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What Causes Basement Flooding? 6 Common Reasons

Flooded basement laundry area
February 27, 2024
Angela Stringfellow
Read Time
5 minutes

No one wants to wake up to an overnight waterfall in your basement, but it’s not just emergency situations like burst pipes that can lead to basement flooding.

Some long-standing issues, such as landscape erosion or freeze-thaw ground cycles, can play a role in causing over-saturated soil or fluctuating soil pressure, which can also lead to basement flooding.

One of the most common causes of basement flooding involves the area around your home. If there isn’t proper drainage around your home and you don’t take precautions, there’s a good chance excess groundwater will find its way into your basement.

When excess ground water over-saturates the earth, the heavy, wet soil puts significant pressure on a home’s foundation. After a while, the intense pressure can crack a foundation, leading to leaks in your basement.

Read on to discover what causes basement flooding, including 6 common reasons your basement might be flooding:

1. Hydrostatic Pressure

Soggy lawn and poor drainage causes hydrostatic pressure

The most common reason for a basement flood is hydrostatic pressure. What’s that, you ask? It’s a fancy way of describing the immense amount of pressure a soaking wet ground can cause on the foundation of your home.

What causes hydrostatic pressure to occur near your foundation? If your property doesn’t have an adequate drainage system or the house’s roof and gutters are damaged, rainwater has nowhere to go, particularly during heavy rain.

If the earth can’t absorb excess water properly, you could find it seeping into your basement due to soil pressure weakening the foundation, leading to cracks or soil erosion.

2. Improper Landscape Grading

Regrading the landscaping around a home to prevent basement flooding

Just like excess groundwater can cause hydrostatic pressure to weaken your foundation, improper landscape grading—one that slopes toward your home—can lead to water pooling in areas of your property you’d rather remain dry. But before digging up your yard, determine which way excess water flows on your land.

There are several ways to landscape your yard so it naturally diverts water away from your home while adding aesthetics for curb appeal. From putting in an underground drainage system to building rain gardens and retention ponds, proper landscaping can help prevent basement floods.

3. Cracked Foundation

Cracked and damaged foundation can cause basement flooding

A cracked foundation is a leaky foundation and a common reason for basement flooding, but why might the foundation crack? There are a few potential causes:

  • Hydrostatic pressure
  • Regular wear-and-tear
  • Ground freeze-thaw cycle
  • Roots near the foundation
  • Lack of waterproofing
  • Deteriorating concrete
  • Unsealed windows or doors

4. Damaged Roof and Gutters

A damaged roof may have missing or misshapen shingles or show cracks, gaps, or holes. If your roof isn’t repaired, water could seep through to the attic, and unfortunately, it might not remain there.

Untreated water damage can lead to water running down the inside and outside of your home’s walls, all the way to the basement.

Likewise, if you haven’t cleaned out your gutters in a while, clogs inside your gutters could cause rainwater to overflow and run down your home’s siding before pooling on the ground below. If you don’t clean out your gutters, a small problem could soon lead to a big problem—particularly after heavy rain.

Fortunately, LeafFilter gutter guards can help. Our team of expertly trained local professionals can install our award-winning gutter protection system in as little as six hours.

Designed to keep your gutters clog-free for life while ensuring you don’t need to worry about cleaning out your gutters again, LeafFilter gutter guards help to prevent basement floods caused by clogged, overflowing gutters.

5. Clogged Drains and Burst Pipes

Burst pipes underground can cause basement flooding

Clogged drains, inside or outside, and burst pipes, typically in the middle of winter, are two common reasons your basement may flood. Even if you have a drainage system like French drains or swales, underground pipes can become clogged with debris, leading to a backup of water, which could land in your basement.

Home water damage often happens in the middle of winter when freezing pipes burst, and cleaning up a flooded basement is not a fun way to spend your winter vacation!

6. Lack of Basement Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing

A lack of waterproofing or outdated waterproofing can cause your basement to flood. Though a slow leak takes a while to accumulate enough water to be considered a flood, basement water seepage is one of the most common reasons you might find water in your basement.

Basement waterproofing includes measures such as:

  • Topical sealants and coatings
  • Dehumidifiers and fans
  • Vapor barriers
  • Drainage systems
  • Landscaping upgrades

If your basement is flooding—or if you’re finishing your basement and want to ensure that your hard work and belongings will remain dry—consider these 6 common reasons a basement may flood and take preventive measures like having LeafFilter gutter guards professionally installed. Call us at 1-844-971-2338 today for a free inspection and estimate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the #1 cause of basement flooding?

A leaky foundation is the top cause of basement flooding, thanks to hydrostatic pressure putting too much weight on the concrete slab foundation. This can cause cracks and fissures, leading to water leaks in your basement.

How can I stop my basement from flooding?

The best way to stop your basement from flooding is by taking care of the issues that might cause your basement to flood. One option is to consider full basement waterproofing, while another, having LeafFilter gutter guards professionally installed, can stop blockages from forming in your drain and prevent water from pooling on the ground.

Why does my basement flood during heavy rain?

Heavy rains can cause water to pool around the base of your home, especially if your home’s roof or gutter system is damaged. Consider calling in the professionals to help protect your home.

Here at LeafFilter, we offer year-round installation provided by our team of expertly trained local professionals. By having LeafFilter gutter guards professionally installed, you won’t have to worry about the messy task of cleaning out your gutters (can we get a ‘heck yeah?’)—saving you time and money in the long run.

What is the first thing to do when your basement floods?

If your basement floods, the first thing you should do is shut off all utilities and then call your utility companies if necessary. Safety comes first.