If your basement seems to be flooding often, even though your neighbors' basements are not, then you may wonder just why you are having such basement "bad luck." If your basement is finished, then the flooding may have already destroyed your basement flooring and even some of your furniture. However, if your basement is unfinished, it is still important to find out the root cause of the flooding and prevent it in the future for the sake of the integrity of your home's foundation and your family's health -- a damp basement can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew that are extremely hazardous to your family's health.
To help get to the bottom of your basement flooding problem, read on to learn why your basement may be flooding and what you can do to prevent it in the future.
Hydrostatic Pressure Can Cause a Basement to Flood Even When the Local Area Does Not
You likely know that rain water can penetrate soil. When it rains heavily, the soil surrounding your foundation can accumulate so much water that it exerts a force on your foundation walls called hydrostatic pressure. If your basement is flooding when it rains, yet your neighbors' basements are not, then they likely have home features that protect their foundations from this intense force that your home does not.
How much force does hydrostatic pressure emit against your foundation? When your foundation is surrounded by just four feet of saturated soil, the hydrostatic pressure exerted on it can reach 300 pounds per square foot of wall space or higher. This is a lot of force for even the most well-built foundation to withstand.
When this much pressure is emitted against a foundation it can cause foundation cracks that the water can then enter; this creates a recipe for frequent flooding in a basement, because a large amount of water can push through just a small crack in a basement wall due to this extreme pressure.
How to Protect Your Basement from Future Flooding Due to Hydrostatic Pressure
Thankfully, there are many ways to protect your basement from future flooding caused by hydrostatic pressure. The first thing you should do is have a sump pump installed in your basement if you don't have one already by checking out a site like http://www.rite-waywaterproofing.com. However, if you have one and you know it is working properly, yet your basement is still flooding, then having another one installed would be a wise idea. Professionals often advise people with homes prone to frequent flooding to install two to three sump pumps in their basements.
Not only can two sump pumps drain much more water at once than one can alone, but having two also means you never have to go without a sump pump for a period of time if your sole sump pump malfunctions and needs to be repaired. In addition, if the electricity in your area tends to go out when it storms, then it is important to equip at least one sump pump with a battery backup system that will keep it running even if the power goes out.
Once you have a sump pump system in place to deal with the water that is entering your basement, it is then time to work on repairing your basement walls themselves and preventing future damage to them due to hydrostatic pressure.
To protect your entire home, speak with a professional who specializes in basement wall bracing to determine if the pressure emitted on your basement walls is so great that you are a good candidate for wall bracing. If your walls are already buckling or bowing, then wall bracing is definitely needed. While there are several types of wall bracing, it is common to stabilize basement walls with steel I-beams.
Finally, to have all current cracks in your basement walls filled and help prevent new ones from forming, speak to a basement waterproofing professional. Basement waterproofing can be performed on the interior or exterior of your basement walls; both involve the application of a waterproof membrane that will keep water from penetrating your basement walls and flooding your basement.
If your basement tends to flood when it rains, while your neighbors' basements don't, then their basements are likely safeguarded against hydrostatic pressure while yours is likely not. Have a sump pump (or another sump pump) installed to drain the water that is entering your basement now and then work on repairing the damage the pressure may have already inflicted on your basement walls.