Timberwsie workmen in a basement preparing for damp proofing

Can High Temperatures Mend a Leaking Basement?

20 June 2023

When it comes to property care, there are plenty who might find the idea of a basement off putting or potentially stressful. That’s because there is a high risk of flooding in a basement – even if it isn’t situated anywhere near a river or canal.

In these situations where a basement is leaking and there is no obvious groundwater to blame then you could be forgiven for thinking that high temperatures might be capable of solving your basement leaks.

Is this possible though? And how might heat effect a leaking basement in a more general sense? Find out everything you need to know below.

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Why Has My Basement Developed a Leak?

Basement sump pump in the floor surrounded by floor membrane

The first step in understanding how temperature might effect a leak in your basement is comprehending how a basement develops a leak.

First off, a basement leak is not directly tied to groundwater, or water spilling in from ground level.

Instead, the issue is much more closely related to the level of moisture within the ground surrounding the below ground structure itself. This means that the more moisture there is in the soil and surrounding earth around the basement, the more likely it is that this moisture is going to find its way into the basement.

This happens in one of several ways. The first way is via lateral pressure. Lateral pressure is when the soil surrounding the basement fills with moisture from the rain, and then expands as a result. This expansion obviously pushes against the walls of a basement, creating additional pressure on the basement walls which over time can lead to small cracks and faults in the basement walls.

If these cracks are not treated, or if they are allowed to get worse then the moisture trapped in the ground is going to travel through the soil, and find its way through the cracks.

This is how lateral pressure can create a leak in your basement, and it has nothing to do with the amount of groundwater present or rivers bursting – simply the ground becoming bloated with rain is enough to cause a leak through a compromised wall.

Another reason your basement might be leaking is due to hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is similar to lateral pressure in that it’s down to the moisture in the ground that causes the leak, but its not the pressure of the ground pressing against your basement causing the leak. Instead, it’s the moisture itself that is absorbed by your properties walls causing the leaks.

Not only will this develop a leak, but there is a high chance of your basement developing black mould, damp, and other property care issues as a result.

You also have regular, run of the mill water leaks from the likes of cracks and faults within your basement, that are nothing to do with the surrounding ground. These are fairly common, and self explanatory when it comes to explaining the amount of water entering the basement.

Notice that in all of these different causes for a leaking basement, they are dependent on the moisture within the ground to form. If there has been no rain, there can be no leak.

So, what does that mean in the context of heat, and the question of whether warm weather can actually prevent or stop a leak in a basement?

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Can Heat Stop a Leak in a Basement?

Damp proof membrane installed on walls in property

 

In short: no. Whilst in the short term it might seem that the warm weather has solved any leaks or flooding problems you might have had, in reality what you are experiencing is just a lack of moisture ready to leak into your basement.

The different causes of basement leaks that we described before all rely on having moisture ready in the ground to flow into the basement itself, through whatever faults or cracks might have developed. If there has been no rain, or any source of moisture in the ground at all then there is going to be nothing to flow into your basement – but don’t be fooled into thinking that this short respite is in any way a long term solution.

In fact, whilst you might be carrying on quite happily in the belief that the leak has sorted itself out thanks to the heat, in reality the fault which has allowed for the water to make its way into your basement has at best not gone anywhere, or at worst degraded even further.

All that will happen in this situation is disappointment. You will make your way through the summer quite happily, in the belief that your leaks are gone and no further action needs to be taken. Then, at the first sign of heavy rain you are going to be faced with a leaking basement once again.

This is going to happen again, and again, and again, until the actual reason your basement is leaking is addressed.

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How Can I Stop My Basement Leaking?

A man fitting cavity drain membrane in a basement

Realistically, you are going to need the assistance of a qualified waterproofing specialist to help you stop flooding in your basement permanently.

The first step would be to have your basement surveyed by an accredited professional. This survey will be able to let you know not just why your basement is leaking, but also inform you (via a report) what the next steps you should take should be to avoid further issues.

Its highly likely that your basement might need type A, or type C waterproofing to help secure it. Type A waterproofing, commonly called Tanking, is a slurry applied directly to the wall which waterproofs it and stops water from coming through entirely.

Type C waterproofing is entirely different. Type C waterproofing is a cavity drainage system, a waterproofing method that involves attaching membranes to the walls of the basement which collects the leaking water before draining it towards a safe drainage point – usually a sump pump.

This is a method that ensures any potential leaks are collected and dealt with safely – and that any future leaks are also contained, never ruining your basement again.

You can learn more about our basement waterproofing methods, and how they are applied on our website here. Alternatively, you can always arrange for a basement waterproofing survey to stop leaks in your basement for good via our website, or by phone on 0800 288 8660.