What are the Most Common Sources that Flood Basements in South Carolina?

Aug 29, 2017

Categories: Foundations

As the foundation experts in South Carolina, we urge clients to put controlling rainwater runoff on the top of the list of things to do to help keep basements dry. Unexpected water in your basement can damage walls and floors, destroy carpeting, ruin furniture, and lead to mold.

The most common source of basement flooding is rainwater, particularly, the water which cascades from the roof and can pool in very large volumes around your foundation. Since many basements are used for storage, flooding basements have often caused families to lose irreplaceable items such as family photos, antiques, and family heirlooms.

In this article, we will discuss the ways in which water can enter your basement and the ways in which it can be prevented.

How Can Water Find Its Way into Your Basement in South Carolina?

There are several ways in which water can find its way into your basement:

Heavy rainfallHeavy rain is one of the most common causes of flooding. Excessive water from short periods of rain will overload your basement waterproofing. The water saturates the ground around the basement to push inside through the foundation wall cracks.

Failure of tar sealant. If your house has an efficient waterproofing system, it will have a tar sealant covering both the inner and outer sides of the foundation wall. The waterproofing is designed to pull water away from the house and into the sewer system.

Lawn grading. Grading is the slope of your lawn and should always slope away from your home to direct the excess rain water into the sewer. A simple way to check your lawn’s grading is to walk around the house during or after a rainfall and see if you can find water pooling around the foundation. The grading of the soil around the entire perimeter of the house should slope down at least 6 inches for the first 6 – 10 feet of horizontal distance. This will help to ensure that any groundwater will be channeled away from the house

Sewer backups inoperable. Sewer backups can also lead to basement flooding. Most suburban homes have a sewer tie-in line that runs lower than the basement floor, taking dirty water from toilets, tubs and sink away from the house.

Sewer water in your basement is a bio-hazard. The cleaning will be extensive and will not be completed overnight. Clogging or damage to the sewer line can result in its waterline rising above the level of the basement floor. If this happens, water will rush into your home flooding it.

Overflowing gutters. Keeping gutters clean of debris such as leaves and branches should be a part of the routine maintenance of your home. Depending on the surrounding trees, gutter cleaning may be required a few times a year. The installation of gutter guards helps to prevent leaves from getting into the gutters and creating a waterfall. Gutters should be pitched slightly toward their downspouts.

Overflowing downspouts. Water overflowing from the gutters running down next to or on the home’s foundation is another reason for basement flooding. The running water could be eroding soil from under the house which can lead to cracking of walls and ceilings. A concrete or plastic splash block may be all you need under the gutter downspouts. Splash blocks absorb the force of water cascading down from the roof and spread out the flow so it doesn’t erode a hole into the soil next to the house. The blocks also direct the water farther from the foundation.

Downspout distance. As previously mentioned, rain water is the most common source of basement flooding, therefore, it is imperative that downspouts should be extended at least ten feet from your home. Ten feet is the minimum distance needed to funnel the water coming off your roof. If your downspout cannot reach the ten-foot minimum then we would encourage you to purchase downspout extensions.

The downspout extensions should effectively channel the water from the house. This will help to ensure that the water will not seep back into the basement. If the soil slopes toward your house, extending the gutters will not be enough to keep water away, so grading becomes even more important.

How Can I Dry a Wet Basement in South Carolina?

Dehumidifier. Unless the basement is flooded, one of the best ways to help dry a wet basement is the installation of a dehumidifier. Basements tend to collect a little more humidity than other areas of the house. If your basement is prone to dampness, a dehumidifier becomes a necessity.

Reseal Concrete. Basement moisture can slowly work its way through your concrete walls if they are untreated. This can lead to condensation, where beads of moisture form on the surface of walls or floors. The dampness helps create mold problems and a concrete paint-and-sealer combo is used to prevent it. Sealants come in a variety of strengths and colors, so it is easy to find something that will work for your home. There are often different varieties for walls and for floors, too, so you will want to read the instructions carefully before applying any paint-and-sealer combo.

Driveways. Driveways, patios, and flower gardens can become outdoor traps moisture that will inhibit the attempts to dry out the basement for naught. Use a cold patch for cracks, holes, or other problems. This will help keep water running away from your home instead of encouraging pooling and collection, and maintaining extra features of the property like decks and flower gardens to ensure that they have proper drainage during inclement weather is also important.

A wet basement puts your home on the road to disaster. Drying the basement should be the priority and, with wet basements, time is of the essence. All too often we hear of people that thought the basement will dry itself. After all, it gets hot down there. If you are experiencing dampness in your basement, call CNT. Let’s discuss the ways in which we can help protect one your largest investments.