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Water Coming Up From Basement Floor—What To Do?

It's raining, it's pouring, and the whole basement is flooding! When water comes up the basement floor, you're probably thinking about what the next best solution should be. We've researched this topic, and in this post, we've gathered a lot of suggestions and tips on how you can keep the water from coming up your basement floors.

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When water starts flooding your basement, it is important to pump the water out of the floor as soon as possible. The easiest way to do this is to use a sump pump. However, if the flooding in the basement is a little severe, don't rush to pump it all out. Draw the water out one foot at a time until you have managed to control the water.

We know it all sounds a little too overwhelming right now. This is why we'll be discussing tips on how to mitigate the flooding in your basement in this post. We will also list down the common reasons why water comes up from your floor and the problems you might face when you leave the basement wet, so we do hope you keep on reading.

Cleaning up a blooded basement - Water Coming Up From Basement Floor—What To Do

Why Is Water Coming Up From The Basement Floor?

Water damage in the laundry room in the basement with mold on the damp walls

One of the things a lot of people fail to look at during their home maintenance checks is to see if there are any issues with the basement floor. This is especially true for older homes wherein cracks and gaps may have appeared throughout the years.

During the rainy season, some homeowners might find that their basement floors are wet. Typically, this means that your basement has a leak somewhere, and it is important to address it. If it isn't raining a lot, but there is still water on the floor, there might be underlying conditions in your home that need to be addressed.

Here are some reasons why water might be coming up through your floor.

Check For Ceiling Leaks

Most of the time when we see water on the floor, we often think it's rising from the ground. It's a possibility, but most of the time, wet floors are often caused by leaks from the ceiling. You will often see this happening during a torrential downpour or if it's been raining for many days.

Start by looking or listening for a leak in your basement. You can check for ceiling leaks by checking the ceiling above the wet spot on the floor and trying to look for signs of moisture, such as damp or soggy ceilings. This should help you locate the area where the water might be getting into your home.

Monitor Your Plumbing

Another culprit that you need to check is the plumbing. This is especially true for old houses where the pipes might be old and in need of a replacement. These plumbing leaks may also be the reason why some places in your house could have damp spots.

Turn off all your water sources and check your water meter to check for plumbing leaks. Wait for a few hours (three hours should do) and check your water meter again. If the meter moved, there is a high possibility that you have a leak, and you will need a professional's help to track it down. If the meter did not move, then there might be other reasons for the wet floors. 

Underfloor Heating Leaks

In-floor heating systems utilize pipes that allow hot water to run through them to heat the floors. On occasion, these pipes may burst, and it can cause water to pool on your floor. To have this checked, a flooring contractor will typically use a thermal infrared camera to check your floors before they fix them.

Dripping Water From Doors And Windows

This typically happens if you've checked for most issues and you find water close to your doors and windows. Improperly sealed windows can cause water to seep through, and water usually drains through the walls and floors. For this particular reason, you need to seal the windows with caulk to prevent more water from getting into your home.

If your doors and windows are a little too old, then it might be time to consider replacing them. It would be a lot cheaper to replace doors and windows than to fix a wet floor and subfloor.

Excess Groundwater Or Rising Water Table

When you head down to your basement and you see that water is coming up through the floor, then one issue might be a rising water table or excess groundwater. This happens when the soil has too much moisture, and the hydrostatic pressure is forcing the water to go up to the cracks of your home.

Generally, your sump pump is responsible for keeping the water out of your basement. Check if your pump needs some cleaning, or if it's a little old and it has started to wear down, it might be a good time to replace the sump pump. You might also want to consider installing a drainage system like a weeping tile to help drain excess groundwater to a different area.

What Do I Do When There Is Water On The Basement Floor?

A burst pipe at the furnace and water tank has caused a leak on the basement floor of a house.

If the water has started to seep into your basement, it is important to dry it as soon as possible. Leaving the floor wet and soaked in water will do no good to your home's floor. If the floor is only a little wet with small puddles or wet spots, try to dry the floors using mops and rags quickly. Check for leaks as soon as possible to see where the water is coming from.

However, if the basement floor is already flooded, you will have a bigger job at hand. Make sure that you have all the necessary tools and materials you will need to pump the water out of your basement.

Turn Off Electricity

One of the things that you should do when your basement floor has flooded is to turn the electricity off. Water conducts electricity, so do not take a step into that flooded basement unless this has been addressed.

Hopefully, you're lucky enough to have the circuit breaker panel outside the basement; turn off the electricity downstairs as soon as possible. If not, call the power company to help you turn off your home's power in the meantime.

If you still have power, you can use your sump pump to help drain the water out of your basement. However, there's a caveat from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that talks about extreme flooding situations.

Pump Out 

The weight of the saturated soil puts pressure on the walls and floors, causing them to buckle or collapse. The water inside your flooded basement equalizes this pressure, and it pushes back on the walls and floors. This means that in the case of extreme flooding, you should try to keep the water in your basement, at least for a while.

FEMA's basement flooding mitigation suggests that you should pump out water one foot at a time every 24 hours until the water stabilizes. If there is foundation damage, stop pumping immediately.

Other methods that you can use to remove the water from the basement are submersible water pumps, gasoline-powered pumps, or old-school mops and buckets. You can even use a wet and dry vacuum, to make it work if the water isn't too deep to deal with.

Clean-Up & Throw Away Damaged Items

Water intrusion in basement with visible water on basement cement floor

When the water is all gone, it is important to throw out everything that has gotten soaked and cannot be sanitized. This includes cardboard boxes, carpeting, or anything that is prone to moisture. This is because these items are perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Use dehumidifiers and open up windows and doors to completely dry out the space.

When Should I Worry About A Wet Basement?

Sometimes, finding a wet spot on the basement floor is not a cause of worry. It might be some spill that wasn't immediately mopped up. However, if your basement floors are constantly wet and have started to have puddles during the rainy season, then it's should be a cause for worry.

Wet basement floors can be a cause for mold and mildew to grow in your home. This can be dangerous if left untreated because it can cause health issues for those who are living at home. A wet basement can also cause issues to your home's foundations and walls because water keeps seeping in through the cracks. This is why it is important to fix it immediately.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning up a blooded basement

When water is coming up from the basement floors, it is inevitable for us to worry because this can cause bigger problems if it is not fixed immediately. Fortunately, there are ways to check this and simple methods that you can do to prevent it from happening to your home. Don't forget to do a maintenance check yearly to help keep the home in perfect shape.

Are you looking for ideas on how you can upgrade your basement? Look no further because we've got posts that you might enjoy:

How To Paint An Unfinished Basement

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