Most Common Basement Water Problems

Posted on Posted in Waterproofing

Most houses in California don’t have basements for several reasons. One, post-World War II tract-building methods made an assembly line of house construction and it was just quicker to finish houses without digging for a basement. Two, the foundation of a house needs to go below the frost line so it will not be shifted by the freeze-thaw cycle. In California, frost is not much of an issue and most house builders don’t see the need to dig deeper. Third, fear of earthquakes causing a house to collapse through the basement.

In older neighborhoods though, there are still many houses that have basements. If your house is in one of these neighborhoods, it is highly probable that you are experiencing basement water problems. Whether your basement is a simple storage area or the most modern game room, ALL basements experience water problems because of its location below ground level.

The most common basement water problems are:

Mold. Mold is caused by excess moisture that may come from rising damp in basements or ground floor. The issue of mold should not be taken lightly as it affects people’s health causing respiratory and skin problems. Mold starts to grow in the dampest, darkest places and by the time you see it, the mold has been spreading for some time.

Floor cracks. Floor cracks need to be addressed immediately especially it water is seeping through them. Water can erode the ground under or around your house which then loses the its support. Earthquakes are a common occurrence in California and this may cause cracks on the basement floor.

Wall cracks. Settling, seasonal freeze and thaw, water pressure, et cetera, may cause wall cracks. Cracks need to be fixed before they become bigger problems.

Sump pump overflow. A sump pump is used to pump water out of your basement to a suitable location outside your house. Just like anything mechanical, a sump pump may fail causing the sump basin to overflow and allow water to go inside the basement.

Overflowing window well. Basement windows allow natural light to come in the dark area of a basement. Windows are also passageways for water especially when they are not sealed properly.

Seepage around pipes. Water may seep through a pipe that penetrates the foundation walls. These could include water, sewage, electric, and gas lines.

Aside from these common basement water problems, “this winter’s El Niño cycle could present unusual hazards for homeowners in certain parts of the United States,” according to the Farmers Insurance® Seasonal Smarts Digest. The PR Newswire says, “El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is expected to create wetter-than-average conditions in the South, the Mid-Atlantic and southern portions of New England, as well as in California, Texas and Florida. Homeowners in these areas will likely have to contend with an increased risk of flooding, water damage and power outages.”

If your basement has one or even more of these water problems, it needs to be addressed in a speedy manner. A wet basement can cause health problems such as chronic lung infection, asthma, sinusitis, allergic reactions, and eczema.

Along with a negative effect on people’s health, a wet basement can also be damaging the actual structure of the house. Any wood support beams may start to rot, as will any other wooden components and structures. Eventually, the foundation of the house may weaken and become unsafe.

Any electric units such as air conditioning, heating, equipment, and appliances in contact with water or exposed to prolonged moisture will also be ruined or unsafe to use.

Insect infestation is another problem that comes along with a wet basement. Bugs are attracted to dark and damp spaces and if your basement has some cracks and gaps in the floor or walls, it will be easier for them to get in. Once the insects are inside the basement, they will have access to the rest of the house, which isn’t going to make anyone happy.

If you are looking to sell your home and you have a wet basement, it could be on the market for a very long time. If there is mold, insects, structural damage or water damage, your house might not pass inspection and you will have a difficult time selling it. A mold problem may cause you to take your house off the market until it clears and have it re-inspected. The whole process of getting your house in shape is costly and stressful.

In other words, a wet basement leads to water damage, which is a problem that property owners dread. Water can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage and it affects or destroys wood furniture, upholstery, electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment; water damage can make your house unsafe; water damage can cause mold and insect infestation; and more importantly, water damage can lead to the destruction of homes and businesses.

It is very important to check periodically for cracks on the basement floors and walls. Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris. Check that your basement windows aren’t prone to leaks. Check for water accumulation along the exterior of your house.

If you are a property owner in Southern California with any of these problems already on hand, the solution is a no-brainer — just call Westside Company at 310 994 4626 or send an e-mail at Westside Company is a waterproofing contractor in the business for more than 20 years. We have seen every type of basement water problem there is and have extensive experience in resolving these. We have done many different basement projects across the greater Los Angeles including San Pedro, Malibu, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Bellflower, et cetera.

Here at Westside Company, we do a fantastic job of repairing waterproofing systems or reapplying waterproofing materials after they have worn out to keep water out of your basement and avoid very expensive water damage costs. As your waterproofing contractor we will be dedicated to your satisfaction and after you work with us you’ll be able to rest easy these winter nights knowing that all of your structures are well waterproofed.