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Why is our basement getting wet?

Answered by Brendan ~ March 27, 2010 ~ Comments

For years our unfinished basement has been damp but lately we have noticed that our basement walls are actually wet! The other day my wife went into the basement and there was a large pool of water on the flooring. Here in Washington state we get a lot of rain, but we've never had water seeping into our basement before. What could be going on?

Henry J. ~ Yakima, Washington

Brendan Fowler

Here are some suggestions as to what could be aggravating your basement water problem. If you have a French drain that was meant to drain water away from your basement walls when the house was built, it could be getting clogged up with fine silt. French drains can become less effective over time if the drainage around the house causes a large amount of silt laden surface water to drain through the gravel. All of the small pockets in the gravel meant to drain the water away, get clogged up with silt, and allow water to build up against the wall. If you have a sub drain behind the wall that has become clogged or blocked, this can cause excessive water build up. New gutters that drain by the wall or old gutters that have been re-routed to drain by the wall can introduce enough new water to cause more leaking. New landscaping that has changed the drainage around the house can channel more water towards the wall. I can't say for sure what is going on in your basement but these are some scenarios that could be adding to the problem. Good Luck!

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