How to Prevent Basement Flooding in Your Home

5 Ways to Prevent Basement Flooding in Your Home

April 11, 2017

Heavy rain and basement flooding can be a true nightmare for any homeowner. A common problem in the spring or summer, basement flooding may be the result of a faulty foundation, poor lot grading, or plumbing issues. If left untreated, even minor flooding problems can wreak havoc in the long-term. The good news is several precautionary steps can help you avoid long-term damage and ensure that your basement stays dry during heavy rainfall.

Fix Foundation Cracks

Foundation cracks.

Scan your basement for foundation cracks, as they're a tell-tale cause of a damp basement. Almost all concrete foundations will crack at some point due to moisture and the makeup of concrete itself, so don’t panic if you see small diagonal cracks around windows or vertical cracks less than an inch long. Smaller cracks (less than 1/4 inch wide) can be filled with epoxy putty or a foam, as it expands to fill all the gaps in the crack, ensuring no water will leak through. There are many options online for filling these cracks yourself.

If you notice long horizontal cracks, where one edge of the wall appears to slightly pushed backwards from the other (deflected), it’s likely a foundation crack that needs to be fixed by a basement or foundation contractor.

Check the Length of Gutter Downspouts

Gutter downspout.

Make sure gutters are draining stormwater at least three to six feet away from your home's foundation. If your gutters are draining water alongside your home, consider extensions to help push the water further out into your yard. Make sure gutters are free of debris. During heavy rainfall, look for any puddles of water near the foundation of your home.


Make Sure Your Sump Pump is Working

Sump pump.

Sump pumps are installed in specially constructed water basins in basements. As water enters the basin, the sump pump will pump it away from your property. If your home lost power during a storm, causing your sump pump to stop working, look into buying a backup battery. They run around $100-$150 and can be purchased at any home improvement store. If you’re the type of person who likes to fix things yourself, check out this thorough article about all the possible issues to check for when your sump pump stops working.

Cover Window Wells

Egress window.

If you have any basement windows, make sure they're properly sealed. This could mean you have new windows installed, or with older windows you may need to caulk around them. A heavier polyurethane sealant that is made specifically for water-tight sealing on concrete or masonry work around doors and windows. Also, cover any window wells - especially those facing poor grading or near an area where water tends to pool.

Check Septic Tank

For those who live on the outskirts of Des Moines, remember that your sewers and septic tanks can become clogged during times of heavy rain, which may lead to overflow in your basement or property. Evaluate your need for a check valve, which prevents water street sewers from entering your property. Spring is a good time to inspect sewer and septic systems.