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Leaking Basement Floor

It can be confusing to discover water coming up through cracks in your basement floor. How can JES help you learn more about a leaking basement floor?

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Leaking Basement Floor Cracks & Repair

If you’re having problems with moisture in your basement and home, there are many potential reasons for that moisture. One of the biggest problems can come from water seeping through basement floor cracks.

Any basement with floor cracks has a higher tendency to have high levels of moisture. That’s because water is great at getting into places where it doesn’t belong, and if you have a crack in your basement floor, it’ll start seeping water quickly.

It’s important to handle the issues that a leaky basement floor can start encouraging in your home. If you’re seeing basement floor cracks and seeping water, keep reading to learn more about how you can fix that problem.

Water Coming Through Cracks in Your Basement Floor

There are many different problems you may need to handle if you’re seeing a crack in your basement floor and it is seeping water. Waterproofing these basement floor cracks takes significant work, but if you talk to the right expert, you can get that work done.

Waterproofing Basement Floor Cracks

These cracks may cause you to ask a lot of questions. Is there a way to fix water coming through the cracks in your basement floor? The good news is, there are useful answers to these questions.

If water makes its way into your home, you can find yourself contending with serious structural problems as well as immediate safety concerns. Standing water in your basement can cause anyone to slip, for example, or can come into contact with your fuse box and short out the power in your home. 

However, concrete is also considered to be a porous surface when it is not primed. Your floor is unlikely to have primer on it and will therefore take in water at a relatively rapid pace. As such, the whole of your floor can start to bow within a few days of that seepage, making its way indoors. If you don’t act quickly, the water that seeps into your floor can begin to seep back out if you walk over that sensitive surface. 

Internal Moisture and Your Home’s Structural Integrity 

There’s more to the danger than that, however. Water on a concrete floor, even as it is in the process of being absorbed, can lend to the moisture in the air of your home. During this time, that moisture can impact the structural integrity of your door frames, windowsills, and interior pipes. While your door and window frames can be replaced, it can be dangerous to leave a leak unattended if your pipes are at risk. A broken pipe can do almost as much damage to your home as a leak from your foundation or basement. 

As such, if you come downstairs one morning to find water on your basement floor, reach out to one of the professional contractors in your area. Together, you can determine where the water in your home is coming from and what steps you should take to stop up your leak. Afterward, you can discuss what waterproofing measures may help you protect your home in the days to come.

One of the best ways to maintain your home in the long run is to invest in preventive measures long before those initial problems that might plague you can appear. As such, if you want to keep water from coming up through your concrete floor, it is in your best interest to invest in home waterproofing solutions early on in your tenure as a homeowner. 

First and foremost, consider calling on a professional to conduct annual inspections of your basement and foundation. This way, you can anticipate whether you might find yourself contending with water damage, cracks or other forms of damage later in the year. 

Protecting Your Home from Future Damage 

If you don’t have any immediate problems to deal with, you can spend your first year or so as a homeowner investing in home waterproofing measures. These measures can help you prevent water from taking root in your basement and foundation, thereby saving you money for years to come. Some of the most effective waterproofing measures you can use to protect your home include: 

  • Sump pumps 
  • Interior drains 
  • Dehumidifiers 
  • Clean gutters and downspouts 
  • Vapor barriers  

If, by some unfortunate turn of events, you discover water in your basement before you have a chance to invest in home waterproofing measures, you’ll want to approach your problems from a different perspective. Try and remove the water from your basement as soon as you can, and then fix the damage that’s appeared in your foundation. Do not try and patch over the problem you have, thinking it’ll go away in time. If you instead address the heart of the problem instead of allowing it to fester, you can save yourself time, money, and stress.

Water tends to make its way into your home when your home has suffered some manner of damage. Cracks and leaks alike can make it easier for water to get up through your concrete floor. That said, water won’t make its way into your home at random. If you’ve endured a significant amount of rain in recent days, or if your home is poorly graded, it is more likely to succumb to hydrostatic pressure. 

Hydrostatic pressure describes the force that works against your structural supports when groundwater grows abundant. The water that gathers around your home can force the materials making up your floor to expand and contract on a molecular level. This is known as the clay bowl effect. In causing these rapid expansions and contractions, the groundwater around your home can force your home to endure a significant amount of stress. Your concrete floor, in response to this stress, may crack and begin leaking. As such, water can more readily start to make its way into your home, causing problems as it goes. 

Other Sources of Water in Your Home 

That said, it isn’t just hydrostatic pressure that can cause problems for your concrete floor. If you have trees planted too close to your home, their roots can start to maneuver beneath your foundation. As they do, these roots can leave gaps behind them in the soil. Your foundation, in turn, can start to sink into those gaps, causing cracks to form in your basement floor and water to begin reaching your concrete. 

Animals can cause similar problems if they make their way beneath your home. Moles and groundhogs, for example, love to dig in places where they feel safe. If you let these critters get too comfortable around your home, then they can dig burrows up to 45 feet long beneath your foundation. In turn, your foundation can begin to sink into these burrows, causing your floor to crack and water to make its way into your basement or crawl space.

If you believe your basement floor may be leaking, you can reach out to the professionals in your area for guidance. You’ll want to act quickly to try and prevent the water damage in your basement from spreading to your structural supports. 

With that in mind, do not try to install a DIY basement floor repair solution. If you do, you risk exacerbating the damage already done to your home. While some DIY projects can save you money in the long run, trying to fix a leak in your basement can cost you a pretty penny in materials and additional repairs, should you fail to implement your initial solutions effectively. 

Alternatives to Home DIY Repair 

Instead of using a DIY solution to attend to the superficial problem of your basement floor leak, you can work with a professional to determine which of the following solutions might suit your home best: 

  • Concrete patches. If you want to quickly attend to a leak in your basement, you can discuss using a concrete patch with a professional on duty. Concrete patches are not long-term solutions for a basement leak. Instead, they buy you time while you explore your options or otherwise attend to more significant damage causing problems elsewhere in your basement or foundation. 
  • Foundation piers. If you believe your foundation may have suffered significant damage and let water into your home, you can discuss foundation piers with the professional contractors in your area. Contractors can install piers beneath your foundation by first excavating around said foundation and then installing the durable steel pier sections down below those areas that have seen the most damage. You’ll have the option to choose from a myriad of piering types, but all of them will work to take some of the weight of your home off of a damaged foundation.  

Water makes its way up into your basement from your foundation courtesy of hydrostatic pressure. This pressure can both cause your foundation to crack and water levels below your home to rise into the space that said pressure opens up. As such, standing water in your basement can be indicative of either damage done to the basement itself or down in your foundation.

These are a few of the most common issues you might discover after water starts seeping through your basement floor cracks. 

Mold and Mildew

Whenever you have a significant amount of water or moisture, you’re going to also have mold and mildew. Mold grows most effectively in areas with around 70% relative humidity, although it can also grow at lower humidity if there’s standing water.

Mold and mildew invite a variety of ugly problems into your basement. Not only can it have health risks, but it also can lead to structural damage, especially if that mold grows on wooden floor joists.

If you have high levels of relative humidity in your basement caused by water coming up through the cracks in your basement floor, you’re almost certainly going to end up with mold and mildew. It’s important to tackle it as soon as possible so you can avoid that. 

Insects and Rodents

Once you have mold and mildew, what’s next? Unfortunately, the answer is often insects and rodents. That’s because many insects feed on the mildew, and when those insects come, rodents are more likely to try and find their way in.

This problem just compounds. When you have these pests, you’ll find additional problems, usually relating to their cleanliness or lack thereof.

If you stop your problems before this point, you can make your home less attractive to insects and rodents altogether. It’s not something that inevitably will happen when you start seeing water seeping through basement floor cracks; it is a sign you need to get in touch with a professional. 

Uncomfortable Living Space

As the water in the basement starts to evaporate, it’ll turn into humidity. Although that humidity can have negative impacts on the basement, it won’t just stay in the lower areas of your home. Through a physics concept called the “stack effect,” it’ll rise into the rest of the house.

High humidity makes people uncomfortable. That’s especially true in areas with higher heat because warmer air can hold more humidity than cooler air.

Unfortunately, this discomfort is typically unavoidable if you do have basement floor cracks and seeping water. Your best bet to avoid the discomfort is to get the actual problem fixed so you no longer have these high levels of humidity. 

High Electric Bills

When the humid air starts circulating through your home, you’re probably going to start seeing higher electric bills as a result of this humidity. In fact, humidity is a direct attribute to higher bills and might have been something you didn’t notice before.

Humid air requires more conditioning than dry air. As the air in your home gets more humid, you’re going to need to put in more air conditioning to guard against that humidity. That means, of course, higher electric bills.

This is one of the reasons you should pursue fixing leaking basement floor cracks as soon as possible. It may cost you money at the outset, but that money can pay dividends each month as you save on your electric bills. 

Severe Structural Problems

One thing you’ll notice regularly if your basement floor starts leaking is that the problems won’t just end with humidity. Especially if it gets into the inner workings of your home, you also could start seeing much more worrisome structural issues.

Mold, mildew, insects, and humidity all eat away at the structure of your home. That means when you have these problems, you’re inevitably going to have structural concerns.

There are many reasons for severe structural problems, and basement moisture is just one potential reason for it. However, it’s a good argument for getting your basement floor cracks looked at as soon as possible. 

Lowered Home Value

At the end of all of this, what do you have to show for it? Unfortunately, one thing you’ll see is a lower home value overall. Homes with severe structural damage, mold, mildew and basement cracks are simply worth less than homes without these issues.

If you even want to get back up to a baseline, much less actually increase your home value, you’ll need to invest in fixing serious problems. That’s a losing proposition for many people who let these basement floor cracks go for too long.

Instead of waiting until your home’s value is lowered, you should instead tackle your problems head-on. It’s important to fix the cracks in your basement as soon as possible so you don’t run into this ongoing problem.

Some people may not be sure what’s happening to cause these cracks in the basement floor and the leaking water. Indeed, these cracks can show up for seemingly no reason, which makes it difficult to pin down the reason for your leaking basement floor.

When you have a leaking basement floor, it’s usually because you’re having one or more of these three problems. 

House Settling

The first major problem is house settling. House settling happens in many homes to a small extent; it’s natural for the soil underneath the home to compress a little bit over time, especially because your home is so heavy. However, the problem comes when this normal compression happens too much.

It’s especially common for you to start experiencing house settling if your home stands on unstable soil or if the construction company didn’t prepare the area well enough before starting to build the foundation. If you’re starting to see significant amounts of house settling, you can start to see cracks everywhere in your home including in your basement floor, which can start to leak water. 

Hydrostatic Pressure

This is the pressure that water exerts when it’s at rest. Water is extremely heavy, and therefore it exerts a lot of pressure, even when it’s not raining or flooding or even moving. The water that collects in your home outside of your basement itself exerts a substantial amount of pressure, and that pressure can eventually crack a basement floor. Then the water can start seeping through the basement floor cracks which can lead to mold and mildew issues as well.

The best way to fight against hydrostatic pressure is to install a system that can relieve that hydrostatic pressure without allowing the water into your home. Because it’s a problem that impacts a lot of homes, it’s a problem that there is an answer to. It’s important to talk to an expert to discover that answer so you can fix it. 

Poor Support Design

Another potential cause comes in the form of poor support design. When the construction team initially built your home, someone had to design the home. That also means designing where the foundation walls would go, where floor joists would go, and where the home’s weight would largely fall.

If the designer didn’t properly space out the support, that can lead to very serious support problems. One of those problems can include a crack in the basement floor as too much pressure is exerted on it. You may be able to alleviate this pressure by additional support systems to help take the pressure off, but that requires a professional’s touch.

It’s not always easy to get ahead of a leaking basement floor. If you don’t make a point of checking on your facilities, then you may walk downstairs one day after a heavy rainstorm and find yourself surprised by the seepage that you find there. 

The good news is that if you inspect your basement consistently, you can usually pick out the signs that give away a home’s risk for extensive water damage. Some of the most common signs you may have a basement floor leak on your hands include: 

  • Mold growth. Mold loves to grow in places that are dark and damp. If, during an inspection of your basement, you notice mold seems to have settled closer to your floor in one section of your basement, it is in your best interest to reach out to the professionals in your area. This way, you can safely remove the mold from your basement while also addressing those means that may have allowed it to flourish in your home in the first place. 
  • Unpleasant smells. Leaks tend to make your home smell unpleasant. The additional moisture in the air will make your belongings smell musty, for example, meaning you can potentially follow your nose to the site of a leak. Additionally, you’ll want to trust your nose if you think you may be contending with significant seepage, as you’ll likely be able to weed out the smell of damaged fabrics, wood, or other personal belongings you might be storing in your basement. 
  • High levels of humidity in your home. When in doubt, trust your hygrometer. Your hygrometer tells you how much humidity you must contend with in your home. If you’re noticing a sharp uptick in your internal humidity, a leak somewhere may be adding moisture to your air. 
  • Sticking doors and windows. Finally, note that your door frames and windowsills tend to warp when exposed to high levels of moisture for an extended period of time. If you’re having trouble opening the doors or windows in your basement, take a look at your frames and reach out to a professional serving homeowners in your area.

Let a JES Expert Help You With Basement Floor Crack Repair

Anyone who’s having leaking basement floor issues should waste no time in talking to a JES expert. Fixing a cracked basement floor is an important part of staying safe in your own home. With a free inspection, you’ll be able to determine your problems and the potential fixes.

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