Fix Grading, Downspouts and Gutters to Solve Basement Flooding
LESLIE: Alright. Pete from Iowa is on the line about a leak in the basement. Tell us what’s going on.
PETE: Well, we – it’s actually happened a couple times. We lost carpet once. But we had some heavy rains and the sump pump works. Everything works fine but between the basement floor and the walls seems like that’s where the water’s coming up through. And it’s weird because probably the biggest amount of water is coming up right below where the garage floor is.
TOM: Alright. So this is an easy problem to solve. We just need to figure out what’s wrong with your outside drainage conditions.
LESLIE: And what’s suddenly different. Do you have gutters on the house and downspouts?
PETE: Yeah, we have downspouts and they go out about 12 feet all the way around so …
LESLIE: Well, it’s possible, since you say that the basement’s been dry for 15 years and this is new with rainfall, that maybe one of your downspouts has become either disconnected or is clogged and it’s causing that water to either overflow or gather or not move to the place it’s supposed to, because that’s exactly what happened at my house. We had a clogged downspout, I didn’t realize it and we ended up with a flooded basement. Once that was solved, everything was dry again.
TOM: The second thing to take a look at is the grading on the outside of the house. And I realize that you say it’s coming from where the garage floor is but just mind the fact that it can travel, yes.
LESLIE: Oh, it can travel.
TOM: It can travel quite successfully and mysteriously, too, so it can show up. I’ve seen rain – I’ve seen problems with drainage result in little geysers in the middle of basement floors and once you fix some grading or gutter issue, it totally goes away.
So, you need to be mindful of the grading at the outside of the foundation perimeter of the house. Soil can settle over the years; walks can settle. If there’s anything that’s allowing water or trapping water against the house or not letting it run away, that’s going to be a contributing factor.
But the good news is that this is happening absolutely consistent with heavy rainfall, so we need to figure out what’s wrong with the drainage.
LESLIE: So it’s nothing else.
TOM: If you told me this was happening inconsistently with the rainfall or heavy snow melt, that would be another issue. But because it rains, it leaks, it rains, it leaks, there’s something wrong with the exterior drainage and you just need to get to the bottom of it and it’ll go away.
PETE: OK, great. Well, very good. Thanks for the help.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Pete. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.