So… your Vancouver home has a leaky basement. Yikes! Now what?
The wet basement is undoubtedly one of the most common homeowner fears, with horror stories abounding about damp, cracking walls; random leaks; or worse, a full flood situation. And in a city like Vancouver where rain is, well, a fairly frequent occurrence (to put it mildly), these nightmarish leaky/flooded basement stories are far from being urban myth or legend. They’re real-life stories, based on truth and tears, often accompanied by a hefty repair bill to prove it.
This doesn’t, however, need to be the case. If you work with a reputable company, like Urban Water Works, you can not only catch leaky basement issues early, you can prevent water-related basement disasters from happening in the first place.
We’ll get you started on the road to a better basement by revealing:
- Why it’s crucial to fix your boggy basement situation ASAP;
- The most common sources of basement leaks to watch out for;
- How, where and why basement leaks are most likely to occur;
- What to do the very second you find yourself in a waterlogged basement-based nightmare;
- Who to call; and
- How to get your bogged down basement fixed – properly and for the long-term.
(Spoiler alert: Urban Water Works is the answer to a lot of these questions and situations. We’ve got your back – and your basement. Call us today: 604-359-0996)
Why it’s important to fix a leaky basement immediately
Leaking basements are more than just your average homeowner inconvenience. Unlike, say, a squeaky door, this is one issue that cannot, and should not be ignored. Leaky, damp or flooded (worst case scenario) basements have the potential to actually be dangerous, both in the short and long term.
Dangerous to the very structure and strength of your home, with the potential to cause damage to load bearing walls and/or your very foundations.
Dangerous to your home as a long term asset, and thus your financial security.
Dangerous to your health – you don’t have to be a doctor to know that damp and mould have long been associated with significant health risks. (For example, prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness, and consequently the associated mould, can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems such as asthma, nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation.)
At the first sign of a water-based basement situation, call in the experts and dry that mess up.
How and where basement leaks are most likely to occur
The bad news is that, as the lowest point in your house, and especially in a city like Vancouver, leaky basements are more common than you think. It’s practically par for the course that you will have to deal with this at some point in your Vancouver home. The good news? Because it’s such a common problem, Urban Water Works are extremely qualified to get you out of any soggy situation you may find yourself in.
Not all wet basement repair jobs are created equal. Wet basements come in all shapes, sizes, levels of emergency, and from any number of sources, which means that careful, professional assessment is required to ensure the correct fix that can be done quickly, efficiently, and that will hold strong for the long term.
That said, there are a number of common sources for basement leaks, each with their own specific fix, each of which Urban Water Works has expertise in. The most common of these to watch out for being:
Foundation Wall Cracking
Panic not: this sounds worse than it is (most of the time).
For one thing: foundation walls crack. Over time, as a house age and the concrete of your foundation hardens and settles, cracks can, and do, appear. It’s normal. You won’t see most of these cracks and most of the time they’re not a big deal. But sometimes, when water lurks nearby, they will cause you some angst. Often basement related.
For another: nearly all basement waterproofing repairs, including repair of a crack in your basement wall, can often be done in less than a day – hours even.
Once you’ve called the experts in and they have established that your damp basement issue is, indeed, due to foundation cracking, there are a number of ways to get it fixed. There is an expensive, extensive exterior solution, which may be needed in more severe cases. But more often than not, the quicker, more cost-effective interior fix is what is called for. Either way, the experts will be able to advise you.
Weak Basement Wall-Floor Joints
The most common cause of basement water leaks? Through weaknesses in your basement wall-floor joint. It’s an easy, and obvious, spot, and the problem can be fixed by sealing up the perimeter of the basement floor to stop any water seeping in.
Leaking Basement Windows and/or Hatchway Doors
Another extremely common culprit of the damp basement syndrome is the leaky basement window and/or hatchway door. Depending on the severity of the issue, and your budget, you can either install a drain or replace the offending articles entirely.
Broken Water Heaters
Every homeowner, everywhere, has at least one fable of the failed water heater to share. These days, water heaters can be expected to fail around every six to 10 years. And given that water heaters are more often than not installed in your basement or on the lower levels of your home, it makes sense that when they do, the resultant water leak will wreak havoc all over your basement floor. (This havoc is especially true for finished basements, which can be rendered uninhabitable by any kind of flooding.) The pre-emptive solution? Replace your old water heater before it forces your hand!
Eavestroughs and Downspouts
Another extremely common culprit of water leaking into your basement? Clogged downspouts and the resultant backed up eavestroughs. If your downspouts are clogged by leaves or other debris, it may result in any rain water running off the roof to redirect down the side of your house. From there, if you have any of those aforementioned foundation wall cracks, that water may penetrate them and head straight into your basement. Declog your downspouts and empty your eavestroughs!
Clogged Drain Tiles
Clogged and/or broken drain tiles, courtesy of overgrown tree roots, dislodged rocks, or soil movement caused by repeated freezing and thawing (hello Vancouver weather), are a major cause of basement flooding. Keep an eye on your drain tiles.
Signs of a leaky basement
Now that you know some common causes of basement leaks, what are the signs to watch out for that may indicate an imminent, or already arrived, leaky basement issue? Look for:
- Overgrown roots near the foundation of your home,
- Gushing water down the outside walls of your home during rain storms,
- Staining or softness on the walls and/or flooring of your basement,
- Dampness on the walls and/or flooring of the lower and basement levels of your home.
What to do about your leaky basement
Okay. So. All the signs are there. You’ve got a wet basement situation and you need to get it fixed pronto. Now what? What should you do? Who should you call? How do you fix it?
Obviously, the first step is to remove the water in the basement as quickly as possible. Pump the water out with a sump pump (in extreme cases you may even need a submersible pump – call in the experts for this), use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any dampness, open the windows to circulate air, use portable fans to speed up the drying process.
But the real solution? Remove the source of the water ingress. Whether this is a foundation crack repair, a joint repair/sealing solution, some type of drainage repair, or something else entirely, depends on your particular basement issue. And the only way to really ensure you get the right repair, for the right issue, that will ensure a long-term fix? Call in the experts.