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6 Common Causes of Basement Leaks

You may think your home is prepared for any type of weather. Then, after a long day of work, you may step into your basement only to find puddles of water.

A flooded basement is a serious problem and understanding the common causes is the first step to repair.

The good news is that professionals at Innovative Basement Authority can help you both prevent and contend with unwanted basement flooding.

But first, let’s explore the 6 common causes of basement leaks.

1. The “Clay Bowl” Effect 

Despite its name, you will not find yourself living above a bowl-shaped hole in your hand or anything like that. Instead, the “clay bowl” effect refers to the state of the earth beneath your home after you’ve excavated and backfilled a foundation. 

Excavating your foundation in the first place is a necessary burden, as is backfilling that space. When you replace the soil you initially removed, however, there are going to be more gaps in your land than there were before you began building. As such, your foundation and basement are going to be more vulnerable to water damage, simply because the soil beneath your home will be more porous. If you don’t have working gutters and downspouts on hand, then rainwater or snowmelt can rush straight for your foundation and basement, where it can wreak havoc on your home’s structural supports. 

2. Busted and Broken Pipes 

There is always a chance for the leak you’re contending with to originate inside of your home. The pipes in your basement, for example, are far more sensitive to damage than they initially appear. If these pipes end up exposed to high levels of humidity, they can develop cracks or even burst, especially in the dead of winter. 

A damaged pipe, however, does tend to give itself away. If you’ve noticed the water pressure dropping throughout your home, it’s more likely than not that you have a leak somewhere in your piping. The professionals in your area can help you identify that leak and replace the bits of pipe that appear to be causing problems for you. Furthermore, a professional can distinguish between a bursting washer hose and a water heater failure, helping you eliminate the stress of not knowing what’s gone amiss somewhere in your home. 

3. Leaking Stairwells 

If you have to step outdoors to reach your basement, your hatchway and stairs can cause a few unwarranted problems for the overall structural integrity of the space. A mismatched hatchway, for example, or one that’s suffered from damage in the past can allow rain and snow into your basement on a regular basis. 

Not only will that unwanted moisture cause problems for your hatch, but it can also damage the stairwell you have leading down below your home. Not only is a water-damaged stairwell a safety hazard for you and your family to contend with, but it is detrimental to the overall value of your property if left unattended. The good news is that, after working with professionals to remove the unwanted water from your basement, you can take advantage of Innovative Basement Authority’s grated drainage system to prevent water from making its way back into your basement later down the line. 

4. Leaking Walls 

Your walls can also fall victim to unexpected damage as the seasons start to turn over. Hydrostatic pressure, for example, can cause cracks to form in your walls. In turn, the drywall can begin to pull away from the walls, and the walls can begin to bow inward all while water makes itself at home in your basement. 

While that unexpected dampness is strange enough to contend with during the warmer months of the year, it can be more difficult to take on as temperatures drop. At this point, it’s entirely possible that you may discover a thin sheen of ice on your walls—a force that can do serious damage before and after it melts. 

5. Floor Cracks 

Much like your walls, your floors can suffer from cracks and allow unwanted moisture into your home. Hydrostatic pressure is once again the most common force behind these types of cracks. However, pests and tree roots can also cause your basement floor to start to sink into the ground at an uneven rate. 

An uneven basement floor may be fun for any aspiring skateboarders in your home, but it isn’t good for your family’s safety or the value of your home. More often than not, contending with this kind of damage requires you both to seal the leak in your basement and to elevate your foundation, should there be a sign of slippage outdoors. 

6. Leaking Basement Windows 

If you have windows in your basement, you’ll want to make sure they’re well-sealed during the damper parts of the year. Basement windows often rest on lower grades than the rest of the accessories surrounding your home, if only for their affiliation with window wells. As such, when it rains or snows, that precipitation will make its way straight for your wells and, subsequently, your windows. 

If you don’t have a strong seal established in your windows or a liner in place in your wells, that water has near-direct access to your basement. Once inside, it can raise your electric bills, sprout mold clusters, and generally make life in your home a little more complicated. The good news, at least, is that a leaking basement window is much easier to fix than a cracked wall or floor. You can reach out to area professionals to determine whether or not you need to replace the entire window in play. Alternatively, drying out your home and lining your window well may fix the problem for you.

Getting Ahead of Basement Flooding

While there are dozens of ways your home may succumb to water damage, there are just as many ways to respond to and prevent that damage. When you reach out to Innovative Basement Authority you can walk through your home and make a point of identifying those damage signs that can help you pinpoint what kind of leak you may be contending with. 

Some signs of a leaking basement include: 

Basement Flooding


Several common causes can contribute to the leakage in your basement, including hydrostatic pressure, tree roots, pests, the “clay bowl effect,” broken pipes, leaking wall, and floor cracks. It’s best to have an expert at Innovative Basement Authority complete a full inspection to determine the cause.

Waterproofing a basement requires specialized knowledge to address the underlying causes of the issue effectively. While DIY fixes may seem tempting, without proper expertise and equipment, you risk inadequate repairs and potential damage.

Types of Waterproofing Solutions and Repairs

When it comes time to repair your basement, you can discuss what available systems might be able to help you better support your basement. Foundation repair solutions like carbon fiber supports, for example, can hold up your basement walls if they’ve just started to pull away from their internal supports. You can even work with a professional to reinforce a damaged floor’s floor joists within one or two days. 

In the aftermath of your repairs, you’ll have just as many preventative options made available to you. Some of the most common waterproofing measures installed in modern homes include: 

While it is true that you may not be able to install all manner of waterproofing measures in older homes, you’ll still have the opportunity to browse a vast catalog and to prevent the kind of damage that’s plagued you in the past from reappearing throughout your basement.

Reach Out to the Basement Waterproofing Professionals at Innovative Basement Authority

Protecting your basement from seepage and flooding doesn’t have to be a challenge. The experts working in your area have contended with this kind of damage before. They can help you identify the source of unwanted water in your home and seal it safely. Later down the line, they can also help you install those waterproofing measures that can help you avoid seeing repeat damage in the future. Ready to dry out your basement? Reach out to the expert team at Innovative Basement Authority to schedule a free home inspection and repair quote.

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