Why does my Basement or Crawlspace Leak?

Do I need basement waterproofing?
January 5, 2017

Why does my Basement or Crawlspace Leak?

Why does my Basement or Crawlspace Leak?

If you are a homeowner in Northern Michigan, it’s tough to not live close to a lake, stream, or wet area.  Of course that’s why many of us choose to live here.  Many of the areas such as Petoskey, Gaylord, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Indian River, and Cheboygan are beautiful places to have a home.  They offer year round activities for everyone, so it is a popular destination for vacationers as well as homeowners.

It’s very common in Northern Michigan for homes to be built over basements or crawl spaces.  They are very useful and can be very practical.  However, they can come with problems.  Some of the issues can be cracked blocks or concrete, sagging foundation, bugs, rodent, critter intrusion.  Of course water and moisture entering into the basement or crawlspace is a big issue.  Water and moisture in your basement or crawlspace can cause major problems.  Some of them include structural damage to your home, mold growth, health problems, damaged valuable contents, etc. . Also, did you know that it is not common for insurance companies to cover water damage from a leaky basement?



“It never leaked before”, or “This is the first time this has ever happened” is a very common phrase we hear when performing free basement and crawlspace inspections throughout Northern Michigan.  The fact is, if you basement or crawlspace leaks once then its likely that it will leak again.  Water damage in a basement or crawlspace can be extremely costly.

Why does my Basement or Crawlspace Leak?

So, why does your basement or crawlspace leak?  There are a few common issues that could be happening.  Sometimes poor drainage outside such as lack of gutters, poor grade, sidewalks and driveways are a contributing factor.  Other times the basement or crawlspace is simply built below the natural table, or the water table has risen.  There are also instances of poor construction practices.  A major contributing factor which can be the case on it’s own, or in combination with the previously listed factors is what’s called the bowl effect.

What is the “Bowl Effect”?

When a contractor builds a home, the basement or crawlspace area is dug out by an excavator.  This hole typically leaves a hole approximately 15′ or more larger than the size of the basement or crawlspace.  Then concrete footings, which bear the entire weight of the structure are poured and the block or concrete walls of the basement or crawlspace are built on top of this footing.  These walls are usually built until just above ground level.  When a basement is being built, a slab is poured for the floor.  A crawlspace floor is often left dirt, or covered with vapor barrier.  Sometimes the outside walls are “damp proofed”.  Now the excess dirt is filled back in around the new walls.  This dirt will not be as tight and compacted as the original before it was disturbed.  This loose, and aerated soil is now a perfect place for water to travel.  There is now and “bowl” around the outside of the house.  When it rains, water travels naturally to this backfilled area and is actually directed right to the footing/wall joint.  This creates water pressure around the outside of the house.


Sometimes this holds for many many years, other times it doesn’t.  But eventually water will find it’s way into any cracks, breaks, or open areas.  The floor/wall joint is by far the most common location for water intrusion in your basement.  In a crawlspace with dirt, the water usually enters the same way but often isn’t noticed until there is standing water in a majority of the space.

So, how do I know why my basement is leaking, and what do I do about it?

It is important to have a basement or crawlspace specialist to inspect and diagnose your problem.  It is important to know where the water is coming from to properly come up with a solution.  If nothing is done, much damage can occur over time which can cost thousands of dollars or worse, health issues.

Call NESPros today for your free basement or crawlspace inspection.  We service Northern Michigan including Gaylord, Grayling, Houghton Lake, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Cheboygan, Indian River, Mackinaw, St Ignace, Cheboygan, Kalkaska, and surrounding areas.  Don’t settle for gimmicky sales tactics or sketchy materials and service.  This is your investment, and you want it done right.  NESPros is the official basement waterproofing and crawlspace company of Northern Michigan!

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