Basement Waterproofing Problem Signs
If you've experienced a basement flood, have damp walls or small leaks, or have a consistent musty smell, you need expert basement waterproofing services from Baker's Waterproofing.
We can help you repair your flooded basement — and prevent future flooding in your home! Our award-winning basement waterproofing systems come with a written, transferable warranty!
Leaking hatchway doors are a nuisance for homeowners who'd like their basement to be dry — especially in a finished basement.
The most common way your basement floods is through your windows. Learn more about why your windows leak and how you can prevent this issue.
Warrantied repairs for leaking wall cracks & pipe penetrations. Learn more about what causes cracks and the best solutions for your home.
Finding water or dampness in your home is always cause for concern due to the many possible sources it could stem from. Finding the cause of standing water is always tricky, but it’s important to address all potential sources. By locating the reason for water in your basement, you can effectively protect your home once basement waterproofing repairs are made. Moisture-related problems such as mold and mildew, foundation damage, and elevated humidity can all cause stress for your home. By waterproofing your basement, you can add back value, increase comfort and safety, and protect your loved ones from the effects of water damage. Contact the experts at Baker’s Waterproofing today to regain confidence in your home once more with our proven waterproofing solutions.
Wet Basement Causes
There are two important factors that contribute to basement leaking:
Imagine your home as it was being built. The contractors begin by digging a hole in the ground to make room for your basement and foundation. To do so, the contractor must dig a hole that is a little larger than the space your home will need. The foundation will be built inside this space, and the concrete floor will be poured.
Once the foundation has been built, some of the excavated soil is used to fill in the gap around the outer edge of your foundation.
This soil, known as “backfill”, will be loose and fluffed from the excavation. Meanwhile, the untouched soil around it, known as “virgin soil”, may have been settling for hundreds, even thousands of years.
What does this mean for you? The backfilled soil surrounding your foundation will always be looser and more absorbent of water than the dense, hard-packed soil around it.
This forms a sort of “clay bowl” around your house — one that creates an artificial water table around your home. Water collects the most right around your foundation — exactly where you don’t want it to be.
Water is heavy! As the soil around your home becomes soaked with moisture, the soil will expand, and the weight of the water will press on your foundation. This is known as hydrostatic pressure.
As hydrostatic pressure builds against your foundation, water will work its way in through any way possible.
Water can make its way through concrete cracks in the walls or floors, through openings around pipes, through basement windows, or even directly through the porous concrete. If you have block walls, water may pass through the block and begin to fill the open cavities.
However, the most common way that water enters a home is through the foundation wall-floor joint. We find that most flooded basements start with a leak here.
Chuck,Dave,Nate,Mike, Jeremy, John and Paul were fantastic! Very professional and capable!View review Read Robert Didonato's review for Baker's Waterproofing
My husband and I are thrilled and amazed with the team that worked on our basement. It looks phenomenal and we are excited to be able to keep our historic house both free of water and structurally sound. Thank you so much Lukas S, Steven S, Dalton…View review Read Samantha Muller's review for ITG Basement Systems
Had a great consultation with Brendan Byham today. He was very professional and talked with me through all the options, pros and cons, for which foundation repair would be best for my specific scenario. Dave Allen and Vince Belleggia performed the…View review Read Matthew Miller's review for Baker's Waterproofing
Great experience with them installing downspouts and new subpumps.View review Read Cooking Creations's review for Baker's Waterproofing
Basement flood proofing ! Chris , ryan , and Evan were great to work with !View review Read Sean Ward's review for ITG Basement Systems
Basement Waterproofing Solutions
A basement represents an entire floor of space in your house. We want to help you reclaim this space and make the most of your home investment.
Basement dehumidifiers help control moisture and humidity in your home, improve overall air quality, reduce odors, and help prevent mold and mildew growth.
Our French drain systems are a key part of a complete basement waterproofing system, and help to provide a permanent solution for flooding.
Prevent leaks and mold growth with our vapor barrier for your basement walls.
Protect your basement even during a power outage with our backup sump pump and battery backup sump pump.
Is Basement Waterproofing the Right Solution for Me?
If your home is experiencing a rise in humidity or mold and mildew growth, it may be stemming from water in your basement. At Baker’s Waterproofing, we specialize in basement waterproofing and foundation repair to eradicate the effects of water damage to your home. We offer free inspections that come with a written estimate of our repair solutions so that you can feel good about choosing to work with us. During your inspection, one of our certified experts will come out and do a full assessment of your home and determine the best solution for your exact problem. With nearly 50 years of experience in protecting homes from moisture-related damage, we know how to accurately spot the signs and provide solutions to keep your home dry.
If you have noticed certain walls around your home starting to look like they are bowing or building inward, then there are a few potential issues that could be at work. The most obvious (and yet least common) cause of uneven, damaged, or bowing walls is some kind of defect in the wall itself. This can take two main forms: design flaws or defects in the concrete mix itself. Either way, the flaws caused by these kinds of issues will make a wall much weaker and lead to many issues of which bowing is only one.
Far more common, however, is damage as a result of excessive pressure or a lack of support. Hydrostatic pressure, for example, is one of the leading causes of bowing, leaning, or collapsing walls. This pressure is caused by the weight of the soil around the walls, of course, but also by the water in the soil. As such, this is an issue that all properties have to deal with at some point; in fact, they are designed to deal with it. The main issue arises when the hydrostatic pressure in the soil reaches unmanageable levels. This can be caused by a number of things, including heavy rainfall, the presence of underground water sources, copious snowmelt, or even just poor drainage around the property.
Finally, there is a chance that lateral or vertical movement in your property’s foundation will lead to damage that destabilizes your basement walls. Spreading cracks that separate the foundation of your home from the walls in some areas, for example, will lead to movement and make the walls more vulnerable to movement, leaning, and localized collapse. Of course, there are some problem signs that will show long before the walls themselves begin to lean or buckle visibly. The most common signs are spreading cracks, dampness, humidity, and mold formation. If you act when you see these early signs, then you could prevent your walls from leaning or bowing at all.
While this is a simple question, the answer can be complex. To keep it short and sweet: most forms of mold are benign, if not exactly healthy to have in your home, but a small number of mold species are toxic. Identifying those types of molds that are actively dangerous can be difficult, however, because mold and fungal growths come in thousands of species. The fungal growths that occur as a result of wood rot, for example, can look similar to white forms of mold but are generally not harmful to humans unless ingested (though they will wreak havoc on your home).
The type of mold that you should be most worried about, however, is black mold. Black mold is highly toxic to humans and animals; it can cause serious side effects even when the level of exposure is small. Black mold can cause side effects such as rashes, skin irritation, infections, dizziness, breathlessness, respiratory issues, and, in some very serious cases, seizures. More serious side effects are rare, of course, and tend to only occur after prolonged exposure… unless there are underlying issues.
As is so often the case, those who are already vulnerable are at the most risk from exposure to any kind of mold but particularly when exposed to black mold in any serious or prolonged capacity. Those most at risk are the elderly, very young children, those who have underlying respiratory issues such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, and those who have impaired immune systems. While exposure to black mold can be unpleasant and debilitating for anyone in large doses, even a small amount of exposure can be lethal to people who have underlying conditions. That makes it necessary to seek out waterproofing measures that can protect your home from falling victim to this kind of infestation.
There are a number of potential causes of dampness when it comes to a property’s basement. Some are fairly benign, while others can be linked to very serious damage to the structure of your home or its internal workings. Of course, the most common and easy to spot source of moisture in any basement is damage to the property’s plumbing systems and any attached appliances. Small leaks in the joints between pipes, or deterioration in appliances like water heaters, can significantly raise humidity over time. More dramatic plumbing floods are more likely to cause dampness, of course, but also less likely to be allowed to continue for any amount of time.
The other possibilities are structural damage or a process called seepage. Seepage is a fairly common and surprisingly benign process that can, nonetheless, have serious implications for your home. Seepage occurs because of the porous nature of concrete as a building material. If the soil outside your home is saturated, then there is a high chance that the water it holds will start to seep through your basement’s concrete walls. This rarely causes noticeable amounts of standing water, but it will raise the humidity in your home. It may also leave a white-ish residue on your walls. This is known as efflorescence.
Finally, damage to the structure of your property, the foundation, or the basement walls is a common but serious issue that should not be ignored. While foundation damage and bowing basement walls are the most severe kinds of damage that can lead to dampness, any crack in the structure of your home can let water in over time. As such, you should act quickly and contact a professional to make sure that the cause of your dampness is not structural of some kind.
Sump pump systems are one of the most common waterproofing measures that can be found across Central PA. Sump pump systems are very often the first and last line of defense against dampness, water damage, and flooding in any home that they are installed in. That’s because of how they actively gather and remove water from a space. Sump pump systems now come in all shapes and sizes, and they are incredibly versatile. Nonetheless, they all work in much the same way and can be split into two categories: submersible and pedestal.
Submersible sump pumps are those which are designed to be submerged in the water inside the sump pit. They are most commonly found pump systems on the market for a number of reasons. Firstly, submersible pumps are quieter and generally considered to be more stable. Likewise, submersible pumps can handle greater volumes of water and are less likely to experience clogs as a result of small pieces of debris.
Pedestal sump pumps, by contrast, sit outside of the sump pit and are generally installed in areas where there are concerns with space. They frequently malfunction and can cause further issues with basement moisture or flooding because of the lack of a secure lid. Additional downsides are the noise that they produce, their inability to deal with solid particles, and the fact that they can be considered a potential hazard to children, animals, and anyone who has to traverse the area around them.
Hydrostatic pressure is a natural force that exists around all homes in York and throughout the country. To put it simply, this pressure is created by the weight of the soil and the water that it contains. All homes are designed and built with this in mind, and are very capable at resisting hydrostatic pressure up to a certain point. They have a threshold, in short, and once hydrostatic pressure levels exceed their threshold, damage becomes more and more likely.
Sudden or significant increases in hydrostatic pressure can be caused in a number of ways. In and around York, or Pennsylvania as a whole, this is most likely to occur because of heavy rainfall and storms during the fall. If your area is contending with soil washout, even your limestone soil won’t be able to prevent localized flooding, and properly draining soil may struggle to keep up after a large amount of snow thawing in the spring.
When this happens, structural damage is almost certain (especially if you have a basement). This is because hydrostatic pressure is often applied laterally. Concrete, which is what most properties’ foundation and foundation walls are made from, is a durable material with huge compressive strength, but very little tensile strength. This means that it really cannot bend or flex and, as such, lateral pressure can cause it to crack and buckle. Bowing walls and foundation fragmentation are common outcomes when hydrostatic pressure gets too high.
Why is Basement Waterproofing Needed?
Protects Your Home Against Mold and Mildew
One of the most obvious and common problems that homeowners will first notice when they have basement water damage is mold and mildew growth. Not only is it unpleasant to deal with, but it also can cause damage to your home and be a health hazard for your loved ones. Once mold forms, it’s easily able to spread through your home at a rapid rate. By waterproofing your basement, you can prevent mold growth altogether and keep your home and family healthy.
Protects It from the Effects of Hydrostatic Pressure
The most worrying problem that can arise when you have a wet basement is structural damage. If water is able to get into your basement, there’s a high chance that your home has experienced some sort of damage to its structure. Whether it is foundation settlement or cracks in your basement walls or floors, water can seep in due to hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure occurs when the soil surrounding your home becomes oversaturated, leading to immense amounts of force upon your foundation. This, in turn, leads to water getting in. By repairing your foundation and waterproofing your basement, you can stop the effects of hydrostatic pressure.
Increases the Value of Your Property
Many homeowners choose to waterproof and finish their basements so that they can be converted into functional living spaces. By doing so, you can increase the value of your home by creating more livable square footage and having waterproofing measures in place. By protecting your home from the effects of water, it will be more appealing to homeowners not looking to do any renovations or repairs once they move. Waterproofing your basement is not only a good practice for your home’s structural integrity but also for whenever you decide to sell.
Common Basement Waterproofing Tips & Mistakes
Helpful Tips for Waterproofing Your Basement
- When considering waterproofing your basement, it’s important to also think about installing exterior waterproofing in addition to an interior drainage system. When the two are combined they establish the perfect boundary to prevent water from entering and damaging your home. This also includes your gutter system, which is why regular maintenance is advised to check for leaks or clogs. This ensures that they are in proper working order and are effectively draining water away from your home.
- Checking the grade of your yard is essential to ensuring your waterproofing systems aren’t working in overdrive. The grade of the land your home is built on also directly impacts the likelihood of it succumbing to hydrostatic pressure. If your yard has a negative grade, any time it rains or the snow starts to melt, it will flow towards your home’s foundation. When your home has a positive grade, it will flow away from your home.
- If you’re having issues with flooding, installing a sump pump will likely solve your problem. A sump pump collects the water inside your basement and pumps the water outside and away from your home. If you already have a sump pump in your basement you will need to maintain it on a regular basis to prevent blockages. You can inspect the system for efficiency by pouring water into the sump pit. If the pump automatically starts, your sump pump is working. We also recommend installing a backup sump pump as a safety precaution. This will keep the pump operating even during a power outage, or during times of heavy rainfall when the primary pump cannot keep up.
Mistakes to Avoid When Waterproofing Your Basement
- If your home experiences a flood, one of the most important things to do is to remove any standing water as soon as possible. By leaving water to sit in your basement, any upholstery like carpet, furniture, bedding, or towels will soak up the water and create the perfect environment for mold. By removing any wet items, you can reduce your risk of mold infestations.
- Many homeowners think that using caulk is an easy cure-all for cracks. It can provide a temporary solution, but it won’t last. A professional foundation repair and waterproofing team will be able to assess what your home’s unique need is and recommend a certain repair solution.
- Unless you have background knowledge of waterproofing and contracting, there is a sizable chance that you don’t know how to locate the root of the problem. It could be a plethora of different things, or it could just be that one crack. Unless you get a professional’s opinion, you may have fixed a crack that has nothing to do with your damp basement and can cause more problems down the road.
Find your service area
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Lancaster County, PA
Soil in Lancaster can be the worst of both worlds. Poor drainage causes the soil around your foundation to either be too wet or too dry. Both have detrimental effects.
State College, PA
Frigid winters in State College suck the moisture out of the soil beneath your home, causing cracking and settling. It’s time to fortify your home with a custom plan.
York County, PA
Year-round rain in York can cause the soil around your home to expand—cracking and settling your foundation. You need the best repairs to protect it.
Central PA Metro Area
Humidity in central PA is rampant, setting into motion an array of foundational issues. No matter the damage, we have the permanent solutions you need to have peace of mind.
Lehigh Valley Metro Area
Wet weather in Lehigh Valley can be the root cause for destructive soil expansion and moldy areas in your home. Defend or repair your home with help from experts.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area
Silty soil native to the Scranton and Wilkes Barre areas of Pennsylvania is poorly drained, meaning you may have water management issues on your property.