Ottawa’s April Showers bring….leaky basements!

Wow Ottawa, was that a crazy two weeks or what?! From 40cm of snow to 90mm of rain all in 14 days! Apart from not knowing whether to take out your parka or your umbrella, the past two weeks of Ottawa April showers have seen a definitive influx of calls to our inspectors about basement water seepage and leakage and conversely, we have seen evidence of seepage in the homes we have shown.

Ottawa's april showers

Being homeowners ourselves, and knowing that at some point 98% of all basements will have a water leakage issue at some point in its lifetime, we are still taken aback when we step into our finished spaces and draw back a wet sock!

Immediately you have visions of peeling back carpet, replacing underpad, what if it’s in the walls, what if there’s already mould, what if there’s a crack you missed, what if the foundation needs to be fixed, what if….what if….next thing you know you’ve spent $100,000 on a basement/foundation redo!! Well let’s roll it back a bit and go over the list of things to check before you start shopping for contractors.

With this kind of winter to rapid spring thaw, some yards became lakes and the melting snow had no way to work it’s way down the frozen ground. With water sitting close to the foundation the subsoil around your house is likely to thaw first, given that your home is giving off heat. So, following the path of least resistance, the water will make its way downhill, following the grading around the house.Ottawa's april showers

What to do?

So here is check No. 1….walk around your house this spring and look at the grading – does the land slope in towards your house, or away? It is the nature of back-fill to settle over time, and most of us don’t pay a whole lot of attention to what happens at the sides, back or front of our homes. A nice gentle slop away from the house in all directions is what you are going for.



Check No. 2 – look for any downspouts that are letting water sit next to your foundation – if they are, run out and pick up some inexpensive downspout extenders to get the water at least 6ft away from your home.

Ottawa's april showers

Downspout extenders

Nine times out of 10 this will take care of the seepage issues. Remember, concrete is a porous material. Any amount of water that stays near the foundation will make its way through. With seepage that migrates through concrete over time, the evidence is in something we call efflorescence – it looks like chalk on the inside of the concrete. Completely normal if your grading lets water sit close by.

Ottawa's april showers

water migration through concrete

If the efflorescence is on the floor instead of the walls – then this may be an indication that your weeping tile system is blocked, or due for a change.

Ok – now the outside of the house has been dealt with but you still have seepage – NOW call a professional, but 9 times out of 10 the simple grading and downspout fixes will work!

For more information, or to know what professionals to call contact us at!



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Address:3B-2160 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1J 1G4


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