Basement Flooding

Cause: Cracks in the floor and/or walls
Solution: Install a sump pump and stop or control seepage.

Hairline cracks are normal in large poured concrete surfaces such as basement floors and normally do not present a problem for seepage. However, larger cracks in basement floors and walls can and do result from uneven settlement and/or groundwater pressure.

If water seeps through the floor or walls, it is the result of a high water table next to the house.  Therefore, installing a sump pump and drain tile around the outside walls or beneath the basement floor will draw down the water table to relieve the pressure against the house.

Once the drain tile and sump pump are in place, the cracks can be filled to attempt to stop any remaining seepage. Cracks should be widened and cleaned so that both the interior and exterior of the wall can be filled with hydraulic cement. An alternative to filling cracks is to apply a waterproof veneer to the exterior of the walls.

Block foundations are difficult to seal so a baseboard drainage system may pose a better solution.  A heavy-duty vinyl baseboard is cemented to the floor with an adhesive caulk along the leaking wall.  Holes are then drilled along the base of the wall to relieve pressure against the wall and the water is channeled between the baseboard and wall to the sump pump. If desired, the block wall can then be enclosed with wallboard or paneling over plastic sheeting on treated furring strips.

Cause: Water flowing in from sump pit
Solution: Upsize or add another sump pump.

Window wells should drain into the foundation drain. A surcharging foundation drain can result in slow drainage from window wells. A second pump in the sump pit is preferred to simply oversizing the one pump to provide a measure of protection in the event of a pump failure.  A battery backup pump not only provides additional capacity but will also function during a power outage.

The window well casing should be resealed against the foundation and any settled ground adjacent to the foundation should be raised.

Alarms that detect water on the floor provide early warning of rising water.  Such alarms are widely available at a reasonable price.

Cause: Power loss
Solution: Install a battery backup pump.

A battery backup pump not only provides additional capacity but will also function during a power outage. Many models include an alarm to indicate when the pump has activated and when the battery should be replaced.

Alarms that detect water on the floor provide early warning of rising water. Such alarms are widely available at a reasonable price.

Cause: Floor drain backup
Solution: Clean the sanitary line and install backflow prevention.

Floor drains are connected to sanitary sewer. Therefore, backups should be completely sanitized using a disinfectant, such as bleach. Gloves and other precautions should be used.

Sanitary service lines can become clogged due to tree roots or large flushed objects. A sewer contractor may be needed to clear the service line of the blockage. Such a backup occurs independently of a heavy rainfall.

Certain sanitary sewers may surcharge following a heavy rainfall due to inflow and infiltration. In fact, some sewers are combined, meaning that they convey not only sanitary effluent but also stormwater. Checking valves, floor plugs or standpipes can prevent such backups.

Alarms that detect water on the floor provide early warning of rising water. Such alarms are widely available at a reasonable price.