Why Your Basement Leaks In The Winter: A Brief Rundown of 5 Common Reasons

A leaky basement in the winter could pose a threat to the integrity of your house or building. Contact experienced waterproofing professionals to get it fixed.

A flooded basement could put a downer on the holiday season quicker than anything else. Nobody wants to spend the holidays mopping up water in a leaky, old basement instead of spending time with friends and family. Not to forget, a leaky basement would undoubtedly ruin the festive mood due to the high cost of maintenance and the inconvenient nature of the situation.

There are various reasons why your basement could leak, and nearly all of them share the common factor of moisture buildup. This is the reason why basement waterproofing is essential. 

Below, we list some of the most common reasons why your basement is leaking.

1) Cracks in Basement Floors or Walls

Foundation defects are the most significant cause to be concerned with your basement. If the base has any flaws or gaps, moisture will inevitably accumulate, leading to leaks. As the snow melts in the basement area, moisture collects and gets stuck in any frozen soil or basement walls/floors. 

If the built-up moisture has nowhere to go, complications will inevitably occur. The hydrostatic pressure will force in and trap the moisture, potentially causing new base cracks.

2) Basements Melt the Snow by Radiating Heat

Though it may be freezing outside, the air in your basement is much warmer. Compared to the winter climate outdoors, the basement, whether complete or incomplete, is very comfortable. Your basement radiates heat, and the warmth can be felt up to 8 inches beyond the basement walls.

As a result of the radiant heat reaching the earth, the frozen snow and soil begin to melt, producing and storing moisture. Most basement leaks in winter are caused by this build-up of moisture between the frozen soil and the basement walls and floor. The problems start when the accumulated moisture has nowhere to go.

3) Using The Wrong Soil Type

When it comes to leakage, the soil around your basement is essential. With the right kind of soil and drainage, water will flow correctly and moisture will be drawn away from your home. The wrong form of soil, combined with poor drainage, will allow moisture to collect and stagnate against your basement walls. Clay soil, for example, can avoid leakage and flooding by removing moisture and stretching rather than enabling water to accumulate and build up the strain.

4) Your Sump Pump Isn't Doing Its Job

The sump pump collects wastewater and transports it away from the house. Water will pool and flood your basement if your sump pump isn't functioning properly. It is placed in the basement by drilling a hole in the ground and is powered as the pit fills with water, pumping the water away from the basement.

Sump pumps may malfunction for various reasons, including power outages, congested or frozen pipes, and incorrect installation.

5) The Slope Around Your Foundation Is Flawed

The soil around your foundation should always slope away from home, regardless of the type of terrain it is built on. The soil outside your home's base should slope down 6 inches in the opposite direction of the home's foundation, directing water away from it rather than letting it stagnate at its root. The farther away the water drains are from the building, the less likely you are to get a leak.

How Do I Keep My Basement Dry In The Winter?

Inspect the Drainage System

First and foremost, figure out how the water is getting into your basement. Inspect the area outside your house and work your way inside. Check to see if your pipes, drains, and other plumbing devices are successfully diverting water away from your building. If not, make the necessary adjustments to ensure that water is drawn away from the house.

Inspect the Windows in the Basement

Check the basement windows for any damages. To prevent a leak in the basement, the windows should have a watertight seal and should be located above the ground level. This placement aids in the prevention of basement waterproofing problems.

Choose the Most Effective and Appropriate Waterproofing System

The leaks could be caused by crevices in the walls, damaged sewer drains, shifting in the foundation walls, clogged pipes, or excessive backfilling during renovation. Other reasons for a leaking basement in the winter may be found with the aid of a licensed plumber.

As every basement leakage condition is different, you'll need to choose the right waterproofing strategy for your home. Most basement leaks are caused by a combination of issues, and so there isn't any standard approach that'll work for every condition.

How Do You Fix A Leaky Basement?

Waterproofing the basement can be done in several ways. Here is how to fix a basement foundation leak:

Interior Excavation 

This approach involves digging small trenches along the edges of the basement. Then, to channel water from the leaking areas into the sump pump facility, drainage titles and pipes are added. This method is widely regarded as the least disruptive one.

Exterior Excavation 

It is a permanent solution involving improving or fixing the drains through new tiles or systems and applying a waterproof membrane to the external walls. This method is, however, a pricey one.


This involves excavating sections of the concrete foundation under the existing one to the desired depth by pouring new concrete on top of the old one. The basement becomes larger as a result of this. The cost of this method depends on the size of the area that needs to be waterproofed.

Closing Thoughts

When winter approaches, it's essential to take precautions to avoid basement floods and leaks, as it is easier to prevent a leak than it is to restore damage once it has occurred. Don't hesitate to reach out to your nearest weatherproofing professionals to keep your home dry this season.


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