If you see a growing wet spot on your floor or water coming up through the basement floor, it’s something to worry about. If you don’t find and fix the problem quickly, it can lead to mold and pests. Here are some common reasons for water seeping through the floor and how to solve them.
What to Do When Water Is Coming Up Through the Floor
When you first notice rising water, there are a few main reasons why it might be happening. You could have a plumbing leak, or it might be coming from the ceiling. If not, it could be a leaky in-floor heating system or groundwater seeping through your home’s foundation.
Check the Ceiling for Leaks
If you see a puddle on the floor, it might not be coming up through your home. It’s more likely a ceiling leak, especially after heavy rain.
Start by looking or listening for a leak. If you don’t see any obvious signs, check the ceiling above the wet spot on the floor for stains or moisture. If you find a leak, use a wet vacuum or mop to clean up the water, then place a bucket or tarp to catch any more water. You’ll need to hire a plumber to fix the leak. It’s important to address this issue quickly to prevent mold or rot in your ceiling, floors, and walls.
Monitor the Water Meter
Sometimes the water comes up through the floor because of a plumbing leak.
If you don’t see a leak right away, you can check your water meter to see if there’s a problem. Turn off all your water sources and check the meter. Wait for three hours and check the meter again. If it has moved, there’s a leak, and you’ll need to call a plumbing contractor to find the source.
If the meter hasn’t moved, the water leak is likely from an outside source, like groundwater, causing the water to come up through the floor.
Leaking Underfloor Heating
If you have an in-floor heating system, the water that warms the floors can leak. Your water meter will show if there’s a leak, but you might not be able to see it. In-floor heating systems have pipes that run through the floor, and a leak can seep through, causing mold or pests.
A flooring contractor or heating system specialist can use special cameras to find the leak and fix it, as well as treat the area for mold. You can also try finding the leak yourself by buying an infrared thermal imaging device, which costs between $50 and $300.
Excess Groundwater or Rising Water Table
If you find water coming up through the basement floor, it could be because of excess groundwater or a rising water table.
When the soil is too wet or the water table reaches the level of your basement or home foundation, water can enter your home through cracks, unless your basement is properly waterproofed.
Start by checking the sump pump, which moves water away from the house. Too much pressure can cause the sump pump to stop working. Clean the sump pit of any debris. If your sump pump is old, around seven to ten years, consider replacing it.
Another way to reduce excess groundwater is to install a drainage system like weeping tiles or an interior drainage system. Weeping tiles collect groundwater and redirect it. An interior drainage system sits where the wall and floor meet and drains excess water away from the home.
It’s best to call a professional to fix a slab leak and consider waterproofing your basement to prevent future leaks.
Excess Water from Doors and Windows
If it’s not the pipes or foundation, the water might be coming in through the windows and doors. Poorly sealed windows can leak during rain, and the water can enter the floors and subfloors.
To fix this, seal the windows with caulk. If the problem continues, you might need to replace old windows or doors with new ones.
Quickly dry out the room using dehumidifiers and fans to prevent mold, especially if the water has reached the subfloor. Call a window professional to assess the situation. If the windows are beyond repair, you may need to hire a window company to install new ones, which costs about $650 per window.
Clogged or Broken Drains
Clogged or broken drains can cause water to seep through the floor. These drains carry water from your fixtures to a central drain pipe that takes it away from your home. If the drain lines get clogged or broken, the water will flow back into your home and cause flooding. Cracks in the drain line can also lead to water leakage.
Look out for unpleasant odors or slowly draining sinks as signs of a drain line problem. Call a plumber for help if you suspect this issue.
Clogged Gutters or Poor Drainage
Clogged gutters or poor drainage can also let water enter your home. Gutters collect water and direct it away from your home’s foundation. If they get clogged with debris, water will overflow and pool below. Poor drainage around your house can worsen the problem.
Clean your gutters twice a year or after storms to ensure they’re flowing properly. You can also improve drainage by installing drains in areas that collect rainwater. French drains, trench or channel drains, underground downspouts, and catch basins are common options. Contact a local drain pipe installer to handle this project and make sure water flows away from your home.
Fixing Damage After Leaks or Flooding
Once your floors, ceilings, or walls get wet, water damage can happen quickly. Mold and mildew can start growing in just 24 to 36 hours. Call a water damage restoration professional to help. It’s important to track down and fix the cause of the leak as soon as possible.
While waiting for the contractor, you can start drying your home with the following steps:
- Open windows, unless it’s rainy or humid outside.
- Turn on ceiling fans and box fans.
- Move wet furniture outside to dry in the sunlight.
- Remove the wet part of the floor to dry and prevent mold.
- Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air.
- Use a wet vacuum or mop to clean up water on the floor. Do not use a regular vacuum as it can be dangerous.
- Replace the carpet padding and possibly the carpet if they got wet to prevent mold.
Remember to take action quickly to minimize damage and keep your home safe and dry.