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Waterproofers Blog

How to Fix a Leaky Basement

Real estate values in and around the Greater Toronto Area have been rising for several years now.

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that home sales in February were up 45.6 per cent compared with the same month in 2019.  The average price of a home rose to $910,290, compared with $779,791 in February of 2019. Sales were projected to remain strong through the year. Real estate is a nice, safe, stable place to put your money.

So with those values, a home owner understands the importance of protecting their investment. Owning a home is the most important investment most of us will make in our lifetime.

Water seepage into the basement, even a flood, will eat away at that investment. That’s especially true for homeowners who have renovated their basement, and built an apartment, for rental income purposes. Maybe the homeowner is running a short-term rental business through Airbnb, to help pay for the mortgage.

Whatever the situation, the objective is to keep the basement dry. Water seepage left unaddressed will cause big problems, both from a health and financial perspective.

WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR BASEMENT IS LEAKING?

Basement water leaks can lead to mildew and mould, which can in turn lead to health problems like fatigue, headaches, nasal congestion, skin problems, coughing and eye irritation. The cost to replace flooring, carpet, dry wall, wiring, plumbing, on top of any furniture or electronics – not to mention any family heirlooms, important documents or files – all damaged by water will head into the thousands. Around $1.7 billion is paid out in insurance claims due to water damage in Canada each year.

So how do you keep your basement dry?

  • Don’t ignore your eavestroughs and gutters. Check them every fall and spring, because if they are clogged water will overflow during rain storms and over-saturate the ground next to the foundation walls. That will lead to basement leaks and flooding. Also, make sure the downspouts running off the gutters are long enough and directed to where you want the water to go, like a garden, or under trees. Look into plastic or metal gutter extensions.
  • Make sure soil next to the home’s foundation slopes away from the foundation walls. The slope should be at least six inches, 10 to 12 feet from the house, all around the perimeter. This as well will help ensure that water isn’t building up against the basement walls.
  • Always be on the lookout for leaks through the basement cement walls, along the floor, or around pipes that might be wearing down with age. Go to Home Depot and pick up some hydraulic cement for $20, follow the instructions and apply it. It will expand as it cures and fill any gaps. If the water is really rising through the floor, though, you likely have an issue with rising groundwater, or a rising water table, and you need to call in a waterproofing professional.
  • Get a licensed plumber to inspect the weeping tiles or drain system, which is meant to transport water away from the foundation, to see if it’s clogged, damaged or impeded in any way.
  • Inspect the window wells, or around any basement doors, for any leaks or blockages. Homeowners often find leaves or dirt blocking the drainage system in window wells when inspected.
  • Install a basement waterproofing system. Call on a licensed professional for this (Canada Waterproofers will come to your home for a free inspection). An interior waterproofing system doesn’t cost as much. It is designed to keep your basement dry by pumping water away from the home’s foundation via a sump pump and a newly installed weeping tile or drainage pipes, as well as a drainage membrane installed along the walls, where water that seeps through drops down into the drainage system.

An exterior waterproofing system costs more, but is more effective, as it prevents water fr0m even getting through the cement walls. It’s an extensive job, so you have to weigh that into your decision – a lot of excavation work, over days, even weeks, and your yard and garden will take a beating. But it’s worth it in the end.

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