How is Water Leaking into My Basement?


Water leaking in your basement is at best an annoyance and a cause of worry, and at worst it is a threat to your home's foundation and the health of you and your family. If a water leak is left untreated, mould and foundation damage are likely to occur in the home.


It’s important to understand that there are many possible causes for basement leaks and foundation wall cracks. Unfortunately, Toronto has ideal conditions for basement leaks due to our wet weather, high water tables, and ageing homes.


Here are some of the key causes of water entering your basement:

1. Structural cracks

Concrete foundations are not resistant to cracks. Foundation cracks can be caused by soil settling around the foundation or by movement in the house’s walls. Once a foundation crack has formed it can be quite difficult and expensive to fix. If left untreated, the prolonged water leak can expand the crack and deteriorate the foundation over time.


2. Where your four walls meet

The outer perimeter of your house is composed of a thick slab of concrete called a footing. This footing is poured into a wooden form and a little indentation/ channel is formed. This is called a keyway.


The foundation walls are then formed perpendicular to the footings, filling this channel and the keyway, creating a little mechanism for holding the foundation walls and footings together with little or no lateral movement.


Issues can arise if you have two distinct structures that are not perfectly bound to one another, as it will allow the seepage of water from the external environment.


Similar to the keyway, a home also has a cove joint. This is on the interior side of your home and is where the basement’s floor meets the foundation floor. It is important to note that the cove joint is also a vulnerable location for water seepage.

3. Stairways

You may have an old-fashioned hatchway structure or a standard stairway going into your basement. In either case, you may experience cracks.

In general, the connection of a stairway to a structure (Your home and/or basement) often creates vulnerable spots for water accumulation. It is vital to ensure a solid bond and effective grading and/or sloping to reduce the opportunity for foundation cracks and leaks.


4. Windows

Like stairways, windows built into your basement walls can be a common culprit of water leakage issues. Window wells that do not have proper drainage can cause pooling around your foundation. That pooling increases your chances of suffering from a basement leak and/or foundation leak surrounding your window(s). The issue here is caused by where the water is being directed, water should always be routed AWAY from windows

and foundation walls.


5. Defects with gutters and downspouts

Your gutter system can often cause water problems in your basement. Making sure your downspout is in working order and has an extension to carry water away for your home is critically important when attempting to keep your basement dry.

6. Defective Sump Pit/Drain Tile

The sump pit, beneath your basement, is generally fitted with a pump that is meant to transport water to the ground surface outside the foundation wall. Many things can cause this system to fail, such as poor installation, a poor drain pipe, or a broken connection between the drain pipe and the sump pump.

7. Water rising over a low foundation wall

Your home might be situated in a way that causes water to be able to make it over the foundation wall. Shorter walls, particularly at a place where runoff from some elevation is present, are a big culprit here.

Water leaking into your basement can be an annoying and persistent problem. It is important to properly identify the source of your water troubles and consult a qualified expert immediately. A little water may not seem like a big deal initially, however, if left untreated a little problem can easily turn into a large problem.

If you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA and have water or foundation issues with your home, feel free to contact us here for a free in-home estimate and inspection.

About Nusite


Nusite Contractors Ltd. has been proudly serving GTA homeowners for over 30 years! We are a family business and take pride in customer service and professional work. You can contact us here to schedule a free consultation and written estimate! We would be happy to help!


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