Diagnose your basement leaks in a few simple steps
Let’s be honest, basement waterproofing is not really that essential during the COVID-19 shutdown. I am not minimizing what we do, but it is more likely that you have bumped this project down on your to-do list anyways. For most of us, boredom has already set in. Just like you, I’m willing to try different things around the house to pass the time. So why not diagnose the leaks in your basement? It is easy, no heavy lifting needed, and all it requires is a garden hose and some spare time.
One of the sayings when it comes to diagnosing any water leaks is that “The hose knows, it will never lie to you.” I know what you are thinking right now, it only leaks when it rains really hard! Any waterproofer worth their salt will admit that this is the number one response given by customers. In fact, running a garden hose in a certain location can simulate up to three inches of rainfall in about ten minutes. That should trigger a response if there is an issue. I would not run the hose longer than thirty-five minutes at any location as water can cause damage to other things around the home. We do not recommend running the hose in freezing temperatures as it may form into ice and create slipping hazards. By following our four simple steps below, you can justify if you need a basement waterproofer or another trade. Not only will this help educate you on your issue, but it can also help save you money in the long run.
Since rain hits every part of your home from top to bottom, it only makes sense to test from bottom to top. This systematically allows us to pinpoint all of your leaks. A general rule of thumb is that shorter foundation walls tend to leak faster than taller foundation walls. FINISHED basement walls can sometimes take a little longer to show a leak due to the obstructions that water must negotiate around. Even though you can’t truly see where the water enters, you have justified the below-grade leak. UNFINISHED basement walls are an open canvas to observe and easier to diagnose.
I must admit that this is my favorite part of the estimate because it gives us instant credibility if we generate a leak. WE DO NOT MAKE IT A HABIT OF MAKING GUESSES AT WATERPROOFING. If your problem really is above the foundation, we will let you know which trade to contact next.
Step 1: Hook up the garden hose to the spigot and stretch it over to an area of concern on the outside of the foundation wall. For the best results, remove any sprayer or sprinkler from the end of the hose.
Step 2: Lay the hose on the ground about 1’ away from the wall and add weight on the end of the hose if needed. Turn the water on, start a timer and go back inside to observe. Please don’t spray above the foundation yet, as we are just trying to determine below grade leaks first.
Step 3: Observe the area that is being tested from the interior. If water enters, it will enter one of these ways.
- Water will spill over the top of the foundation. This may happen within 5 ‑10 minutes.
- Water enters through the foundation wall from cracks, pipe penetrations, tie rods or honeycomb. This may happen within 10 – 20 minutes.
- Water enters where the wall and floor meet (Cove Joint). This may happen within 20 – 45 minutes. Make sure you get pictures and/or videos of these leaks to use for your consultation when you are ready to commit to the repair(s).
Step 4: Shut off the hose and repeat the process around different areas if needed.
It’s a pretty simple test, right? If you took the time to run the test and want to discuss your results, just call us and we would be more than glad to have that discussion with you. You will not be pressured into an estimate, we just love to talk about what we do! If you had FUN running the test and think you have what it takes to be an HONEST, RESPONSIBLE waterproofer, please contact us for employment opportunities. Again, thank you for your participation and I hope you learned a few things about your home.
Master Waterproofing Diagnoser
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