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Here’s Why Your Basement Leaks When It Rains

You shouldn’t have to deal with a wet, flooded basement. Learn why basements leak and how you can fight back. 

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Finding water in your basement is extremely stressful for any homeowner. Especially during the frigid Ohio winters, a freezing cold basement flood can be a traumatic experience.  

You can prepare for these disasters and protect your home with the right knowledge and solutions guided by Ohio Basement Authority. Read more to learn what causes water to leak into the basement, and what you can do to fortify your home against any water threat.  

Why Is There Water In My Basement After A Heavy Rain? 

Clay Bowl Effect 

When your home is being constructed, builders dig a large hole in the ground to set your foundation and basement. Once your home is complete, they refill the area in your basement with the excavated soil and attempt to repack it into the ground.  

No matter how diligent the construction crew may be when backfilling the soil, it will never return to its original density. The soil takes on a “fluffed” consistency, therefore, allowing more water to flow through during a heavy rain. 

This creates the “clay bowl” effect. Since water is now prone to collecting in the “bowl” made of the re-packed excavated soil, your basement is more vulnerable to leaks as water surrounds your basement structure. It can seep in through your basement cove, foundation walls, and more.  

Hydrostatic Pressure 

basement wall bowing

Hydrostatic pressure is the force that water can exert upon a structure. In the context of your basement, hydrostatic pressure occurs during a heavy rain or even humid weather. As soil soaks up water, it expands, pressing up against your basement walls causing them to crack, buckle and even collapse in worst-case scenarios.  

Columbus, Cincinnati, and greater Ohio are known to have silty loam soil. Homes are ideally built on top of loam soils, as they have excellent drainage properties. However, the silt aspect of the soil is what may be problematic, as it’s known to expand in the presence of water. This can ensure that your Ohio basement will experience hydrostatic pressure.  

Sump Pump Failure 

While homes without sump pumps are more at risk of basement flooding, homes with poorly maintained sump pumps can be at risk as well. Sump pumps can fail if they’re too overwhelmed by rain or flood, if they’re clogged by debris, have a frozen discharge line, or if your power goes out.  

Luckily, all these problems are extremely avoidable with the right amount of attention to your sump pump. Solutions like a backup battery, discharge freeze guard, and grated drainpipes can protect your valuable space.  

Poor or No Exterior Drainage 

water pooling around foudnation and basement during heavvy rain

Some homeowners may not realize it, but gutter health has a significant influence on the health of your basement, too. When your gutters are clogged or damaged, rainwater and snowmelt overflow off your roof and puddle in the soil directly around your foundation. The soil then saturates, setting into motion the clay bowl effect and hydrostatic pressure which puts your basement in jeopardy.  

Proper gutters and consistent gutter maintenance can ensure that water runoff is transported safely away to a distant location where it can pool in an area that doesn’t affect your foundation.  


Waterproof Your Basement With Ohio’s Experts 

Basement waterproofing is a multi-faceted solution, but you don’t need a repair company that will tack on extra repairs just for a quick buck. That’s why OBA’s certified field inspectors will inspect your entire home for free, to find the root cause of the problem and stop it at the source.  

Booking your first appointment with us is easy, and we provide you with a free, no-obligation quote on site. Explore all of our basement waterproofing solutions and set up your first free appointment today!  


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Ohio Basement Authority Service Map

Serving Greater Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky

Cincinnati Office

1270 Hillsmith Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45215

Columbus Office

2421 McGaw Rd.
Obetz, OH 43207

Dayton Office

70 Birch Alley, Suite 240
Beavercreek, OH, 45440