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Do You Have Water In Your Basement?

water leaking into basement

The Midwest doesn’t have a “rainy season” like tropical regions do.  But when a storm system moves through, it often outstays its welcome.  It frequently rains in Indiana until we teeter on the edge of flood stage- leaving many of us with ponds in our yards and water in our basements. 

Acculevel is a family-owned and operated company based out of Rossville, Indiana.  Founded in 1996, we specialize in foundation repair and waterproofing. These two services are frequently needed (sometimes at the same time!), because water causes both foundation damage and leaking basements. 

We’re going to explore the ways water gets into your basement, signs you may need foundation repair, and when you need waterproofing. 

 

Why Do You Have Water in Your Basement?

When you find water in your basement, your first reaction is usually a mixture of anger and frustration.  The anger is easy to understand; no matter who you are, mopping up a mess is never something you want to do.  The frustration is more complicated.  It’s usually a result of an unpleasant surprise, mixed with some fears and concerns.  What does this water intrusion indicate about your foundation’s health?  Will it be expensive or difficult to repair? 

To answer these questions you first need to determine the source of the water.  Just because it’s raining doesn’t automatically mean the problem is with your foundation.  Major storms can overwhelm the drainage system in your area.  This will cause pipes to be sluggish or even back up, forcing water (and worse!) into your home.  

If the water is coming from a leaking pipe or the floor drain in your basement, you need to call a plumber immediately.  

However, if the water is clean (meaning not sewage-related) and not originating from plumbing, you’re going to need a specialty contractor like Acculevel.

 

Water In Your Basement May Require Foundation Repairs 

When you tracked down the source of the water, did you discover it’s coming through a crack in your basement wall?  If so, the first step is sealing the crack to stop the water intrusion.  We recommend epoxy fill as the best crack repair method.  In the past, Acculevel has tested other solutions and techniques, but none of them met our expectations.  We warranty our crack repairs for 5 years, and epoxy is the only fill type that has met that standard. 

Once the crack repairs are completed, it’s time to address whatever caused the crack to form.  

basement wall crack leaking water
This photo was taken by an Acculevel project advisor during a free in-home assessment.  The homeowner found this vertical crack after removing wet drywall in their basement. 

 

What Caused The Crack In Your Basement Wall? 

There is a possibility that tree or large plant roots are to blame for the crack in your foundation.  If this is the case, you’ll need to work with a tree service to address this; foundation repair companies don’t have the expertise to manage landscaping or horticulture.  The best way to find a good contractor in this field is by asking friends or neighbors whose landscaping you admire.  

 

Hydrostatic Pressure

In most instances, cracks in basement walls (or floors) are caused by too much water in the soil around your home.  The ground can only absorb so much moisture.  Any excess water moves throughout the soil until it runs into something it can’t permeate.  Water then collects in that area, pressing against the object (your house!) and exerting force.  This is called hydrostatic pressure, and if it is not addressed, it will keep pushing against your foundation.

Over time, hydrostatic pressure can cause more than just foundation cracks.  It can also force your basement walls to move.

bowing basement wall
This photo was also taken by an Acculevel project advisor.  This basement wall has cracked and started to bow inward.

 

Water In Your Basement Contributes to Bowing Walls

A bowing wall is a serious structural problem, and should be repaired immediately.  Procrastinating this particular repair can have serious and expensive consequences. The longer water pushes against the wall, the more the wall bows.  The farther the wall bows, the more the repairs will cost.  

If you wait too long, the bowing wall could collapse, which compromises the stability of your entire house. At that point, it may not be safe for you to live in your home until after repairs are made.

The best case scenario for a bowing wall is that it’s leaning less than 2 inches inward.  This would allow you to repair them with carbon fiber straps.  These are a minimally invasive repair method, and the least expensive repair type available. 

 


Have a bowing wall, and need answers right away?  Our free and complete homeowner’s guide to foundation repair has the answers you need!  It covers everything from types of cracks, repair methods, repair costs, and warranty details.


 

Waterproofing Manages The Water In Your Basement

If there are no cracks in your basement walls or floor, but you have water seeping directly through the walls? This is another sign of hydrostatic pressure.  The excess water in the soil has been seeping into the foundation walls, and is now leaking out into your basement.

People often forget that foundations are built of porous material; concrete, brick, and mortar will gradually accept water.  But this seeping process is usually slow, allowing the stress of the intrusion to build up over time.  This is how water ultimately cracks your foundation!  Water slips through the concrete, wearing a path through it, until the path becomes a gap.

If you don’t have any cracks in your foundation yet? This is the time to install a waterproofing system.  A high quality water drainage system may alleviate the hydrostatic pressure enough to prevent cracks from forming altogether.

sump pump installed in basement
This photo was taken by an Acculevel team member after installing a water drainage system and sump pump.

 

You May Need Both Foundation Repair & Waterproofing

We mentioned at the beginning of the article that sometimes you need both foundation repair and waterproofing.  Cracked walls are an excellent example of this.  If you have a cracked or bowing wall, you should also install waterproofing to relieve the pressure against your foundation.  This will help prevent the same process from damaging another wall.  

Acculevel’s goal is to provide whole-home solutions to homeowners.  This means our repair plan addresses both the symptoms you have (a bowing wall, water in your basement) plus the root cause of the issue (hydrostatic pressure). 

basement wall repaired with straps
This photo was also taken by an Acculevel team member after making repairs: cracks were epoxied, carbon fiber straps were installed, and waterproofing was installed.  The carpet covers the water drainage track, but the cover of the sump pump is visible in the corner.

 

Want More Information About Waterproofing?

We’ve written a detailed homeowner’s guide to basement waterproofing.  This free resource covers hydrostatic pressure in greater detail and discusses types of water drainage and costs.  It also explores encapsulation as a great option for finished basements, dehumidifiers, and ways to reduce the amount of water in the soil around your foundation. 

link to our waterproofing guide

 

Not Sure If You Need Foundation Repair or Waterproofing?

Because hydrostatic pressure can be responsible for both water in your basement and foundation damage, it can be difficult for a homeowner to determine what the right solution is.  If you live in Indiana or the surrounding states (check our exact service map here), contact Acculevel and schedule your in-home assessment.

Have a day job that limits access to your phone? Prefer to have appointment details in writing?  Fill out our online form and let us know if you need us to text or email you, instead!

You will meet with one of our expert project advisors, who will discuss your concerns, the symptoms you’ve noticed, and what your plans are for your basement.  They will evaluate your home, determine the repair options, then review their recommendations with you.  Together, you will decide on the best whole-home solution for you and your family.

If you don’t live in our service area, use our guide providing the questions you should ask a contractor.   This will help you screen potential companies to find the right fit for you.  Also, always make sure that any contractor working on your home is properly insured and accredited by the Better Business Bureau

 

 

Kelly Kater

Over her twenty year career, Kelly has worked in a wide variety of fields: secondary education, nursing, biology, elder care, the postal service, multicultural development, and academia. She has developed a skill for translating industry-specific jargon into everyday language. Her goal is to share the knowledge and experience of the Acculevel team with homeowners, in a way that is both engaging and informative.

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