What are the Most Common Basement Flooding Causes?

August 17, 2022

Canadians pay more than $40,000 to repair flooded basements on average. Not only can flooding in your basement be expensive to fix, but it can lead to a wide range of issues, some of which may affect the rest of your house. But what causes it in the first place?

Read on to discover six of the most common reasons why basements flood.

Downspouts Installed Incorrectly

Your downspouts play a crucial role in directing rainwater away from your property and its foundation. They transport water from your gutter and carry it to a spot at least five feet from any of your walls.

But if your downspouts have been installed too near to one of your walls, that could drive the rainwater closer to your home than it should. The water will pool, your weeping tile could become overloaded and, sadly, the water may seep into your basement.

Even if your downspouts have been installed by someone who knows what they’re doing, they will still create the same issue if they become damaged.

Broken Drainage (or Weeping) Tile

During the construction process, drain (or weeping) tiles are typically installed around properties to accumulate water underground. Drain tiles are located underneath the basement floor level of the property and direct water outside.

However, drain tiles that become broken or cracked will struggle to remove water — and you could end up with a flooded basement.

Plumbing Issues

Problems with your plumbing can lead to basement flooding if they remain unaddressed for too long. Potential issues include damaged pipes, blockages caused by flushing something unsuitable down a toilet, or an overwhelmed sewer system that drives water back up through your drains.

That last possibility is, perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most unpleasant causes to deal with.

Plumbing leaks typically generate a large volume of water in a short amount of time, so basement flooding could occur sooner than you would expect. That’s different from water seeping in through a damaged drain tile or foundation crack, which can take some time to create a flood.

Storms and Downpours

Stormy weather has the power to cause substantial basement flooding, especially when an unusually large amount of rain falls within a day or so. Water levels can increase much faster than usual and create pools that seep into the basement or overwhelm your drains.

If your basement has not been waterproofed properly, the risk of a weather-related flood will be higher, as water will be able to penetrate flaws in your foundation or even windows that need to be sealed properly.

Homeowners based in locations prone to heavy rainfall should check that their basement is waterproofed. Even a few minor cracks or a damaged window pane could be enough to allow water inside. Read more about protecting your basement in stormy weather.

Gutters are Clogged

Gutters around your property are vital for channelling rainwater away, but they can become clogged if left unchecked for years. Gutters located near a tall tree, for example, may become blocked by falling leaves (particularly during the fall and winter).

When even a single gutter is clogged, rainwater will trickle along one or more of your walls. That water could gradually build up and seep into your basement.

It can be easy to overlook your gutters, but it’s best to check and clean them thoroughly three or four times each year. Even removing small debris can make a big difference and decrease your risk of basement flooding.

Damaged Sump Pump

Sump pumps are designed to collect water from your drain/weeping tiles and direct water outside your property via discharge pipes. They can help to keep your basement dry and safe from floods.

That’s why you should inspect and clean your sump pump regularly to make sure that it functions properly. Almost all sump pumps require power to work, though, so there could be issues if your power is knocked out by a storm. The sump pump would switch off and enable water to penetrate your basement, particularly during a heavy downpour.

Why is Basement Flooding So Bad?

A flooded basement can cause a number of problems — some of which could be serious. Here are just a few examples:


Mold may start off small, but it has the potential to evolve into a health risk for your household if allowed to spread. Wet, dark environments are ideal breeding grounds for mold, and it can get out of hand quickly.

Mold spores are airborne and can be inhaled, which may lead to various health issues including:

  • Exacerbated asthma symptoms
  • Eye, throat, and nose irritation
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Mucus build-up and coughing

Young children, elderly people, and those with certain conditions (such as asthma) are more vulnerable to the effects of mold.

Wood Rot and Foundation Damage

Even a mild flood in your basement could cause wood rot or foundation damage if it’s not handled properly. Both issues may lead to structural problems that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Carpets and Upholstery Damage

Any carpets, upholstery, and even furniture may all need to be checked if soaked in a flooded basement. You might be able to clean some items effectively, but others will need to be thrown out.

Electrical Hazards

Basement flooding may create a serious danger if the water comes into contact with appliances or electrical outlets. Once the water has been drained, treat potentially damaged appliances and outlets with great care.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of a Basement Flood?

Numerous factors can increase your risk of basement flooding, from foundation damage to gutters due for a clean. It’s easy to overlook your basement, especially if you rarely (if ever) use it. But it’s in your best interests to check it over and ensure that it’s secured against the risk of a flood.

Aluneed offers comprehensive waterproofing services to protect your home, covering exteriors and interiors. Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can utilize the latest techniques to waterproof your basement.

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