5 Reasons that Your Madisonville, KY Basement is Leaking

Friday, March 14th, 2014 by Cassi Sherman Henes

5 Reasons that your basement is leaking

Basement Flooding and Leaking in Madisonville Virtually all Madisonville, KY basement leaking and flooding can be attributed to these 5 common causes of basement water intrusion:

  1. The Clay Bowl Effect
  2. River or Stream Run off
  3. Heavy Rainfall
  4. Landscaping Issues
  5. Fragipans

The Clay Bowl Effect

The Clay Bowl Effect occurs everywhere, not just in Madisonville. Basically, when a home is being built, the construction company has to dig out a foundation. The hole that they dig for the foundation is always larger than the actual foundation. This means that every home is surrounded by a looser, compacted fill soil. Further out in the yard, you will find undisturbed virgin soil that is more compact than the soil closer to the home. Ground water, melt water, etc will inevitably flow along the virgin soil and soak into the looser soil. But what happens when the water reaches the bottom of the foundation hole? Unfortunately, it pools there like it is trapped in a large clay bowl.

What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

It means that you have a moist soil layer just below your basement floor or crawlspace topsoil. You will notice that your concrete floor and walls will be patchy with damp spots and there is a constant dank smell characteristic of a home suffering from the Clay Bowl Effect.

River or Stream Run Off

Hopkins County is surrounded by the Ohio, Pond, and Tradewater Rivers and is penetrated by various smaller streams. As snow melt travels downriver, seasonal run off increases, often causing minor overflow from the banks. 

What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

Even if you’re not near a river or a stream, the overall water in the ground is more abundant during the Spring than it is other times, so you may notice perimeter dampness or leaking in your basement or crawlspace. 

Heavy Rainfall

This one is pretty obvious, right? When there is consistent heavy rainfall, the ground becomes saturated and basements leak. One of the main reasons that basements leak is because concrete has a wicking capability called “capillary action”. Basically, the little hollow spaces left behind during the curing process draw moisture through the concrete.

What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

There is not an effective way to stop concrete from drawing in moisture from the surrounding soil, so you have to utilize an interior drainage system to direct water back out of your basement.

Landscaping Issues

Over time, all soil settles. This includes all the soil that we use to landscape. Landscaping that has settled toward the house will direct water into the basement or crawlspace.

What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

As a homeowner, it is important to be proactive when you see landscaping that is directing water toward your home. The best landscaping should always have grading that tilts away from your home.


In western Kentucky, many soils contain fragipans--subsurface soil layers that are very thick, very dense, and of a different type of soil than the surrounding soil. These fragipans don’t allow roots to penetrate them and can trap water above them, creating drainage issues. In geotechnical terms, this means that fragipans restrict downward water movement and promote the development of perched water tables above the fragipan.

What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

It means that 30-60% of the rain that falls at a time will be trapped just below your topsoil. In many cases, this is the reason that your basement or crawlspace is flooding every time that it rains.

How Do I Keep My Basement Dry?

The best way to combat all of these issues is to install an interior drainage system into your basement, complete with sump pump and discharge line. 

Waterguard is the latest in interior drainage system technology. It sits on the foundation footer, which keeps it out of the dirt, so it doesn’t become clogged like traditional drain tile. It has a wall flange to capture moisture from the basement walls. 

When paired with a Super Sump Pump system, Waterguard is able to remove over 2200 gallons of water from your basement per hour! The Super sump has a tight-fitting lid with a drain for any plumbing leaks that might pop up from your water heater or the like. Two other important features for this system are a battery backup for the sump pump and a WaterWatch Alarm. The battery backup ensures that you will have a functional sump pump even if the power goes out and the WaterWatch Alarm will notify you if the sump pump were to stop functioning properly at any time.

Most importantly, you can keep your basement dry by having the experts at Healthy Spaces design a custom basement waterproofing system to fit your home’s unique needs! Call us today to set up your free estimate

About the author
Cassi holds over 15 years experience in the construction, real estate, and education industries. She is certified in foundation repair technology, soil dynamics, and system design from the Foundation Supportworks Institute.

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