Low Foundation

When excessive ground water is allowed to accumulate around the foundation of the house, water may seep into the basement through the basement floor and walls. There are three common problems which may cause water to build up around the foundation.

Footing Drains

Most basements have a footing drain around the outside wall which is designed to collect ground water in the soil and keep it from seeping through cracks in the basement floor and walls. In older homes, the footing drain is connected directly to the house sanitary sewer. When a basement develops leaks in the floor or walls, it is often due to blockage or breakage of the footing drains. When the footing drains are not functioning properly, the ground water collects around the foundation of the house instead of draining into the sewer system.

If your basement is flooding due to problems with the footing drains, there are three possible solutions:

  1. Disconnect the footing drains from the sanitary sewer and install a sump pump
  2. Eliminate deep roots
  3. Clean the footing drains

Exterior Grading

Basement floor and wall leaks can also be caused by excessive amounts of ground water collecting around the basement walls due to improper grading. It is extremely important that the ground around the foundation be sloped away from the house for several feet in order to prevent excessive amounts of water from accumulating in the soil next to the house.

Downspout Drainage

If the downspouts connect with the house drain or sewer, basement flooding can occur when the underground connections become broken, causing the water to seep through the foundation in the vicinity of the break. Or if the downspout is emptying into a sewer which is clogged by tree roots or other obstruction, the sewer may back up into the basement.

You may find it advisable to disconnect the downspouts and let the rain be absorbed into the ground instead of entering the house sewer. If rainwater from downspouts is being discharged onto the ground, be sure to use splash blocks or other means to direct the flow of water well away from the house foundation.