Water in the Midwest Basement


  • You’ve found your dream home, but as you enter the basement you notice a tell-tale smell of moisture. Is there a foundation problem?
  • You have just finished unpacking when a much-needed rain storm arrives. After the storm you walk down to your basement and there is an inch of water on the floor. Do you have a foundation problem?
  • You are looking at a cute Prairie Village home and notice that the whole basement has steel beams running up the walls. Is there a foundation problem?

Often the answer in each of these situations is no.  The majority of basement water problems are caused by improper grading (dirt around the house), and improper drainage of the guttering system and adjacent soils.

The most common problems with drainage systems are:

  1. Blocked and clogged guttering systems, or downspouts that are draining too close to the structure,
  2. Soils and dirt around the house that are too flat or even reversed grading that has settled or eroded and now slopes toward the home.

Each of these conditions can cause water to penetrate into the structure; either in great torrents of splashing water or in water seepage. If corrections are not made many costly problems can occur.

Mold, decay and structural problems are all in the future of the house that has improper drainage. If the soils next to the house get too much water saturation, they can expand and produce approximately 800 pounds of force per square foot. Wow! That is a lot of pressure constantly pounding on our concrete and block foundation walls. Over time, this wet soil can actually crack, break, push over or cause sinking of our foundation walls and footings. Instead of the repairs being adding a little dirt around the home, it now becomes costly foundation repairs, replacement of rotted siding, flooring, windows, and concrete structures.