If you live in areas where basements are common, you’ve probably dealt with leaks. Leaky basements aren’t always signs of big problems or caused by major events. They’re usually the result of wear and tear over time causing small cracks in the foundation.
When your basement leaks, it’s important to find the cause of the leak before it becomes a serious problem. If it’s an easy fix, you might be able to address it cheaply and easily (with a bit of muscle and repair know-how).
Here is how to solve a simple leaking basement repair on your own.
Fixing Your Basement Leak Easily in 5 Steps
1. Determine the source of the leak. Finding the cause of the leak might require you to trace the water outside to determine where the elements are getting in from.
The cause might be your drainage system. The right yard draining systems can be a quick fix to the cause of a leak, but you should hire a professional to install it. If it’s a crack in your foundation from shifting and settling over time, though, and you’re handy with repairs, you may be able to correct the problem yourself.
2. Dry out the foundation. You need to dry out the foundation in order to fix the cause of the leak. To do this, you should dig a trench about six feet deep around the perimeter of your house. Allow the trench to have a slight slope away from the wall to it to allow for better drainage. Make sure the trench is wide enough that you can crawl into it for the next step.
Once you’ve done your digging, you shouldn’t go straight to looking for and covering up any cracks. They may be hidden in the mess of your foundation. Instead, give it a good pressure wash, brush the surface off with a heavy-duty scrubber, and then let it dry. The slope should help it drain and dry faster.
3. Now you can find your cracks and seal them. Any cracks in the foundation should be addressed, even if you don’t think they are the cause of your current trouble. If you don’t want to have to repeat these steps again later on down the road, be proactive now.
Patch any cracks with cement mix, then smooth them out with a trowel. Once that dries, you should waterproof the area with a waterproof sealant and a membrane.
4. Install drainage pipes. While you already have the hard work done, you can prevent more leaks by installing drain pipes if you don’t already have them in place. Footing drains should be placed in a layer of gravel around the foundation.
5. Cover the trench. After your pipe is set, refill it with the soil you dugout. Don’t wait until you’ve filled the entire thing to pat and set the soil, though. Add layers of soil and compact it as you go.
Basement Leaks Aren’t Always Devastating
If you’ve got a yard draining problem backing up your water and causing leaks, you may need to call in the experts. But a simple foundation crack that is creating water damage isn’t necessarily caused for alarm. Instead of spending thousands to have it repaired by a pro, you can fix the crack with 5 simple steps.