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9 Proven Preventative Methods to Avoid Basement Flooding - Expert Advice

September 12, 2023

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Learning how to avoid basement flooding is important for homeowners. While some floods are unavoidable, such as those resulting from extreme weather, preventative measures help ensure a clean, dry basement. Taking a few steps to prevent floods can also mean avoiding otherwise unnecessary home repair costs!

How to avoid basement flooding on your property:

  1. Ensure proper grading
  2. Check gutters and downspouts
  3. Install French drains
  4. Invest in a sump pump
  5. Seal and waterproof basement walls and floors
  6. Install window well covers
  7. Check for plumbing issues
  8. Choose the right landscaping features
  9. Ensure proper sealing around basement windows

This is just a quick overview of how to avoid basement flooding in your home. To ensure you’re keeping your property in tiptop shape, keep reading! Also, remember to call a basement waterproofing contractor near you for expert services. Professional waterproofing is an excellent investment for any property.

how to avoid basement flooding

9 Tips on How to Avoid Basement Flooding

Preventing basement flooding is crucial to protect your home and belongings. Flooding not only risks wood rot but it can encourage mold and mildew growth. Excess moisture also means unpleasant musty smells! With that in mind, check out 9 methods to help avoid basement flooding:

1. Proper Grading

Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation. This prevents water from pooling near your basement walls. The ground should slope downward at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet away from the foundation.

If you’re not sure about your property’s grading, consult with a landscaping engineer, foundation contractor, or basement waterproofing contractor. These professionals usually know how to check a property’s grade. They can also suggest the best choice for grading your property as needed.

2. Gutters and Downspouts

Keep your gutters clean and free from debris. Make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your home's foundation. Consider installing gutter guards to reduce clogs. Also, check to ensure they’re sized properly for your area’s weather conditions.

3. French Drains

Install a French drain system around the perimeter of your home. These collect and redirect groundwater away from your foundation. This can be especially effective in areas with high water tables.

Additionally, French drains install several inches underground. As such, they’re very unobtrusive and won’t interfere with your property’s landscaping or appearance. They’re also affordable and need minimal maintenance.

4. Sump Pump

A sump pump is designed to pump water out of a basement. The pump system first collects water in a pit installed in a low point in the basement. The pump then pumps that water to a drain or the home’s exterior.

Install a sump pump with a backup battery system to ensure it works during power outages. Regularly test your sump pump to make sure it's functioning correctly. This system is an excellent choice for any property prone to flooding.

5. Sealing and Waterproofing

Seal any cracks or gaps in your basement walls and floors. Apply waterproofing coatings or paints to protect against moisture infiltration. These are especially useful if you cannot afford professional exterior waterproofing. They also help protect finished building materials, such as drywall against water damage.

6. Window Well Covers

Window well covers are like small awnings designed to sit over basement windows. These covers direct rainwater, melting snow, and the like away from those basement windows, preventing moisture from seeping through. If your basement has windows, install covers for maximum protection against flooding.

7. Check for Plumbing Issues

Regularly inspect and maintain your plumbing system, including pipes and drains. Leaks or clogs can lead to water damage, including plumbing. Remember that water runs to the lowest point and that usually means a home’s basement! In turn, a plumbing leak can mean basement flooding and resultant rot, mold, and other damage.

8. Landscaping

Avoid planting trees or shrubs with invasive root systems close to your home's foundation. These risk foundation damage that can mean leaks and flooding. Planting grass or using non-invasive plants can help maintain soil stability. A landscaping installation contractor can advise on the best plants for your property.

9. Seal Basement Windows

Improperly sealed basement windows let outside moisture seep into the home, risking floods. In turn, it’s vital that you ensure your home’s basement windows are well-maintained and sealed properly. Fix cracks and other damage quickly or replace the windows altogether when needed.

waterproof basement windows

Is It Normal for Basements to Flood?

The brief answer is no, basements in well-constructed and maintained homes should not flood. The only exception would be severe outdoor weather. Even so, sump pumps and other equipment can protect against flooding and resultant damage. Additionally, you might note some common causes of basement flooding:

  • Inadequate grading around the foundation clogged or improperly placed downspouts, or the absence of proper drainage systems can lead to water pooling around the basement walls.
  • Sump pumps are designed to prevent basement flooding by pumping out excess water. If a sump pump fails due to power outages, mechanical issues, or improper maintenance, it can result in flooding.
  • Cracks or gaps in the basement walls or foundation can allow water to seep in during heavy rains or when the water table rises.
  • In some cases, sewage backups can cause basement flooding. This can occur due to blockages in the sewer system or a failure of backflow prevention devices.
  • Leaky basement windows or doors can allow water to enter during rainstorms.
  • Insufficient or outdated waterproofing measures can leave your basement vulnerable to moisture infiltration.
  • Neglecting regular maintenance of gutters, downspouts, and drainage systems can lead to flooding issues.

Why Does My Basement Flood During Heavy Rain?

A basement can flood during heavy rain for several reasons, including those mentioned above. Consider some other common reasons why basements may flood during heavy rain:

  • Cracks or holes in your basement walls or foundation can provide an entry point for rainwater. Even small cracks can allow significant amounts of water to seep into your basement during heavy rain.
  • In some cases, heavy rain can overwhelm municipal sewer systems, causing sewage backup into your basement. This is more likely if you live in an area with combined sewer systems or if your home's sewage line is connected to the stormwater system.
  • Leaky basement windows or doors can allow rainwater to enter your basement during heavy rainstorms.
  • In areas with a high water table, the level of groundwater may rise during heavy rain, putting pressure on your basement walls and floors and causing water infiltration.
  • If your property is located downhill from neighboring properties or if your area lacks adequate stormwater drainage infrastructure, runoff from heavy rain can flow toward your home and overwhelm your basement's defenses.

These risks are all good reasons to consider a sump pump or other equipment in a basement prone to flooding. These pump water out quickly, helping to avoid water damage.

A Word From Our Team

Basement Waterproofing of Rhode Island is happy to explain how to avoid basement flooding to our readers. If you’re in the state, call our Rhode Island basement waterproofing contractors for more information. We can also provide a FREE waterproofing price quote for your property. For more information, contact our crew today.


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