Fixing Your Concrete Driveway

Are Windows a Weak Spot in Your Basement? Upgrade the Frames & Divert Water to Prevent Leaks

by Gavin Jackson

It's vitally important for every homeowner to keep water out of his or her basement; even minor water intrusion can cause mold and mildew damage that can ruin carpeting and furniture and potentially become a health hazard. One of the most common source of water intrusion is around your basement windows. These are serious weak points in your basement, since only a thin window frame stands between the interior basement and outside water rather than a nonporous foundation wall.

You can waterproof your basement windows by replacing the frames with a more water-resistant material; this is especially important if your window frame has already been damaged by water. It's also important to change the way the water on your property drains in order to divert the majority of it away from your basement windows.

Water pooling around your basement windows is a serious problem, so it's a good idea to contact a basement waterproofing professional in order to ensure that your basement is kept dry and prevent expensive repair bills in the future.

Upgrading Your Window Frames Helps to Resist Water Intrusion

Wooden window frames, common in older homes, are a major cause of leaking basement windows. Water causes the wood to rot and warp; with the seal between the parts of the frame no longer tight, water will be able to intrude through. This is especially common around the corners of the window and underneath the window sill. Even though aluminum and steel window frames hold up against water damage very well in above-ground windows, the conditions that a basement window faces are much harsher.

Water can pool around the window frame, which causes rust and corrosion that makes the window frame structurally weaker. If the area around your foundation does not drain well, the hydrostatic pressure caused by water pooling around your window frame can warp damaged steel and aluminum frames.

The best choice for basement windows are vinyl frames, since they do not suffer from rot or rust. The only issue that vinyl window frames sometimes experience when installed as basement windows is that the paint used in the creation of vinyl window frames can discolor very rapidly, especially if the rain or water table runoff in your area is acidic. If your current window frames have suffered from water damage, you should definitely consider replacing them with vinyl window frames.

Divert Water Away from Windows by Inspecting & Repairing Drainage Systems

One of the most important steps you can take in order to protect your foundation and prevent water intrusion into your basement is to ensure that as little water as possible comes in contact with your basement windows. The drainage in your lot may be to blame; this is particularly common in houses that were originally built without basement windows and later had an owner finish the basement.

In order to accomplish this, you'll first need to inspect your gutters. Make sure that they are clear of debris and are properly draining all the water that collects on your roof through the downspout. You'll also need to make sure that the downspout isn't draining onto a surface slopes down to your basement windows.

If your basement windows have a window well, which is a small well dug beneath your basement window attached to drainage tile, make sure that nothing downstream of that drainage tile is clogged. That can cause water to pool rapidly in your window well during heavy rains, which can cause rapid damage to your window due to water pressure.

Sometimes this can be difficult to check, because slight differences in grade, soil composition and tree root growth can radically divert the path of water on your property. An experienced basement waterproofing contractor can help you with this step; they are trained to find the path that water will take through your lot and provide drainage solutions in order to minimize the amount of water that comes in contact with your basement windows.