in the floor, walls or ceilings. In addition, soil around the house can accumulate dirt, debris or other material that is too large to pass through the foundation.
Any damage to the basement walls, floors or ceilings must be repaired as soon as possible to prevent the further accumulation of water damage. Basement leaks can also indicate the presence of mold or mildew. Mildew typically shows up as a musty odor that is detectable through a negative stench. Mold grows best in humid conditions, so the presence of musty odors is a warning that foundation problems are lurking. The longer the musty odors exist, the greater the risk of mold growth.
In order to prevent basement water damage, regular maintenance for the roof, gutters and downspouts must be done. Preventive maintenance for roofs, gutter systems and downspouts can help prevent damage from excessive rainfall or melting snow. This preventive maintenance can be done periodically, on an annual basis or when needed during extreme weather conditions.