If you’re seeing water in your basement cove, which is the area where the basement wall and basement floor meet, chances are you’re worried and probably a little confused. Why is that water in your basement cove? Is there a way to get it out? Will it just come back if you remove it? Here’s what you need to know about water in your basement cove.
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Do These Wet Floors Look Familiar to You?
Sometimes, the best way to identify what’s happening in your home is to look at pictures of other homes with similar problems. If any of these wet floors look familiar, chances are you’re having basement cove flooding.
Water in Basement Cove FAQs
Wet floors in your basement could stem from your basement cove. Learn more about it here.
The sight of water in your basement cove can definitely be worrying, even more so because it’s common not to know why you’re having water in your basement cove in the first place. These are some of the most common reasons you might have water buildup in a basement cove.
One of the biggest problems basements deal with is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is the weight of water at rest, and it’s a problem because water is incredibly heavy, even though you might not notice it. The water that’s always resting in the earth, especially if you live at or under the water table, is one of the things that will cause hydrostatic pressure against your basement walls.
Home designers and constructors know about hydrostatic pressure, and they construct your home to be able to rise against this pressure and stay straight whenever possible. However, if there’s more hydrostatic pressure than your basement walls can handle, this hydrostatic pressure may cause cracks in your home walls, which can easily let in the water from the outside.
Flooding and Other External Water Issues
If there’s recently been a lot of rain or flooding after not much water in the area, it’s possible for you to have water leakage unrelated to regular function. For example, if you have ground-level windows in your basement, the flooding may overwhelm the window and cause water to leak in, or open windows and crawl space vents may have let this external water in.
However, it’s important to realize that this could be an ongoing problem or a one-time problem. If the problem was that you had open vents, you can easily add vent covers to the vents to avoid this problem. On the other hand, if the problem was that the windows were overwhelmed by the hydrostatic pressure, you may need to fix the window sealant to avoid that happening in the future.
Leaks and Other Internal Water Issues
Alternately, if this water didn’t come from outside your home, it’s possible it may have come from inside your home. Sometimes, basement cove water seepage can come from leaks and internal water issues.
This may include a pipe that burst, a sump pump that backed up, or any other method of ending up with water in your cove from your home water system.
If this is the real problem, it’s important to fix the problem as quickly and thoroughly as you can. That may mean calling in a plumber to fix a broken pipe, calling in a basement waterproofing expert to fix a broken sump pump, or adding insulation to a cold pipe so you no longer deal with condensation.
Clogged Footing Drains
A footing drain isn’t a drain you can see from the inside of your home. Rather, it’s an exterior foundation drainage system. This footing drain isn’t intended to be the only source of drainage for the water around your home, but it’s often a useful part of a functioning home. At least, it can be as long as it’s clear and draining water properly.
The problem here is that footing drains clog very easily. These clogs can cause hydrostatic pressure to build up around the home because the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. Cleaning the footing drain requires that you excavate the ground next to the foundation. Instead, most basement waterproofing experts will suggest waterproofing the basement and leaving the footing drain alone.
The path of fixing water in a basement cove isn’t always easy, and it can be a bit confusing, especially from the outside. The good news is that when you break it down, there are typically four steps, although a basement waterproofing expert may need to do more.
Pump Out Any Standing Water
The first step is simple: If you have any standing water in the basement, you need to pump it out as soon as possible. Standing water in the basement can cause a huge variety of concerns, including but not limited to basement dampness, mold and mildew growth, and even foundation problems if you aren’t able to pump it out properly.
Although this should be the first step, it obviously isn’t the last step. Pumping out standing water is useful because it gets rid of an immediate problem, but that standing water is just a symptom of a deeper problem. What’s next? You need to start looking for that deeper problem.
Find the Source of the Water
Once you’ve pumped out the standing water in your basement, it’s now time to find the source of that water. There are many reasons you could end up with water in your basement cove, but it’s most common to have the water seeping through leaky basement walls. However, that isn’t always the problem; it could be due to a number of issues.
This is one of the reasons you should contact a basement waterproofing expert instead of trying to go in and fix this problem on your own. Often, finding the source of water in your basement cove is a difficult and time-consuming job, and it’s best completed by experts who have spent a lot of time training to do this.
Fix the Source of the Water
After you’ve found the source of the water, you should go through the process of fixing it. Of course, fixing the water source isn’t always easy; it’s possible to have a tough time fixing it. Especially in the case of water in your basement cove, the source of the water might be widespread hairline cracks in your basement wall, which could be an even deeper cause of a number of things.
Again, a basement waterproofing expert is your best bet here. Although there may be a variety of DIY tips and tricks online, a basement waterproofing expert will have all the tools they need to help you uncover the best waterproofing solutions to keep your basement clean and water-free.
Maintain a Clean and Dry Basement
Lastly, once you’ve fixed the initial source of the water and pumped out the water, you’ll need to find a way to maintain that. You might need to use a number of tools to maximize your basement maintenance process. Depending on your unique situation, you might need a dehumidifier or an interior drain system.
However, you can’t just install one of these fixes and call it a day. These fixes need to be tailored to your unique needs, and it’s important that you consider what your basement’s doing if you’re going to install one of these fixes. Only a personalized assessment from a basement waterproofing expert will give you that.
The vast number of DIY fixes available online has led some people to believe they might be able to fix water in their basement coves on their own. However, this isn’t a great option. Here are a few things that can happen if you choose a DIY basement cove fix over a fix from a professional.
Worsen the Problem
One of the most obvious issues that can occur is simply that you can worsen the problem. The already-existing problem is bad enough, but what can happen when you make it even worse? If you tinker with it on your own, you’re bound to find out.
This can be anything from accidentally opening a wider crack in your basement, which can cause even more water flow from the outside, to causing concrete spalling and chipping on the surface of the basement. No matter how you worsen the problem or what happens next, you never want to do this in your basement.
Clear Only the Surface-Level Problem
Sometimes, it might seem like you fixed the problem, at least for a while. You might even be very happy with how “well” you fixed the problem in question. However, much of the time, you’ve only fixed whatever’s happening on the surface. The problems lying underneath have still gone very much undisturbed.
This can make it very difficult for you to realize that there’s still a problem. All the while, your basement walls will still bear the weight of the water, and they’ll still be straining under it. It’s crucial that you fix the underlying problem, not just the surface one, and an expert will do that for you.
Break an Unrelated Thing in Your Basement
There are boundless ways you can break things in your basement; it’s not just limited to accidentally breaking your walls or messing up the waterproofing further. Instead, you might end up taking a DIY tutorial the wrong way and accidentally breaking something completely unrelated in your basement.
What will you do if you bring a ladder into the basement, for example, and the ladder hits the wall and knocks out a chunk? Now your wall has a giant chunk missing, and you’re still no closer to fixing the problem than you were before. This is just a single example of the ways in which you can accidentally break things in your basement while trying to fix it, and it’s by no means the only example.
Leave the Door Open for Future Problems
The last big problem you might experience while trying to DIY a fix is the fact that you might end up causing an opening for future problems. After all, while your problems might be pretty obvious right now, there are many ways in which these problems can become more confusing. What should you do, for example, if you have hairline cracks, but seemingly no water pouring through them?
In general, one of the biggest concerns that comes with a DIY fix is the fact that it can be difficult to ascertain whether it’s useful. When you perform a DIY fix, you’re not usually fixing anything. Instead, a basement waterproofing expert will have to come along later and fix your “cure” to help you along on the right path. That’s why choosing a basement waterproofing expert first is the best option for your basement needs.
Leave Your Basement Care in the Hands of Basement Waterproofing Experts
At the end of the day, there’s no way for you to fix water in your basement cove without some significant investment. This investment might be time, money, or just simply energy, but either way, you need to invest in your basement if you’re going to fix the issue you’re experiencing with your basement cove as a whole.
This is exactly why you can’t DIY a fix, and exactly why so many people have turned to JES’ basement waterproofing experts for guidance. Schedule a free inspection today and you’ll be able to learn more about your basement waterproofing options, including ways to remove the water you have, avoid getting more water in the future, and fix any secondary problems that arose from these basement water concerns.
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