Avoiding Basement Flooding

Protect your home – and your investment.

With up to 40,000 reported cases in Canada each year, basement flooding is a serious problem in many parts of the country. Damages resulting from a flooded basement can cost homeowners between $3,000 to $5,000 or more. Plus, in addition to the mess and inconvenience, flooding can also cause health hazards, and lead to structural damage.

To help you protect your basement, the health of your family – and your pocketbook – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a number of practical steps you can take to avoid basement flooding in your home, including:

 Clean debris from your eavestroughs on a regular basis, and make sure your downspouts extend at least 1.8 metres (6 feet) away from your basement wall, and drain away from your house toward the street, rear yard or back lane. If your downspouts are connected to your home’s sewer system or weeping tile, disconnect them.

 If the land around your home slopes inward, fill in and grade the ground so that it slopes away from your house for at least 1.8 metres (6 feet) out from the foundation. Also, examine sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways to be sure they aren’t causing water to drain back towards your basement walls.

 If your drainage system tends to overload, consider installing one or more floodproofing devices, such as a sump pump or back flow valve. Some devices may require a plumbing permit, so check with your municipal office or a qualified plumber before carrying out any installation. Plus, keep all floodproofing devices and plumbing fixtures clean and well maintained, and have a qualified plumber inspect them regularly to ensure that they’re operating properly.

 For severe storms or power blackouts, you may want to invest in a battery-powered backup sump pump, or a water-powered pump that runs by city water flowing through the pump impeller.

 To lessen the potential damage from flooding in your basement and make cleaning up afterwards easier and less expensive, install impermeable floor and wall finishes such as ceramic tile. In addition, make sure any furniture in the basement has legs to keep the fabric above the water level, and consider using area rugs as an alternative to broadloom for easier removal and cleaning.

 Finally, check regularly with your insurance agent or broker to ensure that you have adequate coverage against flood damage. Keep your insurance policies and related records in a safe location that is easily accessible after an emergency, and maintain a detailed inventory of everything in your residence for use in the event of a loss.

For more information or a free copy of the “About Your House” fact sheet Avoiding Basement Flooding or other fact sheets on virtually every facet of owning, maintaining or renovating your home visit our website at www.cmhc.ca or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency and a source of objective, reliable housing information.

For story ideas or to access CMHC information, contact CMHC Media Relations – National Office at: (613) 748-2732 or by e-mail: media@cmhc-schl.gc.ca




Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency. Established as a government-owned corporation in 1946 to address Canada’s post-war housing shortage,

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