Help! There’s water in my basement!

Basements and crawl spaces are known as sub-floor structures.  They are built beneath the floor level, in soil that constantly shifts and moves.  During heavy rainfall, water saturates the soil and excess water collects around and under the basement, and can leak in through the tiniest cracks in the walls, the floor slabs and in between the walls and the floors.  Over time, these cracks can become larger and, if left untreated, can cause extensive damage to your home.  This is the most common cause of water in the basement; however, there are many other causes for water and moisture in your basement:

  • Washing machines and improperly vented dryers
  • Basement showers
  • Sweating cold water pipes
  • Leaking pipes
  • Improper surface drainage
  • Excessive condensation on the windows
  • Old and brittle foundation sealants
  • A rapid spring thaw when frozen soil cannot absorb moisture from rain and melting snow.

Sometimes, water in your basement is obvious, but at other times, the water itself has disappeared but there are signs it has left behind:

  • Presence of efflorescence (a white, powdery salt left behind after water evaporates)
  • Presence of mildew
  • Chronically damp concrete
  • Persistent humidity and odors

Basement experts suggest several solutions:

  • Make sure that the soil around your home is graded away from the basement wall
  • Make sure that the gutters are clean
  • Check to see that the discharge from your downspouts fall well away from your foundation
  • Foundation sealants may need to be reapplied (especially if your home is older than 25 years)
  • Install energy efficient windows
  • Crack repairs should be done both inside and outside the home
  • Replace any decaying wood to avoid future structural problems
  • Use a dehumidifier in the basement
  • Install a French drain and sump pump system.

There are many basement experts in and around the Montreal area, but one website (Bisson Expert Inc.) actually shows you detailed pictures to help you identify the exact cause of your wet basement problem.

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