What Caused My Basement to Flood?

If your home or building is built partially underground, chances are you’ve experienced, or will experience, a flood. Let’s discuss the common causes of a basement flood, and what to do in case of emergency.

Sump Pump Failure

A sump pump is installed in a basement or crawlspace in a sump pit. The role of a sump pump is to keep the area under the building dry and prevent floods. The sump pump removes water from under the home. 

A torrential downpour or a power outage can lead to a sump pump failure and cause groundwater to flood the basement through the sump pit. It is crucial to regularly ensure the maintenance of your sump pump.

Sewer Backup

A torrential downpour can also result in filled sewers, leading to sewage backup and overflow. When filled beyond capacity, sewage can flood basements by entering through a floor drain or toilet. A backflow device, typically located in the front yard, makes sure that the city’s sewer can not backup into your home. 

Foundation Damage

Most structures are built with a drainage system in the foundation to remove water from the basement and foundation. This ensures that any water entering the basement will drain before causing a flood, or mildew and mold. Water can enter through cracks during a heavy rain, among other ways. It is important to certify your property has a functional drainage system. Additionally, proper grading or downspout extensions reduce the risk of flooding through cracks.

Water Pooling

Water pooling around the foundation can cause major damage. Gravity will pull water downward and it will find a way into your basement. A lack of adequate grading, or clogged gutters and downspouts, can lead to water running down the walls of your home and property to gather at your foundation.

What Can You Do?

To avoid a damaging flood, confirm that your drainage systems and preventative measures are functional. 


To solve any issues regarding improper grading around your home, find a landscaper skilled in grading or try a DIY approach. To DIY, shovel compacted soil along the length of below-grade walls to form a two-inch-per-foot slope around your foundation. If you desire, add some topsoil, mulch, and plants to make the slopes attractive.

Gutters and Downspouts 

First and foremost, clear your gutters and downspouts of any leaves or other debris that could potentially clog them. The purpose of gutters are water diversion, so keeping them clean is paramount to flood protection. To ensure your downspouts drain far enough away from the foundation, buy some corrugated plastic tubes to extend them further. These can be found at any hardware or home improvement store.

Foundation Cracks 

Cracks in the basement walls are dangerous and can be the perfect entry point for groundwater. Unfortunately, they will never get better on their own, only worse. A specialized basement waterproofing professional can seal the cracks and is the safest option.

Sump Pumps 

It is pertinent to monitor sump pumps carefully, especially during dry weather. You want to know whether or not it is working before it rains, or you’re looking at probable flooding. Professionals can help repair a broken sump pump, and always check if it’s still under warranty. An additional precaution is to install a backup power source. In case of a power outage, a backup power source can save your home.

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