Water Leaking Into Basement After Heavy Rain

When you find water leaking into your basement after heavy rain, it’s a sign that something in your home’s waterproofing has gone wrong and it can lead to all kinds of serious issues down the line, so when you find a leaking basement, it’s best to act quickly.

What Causes Basement Leaks?

The flippant answer to the question “what causes basement leaks?” is, of course, “water”.

While this answer might be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it does lead on to a discussion of how water finds its way into your basement after heavy rain and it’s not quite as simple as “through a hole”.

Basement leaks can come from two directions: above and below.

Water From Above

Water from above refers to any water that finds its way into your basement after originating from above ground – that may mean that it’s rainwater, surface runoff (water flowing downhill from a higher elevation), or any other source that isn’t groundwater.

Wherever it comes from, your home’s waterproofing is meant to keep it out and stop water from seeping through your basement floor and walls. If you find that water is leaking into your basement after heavy rain and you suspect it’s coming from above it could be a sign that:

Your home has poor grading

When homes are built, they should be on a relatively high point of the property, with a slight slope away from the walls. This means it’s easier for water to flow away than it is for it to push against and seep through your basement walls.

This is fixable, but it’s a pretty mammoth undertaking involving some very heavy-duty landscaping and therefore is usually a last resort.

You’re Experiencing Pooling

Poor drainage may result in water pooling against your basement walls and eventually forcing its way through.

If you notice pooling in the same place after every storm, an exterior French drain is a relatively simple method to allow the water to flow harmlessly away, rather than letting it seep through the walls.

You’ve got guttering Issues

While it may seem odd to look to the roof to find out why you have water in your basement after heavy rain, guttering plays an vital role in keeping your whole home watertight.

Gutters allow the water which hits your roof to be directed away harmlessly and if there’s an issue with this, then it can cause pooling or water ingress in all kinds of unexpected places.

Keeping them clear and well maintained is an easy way to help keep water out of your basement. In particular, look for any corroded or broken parts or places that overflow during heavy rain and remedy these as a matter of urgency.

You’ve Got Poor Soil Composition

You may think that soil is just soil and dirt is dirt, but the quality of the ground around your home can play a vital part in keeping your basement dry. Certain soil types (clay or loam) are prone to retaining water, whist others are better at draining.

If you find that your soil is holding too much moisture, you could consider working in other elements or building raised beds around your home. Not only does this help with the waterproofing, it’s a great chance for an aesthetic refresh too. Flex those green thumbs!

Water From Below

Of course, water doesn’t just fall out of the sky (well, it does, but not just out of the sky). The ground around your home also contains a large amount of moisture.

The point that the soil reaches saturation is known as the water table and will vary from place to place according to local conditions. In areas where the soil is particularly prone to retention and that experience heavy rain regularly, it’s likely to be higher than in those that don’t.

There are also “false” water tables which can cause serious problems for homeowners. This is when the saturation point of the soil around your home rises, usually due to flooding or heavy rain, far beyond its usual level. They’re known as “false” water tables because they’re temporary, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause a lot of damage.

The force that water exerts on your basement walls and floors, causing seepage is known as hydrostatic pressure. Left unaddressed it can move blocks and cause cracks, letting water seep through.

What To Do When Your Basement Leaks

Now that we’ve got a grounding in the root causes of basement leaks, what do you do about it when you find water seeping through the basement floor?

Assess The Situation

First things first, you have to work out what you’re dealing with.

Observe the situation and find out where the water is coming from and assess the severity of the problem. Ensure that you’re taking lots of pictures and videos to send to the professionals, should they be required.

You should also check for signs of mold growth, which may suggest that this is not a new problem and may be more advanced than it seems.

Remove Standing Water

The next obvious step is to get rid of the water that’s found its way into your basement.

Depending on the severity of the problem you’re facing, this may be a case of getting a towel and a mop and bucket or it could require a shop-vac or specialist pumps.

In very severe cases, you can call a remediation company and let them work their magic. They will have the knowledge and equipment to ensure that all the water is removed so you can move on to the next step.

Preventing Future Leaks

It’s a sad fact that once water has found its way into your home, it will continue to follow that path again and again until the core issue has been remedied properly.

To avoid the risk of serious structural damage occurring, it’s best to consult with a professional waterproofing company as they will be able to tailor a solution to your precise needs. They may consider some or all of the following:

Internal Drains and Sump Pumps

Internal drainage and sump pumps both divert water away from your basement floors towards somewhere it can drain away harmlessly. They’re particularly useful if you’re experiencing water coming up from below.

Crack Injections

If you’ve found water to be seeping through cracks in your basement walls or floors, filling them is the obvious solution. A professional waterproofer will clear them out then inject them with concrete or resin, depending on the requirements of the job.

Window Wells

At their core, window wells are basically a hole in your wall, which leaves them vulnerable to water intrusion. Keeping them clear and allowing water to drain harmlessly away from them may be enough but in some circumstances, replacement and reinstallation may be necessary.

Gutters and Downspouts

Remedying issues with your guttering and downspouts, such as cleaning and clearing or replacing worn sections will ensure that water is diverted harmlessly from your roof to where it can drain away without threatening your basement.

Exterior French Drains

French drains work as underground drainpipes, much like gutters do for your roof. A perforated pipe is laid, providing an easy path for water from a problem area to somewhere harmless.


The nuclear option in terms of disruption, but undoubtedly an effective one. Regrading a property involves landscaping around the house to ensure that it’s on a raised slope. One major advantage of this mammoth undertaking is that it allows easy access to the exterior of your basement walls, meaning you can update your exterior waterproofing at the same time.

In Conclusion

When you find water leaking into your basement after heavy rain, the tendency can be to panic but while water ingress is never good news, it can provide you with an opportunity to remedy some serious issues before they become a disaster.

Keeping a calm head, assessing the situation and, most importantly, getting the right help can make all the difference.