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Unfortunately basement flooding is a common occurrence in many parts of Canada and can cause significant damage to your home ruining flooring, drywall and your belongings not to mention the risk of unhealthy mould growth.  Dealing with basement flooding and the damage it causes can be very stressful for a homeowner.  And, if left unrepaired, can be very expensive!

Wet Basement, Basement Flooding

Basement Flooding

How Serious Is Basement Flooding?

Basement flooding is a serious problem having surpassed fire damage as the #1 cause of loss in Canadian homes. There are many negative consequences associated with basement flooding, above and beyond the inconvenient mess and disruption of household routine. Research cites the following impacts:

  • Chronically wet houses are linked to an increase in respiratory problems.
  • Frequent occurrences of basement flooding can result in long-term damage to the building and equipment that may not be covered by insurance.
  • Insurance rates may rise to compensate for repeated basement flooding claims, and/or the minimum deductible may be increased significantly.
  • Property value may depreciate because the basement is prone to frequent flooding.

Before appropriate measures can be taken, it is important to identify the causes of basement flooding. These range from problems originating in the individual dwelling to problems associated with the municipal sewer systems that serve entire communities.

Why Do Basements Flood?

Water can enter your basement for a number of reasons. Water in your basement is most likely to occur during periods of heavy rainfall, or when snow is melting rapidly during a spring thaw. In these cases, your basement can be wet because of:

  • A crack in your home’s basement walls;
  • Poor lot drainage and landscaping;
  • Windows too close to grade without window wells and properly functioning drains;
  • Failure of the weeping tiles (foundation drains) causing hydrostatic pressure and water to come in through cracks in the floor and the floor/wall joint; and
  • Overflowing eavestroughs or leaking/plugged downspouts.

Basement flooding may also occur because of:

  • A blocked connection between your home and the main sewer in the street;
  • A back-up of wastewater in the sewer system (or a combination of wastewater and rainwater from the sanitary or combined sewer system); and
  • Failure of a sump pump (in some areas) used to pump weeping tile water.

Basements are also vulnerable to natural river flooding disasters, but these cannot be addressed by individual homeowners.

Basement flooding is a serious issue that is becoming more and more prevalent.  It is something that every homeowner should take seriously and take action to prevent.  Regular inspection of your foundation and plumbing is critical as is maintaining proper lot drainage and grading.