Basements often suffer from leakage and seepage problems in the springtime when snow and ice begin to melt, and throughout the year after heavy rains.
Seepage is when groundwater comes slowly through the wall's pores, appearing as a damp spot or spots. Leakage is when groundwater comes through joints and cracks in the wall quickly because the water is pressurized. These problems only occur when the foundation walls or surrounding soil is wet and the foundation also has a weak spot. After you've found the source of the wetness, you can remedy the problem as follows:
- If roof runoff is the problem, repair and maintain your gutter, eaves trough system and downspouts. Make sure the eaves trough slopes away from the foundation and discharges at least 3 feet (91.44 centimeters) away from the house.
- If window wells are collecting water, install well covers.
- If there are openings between the soil and the basement wall, use a filler, such as pea gravel, in the holes.
- If there's lots of excess groundwater, you may need to install a sump pump to drain the excess.
- If there's heavy leakage or a lot of pressure, you may need to install weep pipes to help with the drainage [source: Old House Web].
- If your walls are made of poured concrete, clean any cracks and then repair them with mortar, hydraulic cement [source: Old House Web] or polyurethane.
- If your walls are made of concrete blocks or the cracks are more than ½ inch (1.3 centimeters) wide, fill the cracks with epoxy mixed with sand.
- If the problem is too extensive for any of the above remedies, you can install a footing drainage system around the exterior of your basement walls. This involves excavating the surrounding soil and waterproofing the walls, which is a time-consuming and expensive procedure. It's advisable to consult a professional before attempting to do this job yourself [source: Old House Web].