"It's been weeks since the first storm, and we keep getting water in out basement. It now seems that every rain more comes in, is this normal?"
Disappointingly yes, it is very normal / common for a basement, once it's seen a flood, to experience trickles if not continuous water through the same trouble areas when it rains.
In the situation of the North East, many homeowners are seeing water in their basements and then seeing it again with the next storm. Having an area like the North East and North West where it's damp, moist and rains throughout the year, it's regular thing to have.
Why is this?
Once water finds a way through it means that the openings and separations are large enough for water to come through. Add high volume, heavy saturation in the soil to capillary action, the water can actually attract or pull water behind it into the basement. Pressure behind the water in the basement pushes more water in the fill the void as the water in your basement is cleaned, pumped, or vacuumed out. It's very un-nerving to see and more unsettling to continue to deal with.
Were is this kind of thing "normal"?
Well it can happen to any basement anywhere, but it's most common in valleys. Houses that are situated at the base of a hill which gets run off from the houses above it in elevation. Other homes pump out water, rain comes down, roof run off; all of it collects and runs down the hill. It increases the saturation level as it flows down and if the house is located in just the right area at the bottom, entire sections could be in fact trying to fend off the whole neighborhood's water run off.
How can you fix it?
A house in a situation like this will need an interior drain system. Even if the house had an exterior system it's better to be protected for the long term. Exterior systems don't normally pump or remove water from them - they even sometimes just let the water run through the pipe but don't direct it anywhere - these types of designs can be dangerous.
Give yourself a fighting chance
1.) Make sure all your gutters are flowing, there's no gaps, and that are all being led away from the foundation
2.) Make sure your roof is draining properly. A few shingles out of place can dump more water in 1 section of your home then it can handle.
3.) Install an interior waterproofing system - this will stop any leaks or seepage and give it a place to go - this is the most important step.
If the problem is already happening it's hard to change small things to stop it. However making sure that your home isn't contributing the water is 1 less thing that can cause a problem.
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Related Reading and Links
Read about the Top 6 Basement Mistakes that contractors and homeowners make. See what other readers have asked in Safe'n'Dry Basement Blog's Reader Questions Section
Ask Jacob A question Directly on Pioneer Basement's Help Forums!