Why Does My Basement or Foundation Leak?

a flooded basement floor in a Burnt River home

Flooding in basements and crawl spaces is common in homes new and old -- and rarely a one-time occurrence. Once water has flooded through your foundation, you can be certain that it will happen again.

There are two important factors that contribute to basement leaking -- the clay bowl effect and hydrostatic pressure.

To learn more about what we can do to help you with these problems, contact us by phone or e-mail today!

We offer free waterproofing quotes in Mississauga, Markham, Toronto and many areas nearby. Call or e-mail us today to schedule an appointment!

illustration of the clay bowl effect flooding a foundation

The "Clay Bowl Effect" And Your Foundation

Imagine your home as it was being built. The contractors begin by digging a hole in the ground to make room for your basement and foundation. To do so, the contractor must dig a hole that is a little larger than the space your home will need. The foundation will be built inside this space, and the concrete floor will be poured.

Once the foundation has been built, some of the excavated soil is used to fill in the gap around the outer edge of your foundation.

This soil, known as "backfill", will be loose and fluffed from the excavation. Meanwhile, the untouched soil around it, known as "virgin soil", may have been settling for hundreds, even thousands of years.

What does this mean for you? The backfilled soil surrounding your foundation will always be looser and more absorbent of water than the dense, hard-packed soil around it.

This forms a sort of "clay bowl" around your house -- one that creates an artificial water table around your home. Water collects the most right around your foundation -- exactly where you don't want it to be.


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Illustration of hydrostatic pressure leading to a flooding foundation

Hydrostatic Pressure and Wet Soils

Water is heavy! As the soil around your home becomes soaked with moisture, the soil will expand, and the weight of the water will press on your foundation. This is known as hydrostatic pressure.

As hydrostatic pressure builds against your foundation, water will work its way in through any way possible.

Water can make its way through concrete cracks in the walls or floors, through openings around pipes, through basement windows, or even directly through the porous concrete. If you have block walls, water may pass through the block and begin to fill the open cavities.

However, the most common way that water enters a home is through the foundation wall-floor joint. We find that most flooded basements start with a leak here.

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Flood Warning

Protecting your home means more than just stopping groundwater. It's also important to keep an eye on your home plumbing, including the water heater and washing machine.

Waterproofing a Foundation in Ontario

How do you dry a wet basement? By stopping water at the point where it enters the structure.

Since most basements flood from the wall-floor joint, one of the most common ways to stop the flooding is to install a weeping tile system along the edge of the basement floor. This would collect the water and direct it to a sump pump, which would then discharge it out of your home.

However, at Clarke Basement Systems, we have an approach to solving water problems of all types. Our solutions cover all surfaces of the basement, including the foundation walls, basement floors, and even wet crawl spaces.

We offer free basement waterproofing estimates in Ontario, including Markham, Toronto, Mississauga, Vaughan, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Oshawa, Peterborough, Newmarket, Barrie, Aurora, York, Bolton, Port Hope, Lindsay and many areas nearby. Contact us today to get started!

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