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What Causes Leaky Floors In Basements?

Water seeping from the ground below the basement via basement floor cracks.

Floor cracks leak as the soil around a foundation becomes oversaturated with groundwater.

As water bubbles up, it will infiltrate your basement through multiple locations.

If you are concerned about leaking cracks in your basement floor, your local Basement Systems dealer has the solutions you need.

Our certified waterproofing contractors can address your basement leak by installing a perimeter drainage system. This will help not only with leaky floor cracks, but leaking from the walls and the wall-floor joint.

For serious cracks, a lateral drain can be created at the location of the crack, directing water to your perimeter drainage system.

Are Lateral Lines Always Needed?

In most cases, your dealer will not recommend a lateral drain for addressing your leaky floor cracks. Most water that would collect under your floor will be drained away by your perimeter drain system, with no lateral line needed.

If serious flooding occurs through these cracks, a lateral line is an easy, cost-effective solution.

Get a Free Estimate

Basement Systems' international network of dealers has waterproofed hundreds of thousands of basements worldwide! We have a dealer in your neighborhood that's ready to help you!

If you'd like a free basement waterproofing estimate, call us today! Each of our estimates includes a no-obligation, on-site consultation, a written cost estimate, and a copy of our full-color waterproofing book.

Foundation soils' absorbency compared to backfilled soil with water flooding.

Water collects in the backfilled soils around a foundation and underneath a floor due to the clay bowl effect.

The "Clay Bowl" Effect


When your basement was being built, the contractors started by creating a hole large enough for the basement to be built in. next, the foundation footings and walls were put in place.

Inside of the foundation walls, the dirt with be leveled off with some of the excavated soil, and stone will be added for drainage. The concrete floor will then be poured.

Outside of the foundation walls, the empty space between the foundation walls and the hard-packed soil is filled in with soil.

These backfilled foundation soils are "fluffed" and are looser and more porous than the hard-packed, untouched soils beyond.

When it rains, this looser soil absorbs much more moisture than the hard-packed soil elsewhere in your yard. This means that moisture will collect around your foundation, almost as if it were held in a "clay bowl".

This problem can be made worse with homes that have either no gutters or clogged gutters. A 1" rainfall on a 1,000 square foot roof will product about 600 gallons of rainwater. If your gutters are not sending this water beyond the foundation backfill zone. And if the soil of the yard is not sloped away from the house, water may be running downhill to pool around your foundation.

As this water presses up against the foundation walls, it will enter the basement at any point it can. If your basement floors have cracks, significant water can enter through these points.

Three Steps To Sealing Floor Cracks

The key to sealing basement floor cracks is to install a perimeter floor drainage system. This drain will collect water flowing into your home at the point where the basement floor and wall meet, directing it to your sump pump system.

At Basement Systems, our contractors take these steps to fix leaky floor cracks.

A waterproofing contractor installing a perimeter drainage system in a home.

Install A Perimeter Drainage System

To install your drainage system, we jackhammer a section of the floor around the perimeter walls. A layer of clean gravel is laid down for drainage, and our WaterGuard® drain system is installed.

The drain system is sloped downwards, leading to a sump pump system, where any water is then pumped out of the house.

Our drain system includes a subtle wall flange, which collects water leaking from your basement walls for added protection.

More about our French Drain Systems

A lateral line, directing groundwater flooding to your perimeter drainage line.

Install A Lateral Drain Channel

If you have a serious floor crack that must be addressed, our waterproofing specialist may suggest that a lateral drain (or "lateral line") be installed from the crack location to your drainage system.

This lateral line is an extension of your drainage system. A channel will be created in the basement floor leading to the crack itself.

A perforated section of PVC pipe will be placed beneath the floor, sloping downhill. Any water entering this pipe will be collected and drained into your system.

More about Drain Pipe Installation

A restored concrete slab floor after waterproofing the crack.

Restore The Concrete Slab

At Basement Systems, our dealers take pride in our clean, professional work. We want your basement to look much better when we leave than it did when we arrived!

Once your drainage system has been installed, we pour clean stone along the edges and top of your drainage system. Then, we carefully apply place fresh concrete on top of that, restoring your floor to its original condition.

The end result is a completely restored basement floor, with no ugly gap along the edges. Our full-perimeter drainage systems include a written warranty that can be transferred to the next homeowner should you decide to sell the home.

More about our What To Expect From Us

A concrete slab floor showing extreme signs of efflorescence.

Many homeowners contact us with concerns about a white powder that's formed on their walls or floors. This powder is a mineral salt known as efflorescence.

As moisture passes through concrete, it brings minerals with it. As the water evaporates into your home, these minerals are left behind.

Carpet On Concrete Slab Floors?

Concrete is a porous material that will soak up moisture from the outside of the home, particularly during prolonged wet periods.

This moisture will pass through the pores of the concrete, reaching the basement space and evaporating into the air.

In many cases, this evaporation happens immediately, meaning that moisture is passing through the concrete into the air even with concrete that appears dry.

If you place wood, carpeting, or other organic products on a slab floor, it can become trapped underneath and inside these materials.

Over time, this moisture will build up, creating an appropriate environment for the growth of mild, mildew, and rot. Mold spores may enter the air, and the materials can release a musty smell.

Basement Systems addresses these issues by offering waterproof flooring and sub flooring, which are custom-designed for basement environments. It's the ideal way to upgrade that ugly concrete floor!

We Fix Leaky Floor Cracks!

Your local dealer can send a crew of experts to your home to waterproof your basement, repair any leaking floor cracks, and help you achieve a cleaner, healthier space. Our installations are fast and effective -- many being completed in less than a day.

Each of our dealers provides free, written wet basement repair estimates to homeowners throughout the United States and Canada. Our free estimates include a professional on-site inspection, written cost estimate, and a copy of our full-color waterproofing book. To schedule your appointment, call or e-mail us today!

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Quality, Innovation, Patents, Awards

Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.