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A Leak in a Split Level Foundation

Tracy Hodge

Water leaks in your foundation are often difficult to pinpoint. Leaking plumbing pipes and poor foundation drainage are two common causes of excess moisture in split level foundations. When water leaks occur, it is important to repair the problem as quickly as possible to prevent structural damage to your home.


Leaking water can cause mold growth in your home.

Damaged or improperly installed plumbing pipes can cause water to leak into your home through your foundation. However, if your home does not have adequate foundation drainage in place, water can seep into your home through cracks in your split level foundation. Rain, melting snow and surface water can run into your foundation if the ground your home is built on is not graded properly. Blocked foundation footing drains can also cause water leaks.


When water seeps into your home through your foundation, structural damage can occur. Wet drywall can deteriorate and crumble requiring repair. Yellow or brown water stains may also develop when excess moisture is present. Water leaks also raise the humidity inside your home, making it less comfortable. A constant source of moisture inside your home may also cause mold to grow. When mold spores land on wet drywall or wood, they can begin to grow in 24 to 48 hours. Mold growth can cause health problems for you and your family if not removed promptly.


A capillary test is one way to determine if water is leaking inside your home through foundation walls or if there is a leak in the shower or pipes inside your home. Oregon State University recommends drying a portion of the damp area inside your home with a hair dryer and covering it with a piece of plastic. Place tape around the edges of the plastic and leave for three to four days. Remove the plastic and examine it. If the underside of plastic is beaded with moisture, water is seeping into your home through a leak in your foundation.


If you have a leak in your split level foundation, hire a plumber to repair it. Examine the lot your home is built on to determine if water could be running into your home from improper grading. If the ground is sloped toward your home, have it regraded to direct water away from your home. Inspect your gutters and downspouts for any debris that could cause it to become clogged, allowing water to run inside.