The most common cause of a leaky basement is heavy rain but did you know that melting snow has pretty much the same effect as heavy rains as a cause of leaking basements? Melting snow is equivalent to heavy rain and just like rain, snow causes the ground to become saturated when it melts.
When it comes to snow, ten inches of melting snow equals one inch of rain. To put this into perspective, an inch of snow produces about 2700 gallons of water per acre, which is a lot of water. They’re some variables to this, such as humidity and evaporation, but regardless it equals a lot of water.
Why melting snow causes basement leaks
If an inch of melting snow produces 2700 gallons of water per acre, even a little snow can deposit thousands of gallons of water around your basement foundation. If you figure all the melting snow and springtime rainfall, the amount of water in the soil will be greater in the spring than any other time of the year. This saturated ground temporarily can raise the water table, and cause hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls.
When the outside air temperature is warm the rain water is absorbed by the soil and will exert hydrostatic pressure against your foundation walls. During the winter, when the ground is frozen, surface water absorption from the soil is virtually non existent. When you get a thaw, the water pools in places where it normally does not, as the ground may still be frozen. The foundation of your home is warmer than the rest of the ground, so the soil around it will thaw first. This thawed ground around your foundation will absorb more of the water than the other soil. Some of that water is going to find its way down your foundation walls and end up in your basement.
Can basements be waterproofed in winter?
It’s possible to do an exterior basement waterproofing job in the winter time, but it’s challenging to do properly. Many contractors will waterproof all winter long in Northeast Ohio, but it seems to me the work is often compromised for profit. There are many variables to basement waterproofing in the winter months. Many of the materials used on the exterior of the foundation are susceptible to damage from freezing weather. The ground is often very saturated when a trench is opened up and can also make the work challenging.
It’s often best to wait for good weather to waterproof your basement if possible. You will get a better quality job and the work site will be cleaner. It’s hard to restore landscaping in the winter and generally if a contractor finishes the job in the winter, they will generally not come back to restore the landscaping when the weather is nice. Much of the landscape damage is often hidden in the winter by the snow on the ground, if it’s present.
How to prevent a basement from leaking when the snow melts
When it comes to leaks that happen when the snow melts, most homeowners will acknowledge that they have had problems in years past. Most basement waterproofing issues don’t present themselves over night and are a problem that will continue to get worse over time. Usually, your basement water problems are going to be the worst in the late winter months or early spring time. It’s best to plan your waterproofing job in the spring for the fair weather months instead of trying to get it done in inclement weather. You may end up with mediocre job at best and end up with a lot more landscape restoration if the work is completed in the winter.
If you would like an estimate, second opinion or general information about basement waterproofing in Novelty, Ohio, or the surrounding areas of Northeast Ohio, please contact DiFranco Contractors Inc at 440-946-2029.