Water trickling into your basement through walls or up through the floor — while it’s never good — may not be the kiss of death that you fear.


In fact, most homeowners will experience, at some time or another, water leaking into their basements. If the leaking problem is severe or chronic, you should definitely contact a reputable expert. But if leaking is intermittent and not too severe, perhaps occurring only when it rains heavily, it’s worth investigating the cause of the problem because the solution may be simpler and less expensive than you think.


First of all, investigate the cause. If you’ve got leaking as a result of surface water that trickles down beside your foundations and seeps through your wall, remember that you can effectively direct surface water away from your home, and this may eliminate your occasionally wet basement.


For example, soil around homes typically sinks a little after construction because it’s been disturbed and settles over time. This can lead to a little trough of water around your home.


Or check out your driveway, or your stone patio, especially if it butts up against your house. If it is sloped even slightly toward your home, guess where the water is flowing. Also inspect the state of the sealant between asphalt or patio and your foundation.

– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for TV show Arresting Design; sputz@arrestingdesign.com.