Can You Build A Basement Near A Lake? (Five Considerations!)

Having a home near a lake is fulfilling and gives you a lovely dwelling where you can unwind and relax as you enjoy the soothing breeze from the lake.

Well, while living by the lake is an amazing experience, building a home near a lake might not be as easy as it sounds.

So, Can You Build A Basement Near A Lake?

Well, building a home with a basement floor near a lake may be challenging because of the raised water table. However, this does not mean it is utterly impossible. You can build a basement near a lake but it will require more waterproofing.

Generally, building a full basement is not recommended for homes near lakes.

Basements are prone to flooding, and being near a massive water body increases the chances of them being filled with water almost every day.

Starting foundations for a home near a lake is the hardest part of the building.

Usually, the design and material choice for the building are determined by water table level, soil drainage, soil type, and the distance from the lake to the construction area.

Knowing the reasons for flooding in basements enables you to get long-term solutions during construction to avoid flooding in the near future.

If you are considering building near a lake and are unsure of whether or not to add a basement, this post will help you make an informed decision.

Three Basement Lake Proximity Considerations

Before you elevate any structure near a lake, there are many things you need to consider to ensure the structural integrity of your home. Here are some of the things to consider:

1. Check The Area’s Building Regulations And Codes

Check the state and local building codes before you start constructing a basement near a water body.

This will save you from costs that may arise in case you are found in the process of constructing a structure against the set rules and codes.

2. The Water Table

Checking the water table will help you determine if you should build a basement or just a crawl space.

Additionally, the water table enables you to determine the elevation of the basement and the entire structure.

3. Water Drainage

Water drainage should be determined when building a new structure near a lake.

To prevent flooding, especially when it rains, you need to choose ways to manage water and drive it away from the foundation.

For instance, you can use French drains or gutters to ensure excess water is not being drawn near the foundation or basement walls.

4. Soil Drainage

Soil drainage is the ability of soil to allow water to the floor easily.

If the underground has sandy or loamy soils, then you can easily build a basement compared to if the soil is clay.

Clay soil is hard to work on, and even if you build a basement, it will repeatedly experience flooding because it draws water from the surrounding waterlogged clay soil.

The walls might eventually break if not attended to and waterproofed adequately.

5. Distance From The Lake

Determining the distance of your construction site from the water body can help determine how deep or large your foundation and basement can be.

The close you are to the water body lowers the practicability of building a full basement.

What Should You Do If Your Basement Is Flooded?

A basement is the lowest part of the house and can be prone to flooding.

The possibility of flooding is even higher when you build near a lake.

Anytime you find your basement flooded, it is important to find out why it is flooding before you remove the flooded water and waterproof it.

When you find the basement flooded, consider;

1. Safety First

Wear rubber boots and other protective gear to keep you safe while dealing with the flooded basement. Be cautious when handling electrical devices or wires to reduce the chances of being electrocuted.

2. Identify The Water Source

Check if the flooding problem happens once or keeps recurring. For flood sources like water seepage, they will always reoccur if not handled in due time.

3. Pump Out Flooding Water

You can suck the flooded water using a wet-dry vacuum if the basement floor is partially flooded.

If the floods are intensive, you should call in a plumber to pump out the water, run a dehumidifier to dry the place, and fix the source of water that led to the flooding.

4. Remove Items That Attract Mold

If you have stored materials made of wood, paper, fabric, or leather, it is important to take them out of a flooded basement because they easily attract mold.

Dry and save those still in good condition, and discard the rest.

Three Signs Of A Flooding Basement

There are the three main symptoms of flooding in a basement with different possible causes.

1. Water Coming Up Through The Basement Floor

If you notice water coming from the basement floor or the point where the basement floor joins with the walls, then there is a high chance that it is underground water.

When there is rising groundwater during the wet season, it forms a hydraulic pressure that pushes the water through the floor cracks and concrete openings.

This can lead to larger cracks that allow more water to pass through and flood the entire basement.

2. Water Stains Near The Foundation Or Walls

If flooding seems to occur only near your basement walls, then there is a high possibility that water is not draining away properly.

Check for any of the below causes of poor drainage in the basement.

  • Leaky Basement Windows: Debris and leaves can easily clog window wells and accommodate a lot of water which will later leak through cracks and gaps in the old basement windows.
  • Overflowing Gutters: Water that overflows from gutters can easily erode the soil near the basement and cause cracks in the foundation.
  • Short Downspouts: Usually, downspouts are designed to extend to at least 10 feet from the house to ensure that runoff is discharged very far from the foundation. If they are short, runoff might get close to the foundation and leak to the basement walls.
  • Slope: The landscape should slope away from the foundation to keep water from pooling and saturating the soil, whether the yards or soil. Otherwise, the basement walls will seep in water from the surrounding environment.
  • Roof Leaks: Water running through the damaged roofs can leak and run down to the basement walls and ceilings.

3. Flooded Basement With Water Covering The Entire Floor

This happens commonly during the wet seasons when there are heavy rains and ice, and the ground is saturated.

The drainage system gets overloaded and can lead to flooding in the basement.

Some of the causes of total floor flooding in the basement include

  • Sump pump problems: The basement will flood when the sump pump fails to work due to mechanical issues.
  • Plumbing failure: A burst pipe or cracked hose can cause significant floods in the basement.
  • Exterior drainage tile failure: Exterior drainage systems can easily clog if poorly installed. This can cause basement floods, especially during heavy rains.

Five Tips To Prevent Basement Flooding

To resolve the problem of basement flooding, consider these tips:

  1. Improve outside drainage systems
  2. Regularly replace sump pipes
  3. Check for plumbing leaks and cover them
  4. Repair foundation cracks
  5. Check the roof for damages on the roof and seal them


Building a basement near a water body like a lake is possible, but the builders should take more precaution.

Consider the information in this article as you plan to build a home with a basement near a lake.

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