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Understanding the Types and Causes of Basement Flooding

Basement flooding clean-up is not a pleasant task. Setting aside the matter of draining and stopping any flood water, you have to deal with potential property loss and structural damage depending on the severity of the flooding. Prevention is the best cure for flooding, and being able to understand the types of basement flooding as well as the causes of basement flooding is an important step to protecting yourself.
Causes of Basement Flooding

Types of Basement Flooding: Overland Flooding

Overland flooding is the most common cause of basement flooding and is an important subject in Canada. Any situation in which the water level outside of your home starts to rise—such as from spilling rivers, excess snowmelt, or even intense rain—the water can end up slipping into your basement. The exact way this infiltration happens will vary from house to house, but is usually influenced by elements such as proximity to water sources, flood water slipping in through doors, holes in the foundation, or the slope or grade of the terrain.

Since basement flooding caused by overland infiltration is usually preventable, it is often considered the homeowner’s responsibility and not many types of insurance will cover the damage. This makes prevention even more important. Checking your property for leaks, making sure you understand the grade of your property, and taking steps to make sure water is directed away from your home will go a long way in preventing damage down the line.

Types of Basement Flooding: Drainage Failure

There are numerous types of drainage systems that a home can employ to keep water from slipping in. Unfortunately, these systems can sometimes fail and result in a flooded basement. Some of the common causes of basement flooding from these types of failures include:


As a house ages, cracks and small holes are inevitable. Even if you have top-notch drainage systems throughout your home, these cracks and holes provide pathways that water can use to seep into your basement. Basement flooding seepage can become painfully obvious in overland flood situations as described above.

Sump Pump Failure

A sump pump is a system meant to drain excess water out of and away from the home’s foundation. If the sump pump is not maintained properly, or if it becomes unable to keep up with the amount of water coming in, water can spill out of the sump and flood your basement. A power failure can also be responsible for sump pump failure even if the sump pump is kept in top condition.

Weeping Tile Failure

A weeping tile is a type of pipe used to usher excess water in the ground and away from the property; it’s kind of like a variant on rain ducts. If the pipe deteriorates, collapses, or if the weeping holes become plugged, the tile will fail, and drainage will slow or stop altogether.

Types of Basement Flooding: Sewer Backup

During periods of heavy rain, the sewer system can become flooded and start to back up into people’s homes. This can cause connected fixtures to begin overflowing with wastewater, typically starting with the lowest ones in the house. Outside of weather conditions, it is possible for blockages or other types of flow restrictions within the sewer pipe to cause similar backflow problems.

Find a Basement Flood Clean-Up Service near You

Managing an effective flood clean-up is a challenging task at the best of times, but professional and expert help can make things go much smoother and safer. Flood Services Canada stands ready to provide quick-response clean-up services across the GTA and beyond and will use the best techniques, personnel, and technology to ensure your basement is clean, safe, and dry ASAP. Our teams will drain flood water, seek out and eliminate hidden moisture pockets, and thoroughly inspect, disinfect, and save as much of your property as possible.  Contact us at (416) 302-2107 to learn more about how to manage basement flood situations, or use our emergency hotline at (416)-999-3930 to get our rapid-response teams deployed to your area.

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.