When you discover dampness or standing water in your basement, it should be a definite cause for concern. All of that moisture can lead to mold, mildew, and other problems. Unfortunately, prolonged moisture exposure can even cause structural problems with your home and your foundation. Here are a few things to check when you have water coming in from outside your house.
Do A Walk-Around Inspection Of the Foundation
One of the most common causes of water exposure inside your home's foundation is runoff that flows down from the yard. When the soil that was once built up around the foundation shifts, settles, or washes away, it can create an incline that water will flow along, directing it straight into your foundation. Water always seeks the lowest possible destination, so it's a natural response.
Walk around the outside of the house and look at the foundation all the way around. Evaluate the soil grade around the edge of the foundation, because that's where you're likely to find problems. The soil should be higher against the basement and slope down to route water away from the house, not toward it. If there are grading problems around the foundation, a landscaper can help you shore it up.
Check For Level Structures
Anything that's been built onto the house, such as patios or other structures, can lead to water flow against the house. If the structure leans toward your house instead of sitting level or sloping away from the house, then any water flowing off the structure is going to flow toward your house. This can be problematic during heavy rain storms or periods of significant snow melt. Test the patio with a level to determine which direction the slope runs in. You may find that you need to dig out space under the posts on the side away from the house.
Clear And Assess The Gutter Draining
Gutter systems and roof downspouts will collect rainwater runoff from the roof and direct them through the pipe system and out to the drain outlets you've installed. If those drain outlets are too close to the house, it can create a flood of water pooling near the foundation.
If you have downspouts that are draining too close to the house, consider installing some extenders on the drain pipe. That will give the water a little bit more pipe to travel down, depositing it further from your home. In addition, inspect and clean the gutters regularly, because full gutters will cause overflows and flooding around the edge of the house.
In addition to spotting the source of the water, you should consider talking to a basement waterproofing contractor. That way, if any water does pool along your foundation, it won't seep through the porous material.