How to Strengthen a Foundation and Prevent Flooding in Toronto & GTA

Flooding is a major concern in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It damages properties and can weaken building foundations. Securing foundations and preventing flooding is crucial for maintaining a building’s structural integrity. This article will explore two key solutions—bench footing and backwater valve installation—and discuss their benefits, installation process, and cost considerations.

brown and white concrete house near green grass field during daytime

Bench Footing Installation

Bench footing refers to installing a wide concrete strip around a building’s foundation. The purpose of a bench footing is to divert water away from the foundation and prevent it from seeping into the building. For property owners in the GTA, securing bench footing installation services, like, is vital to fortifying their buildings against water-related damages and foundation concerns. By enlisting professionals for bench footing installation in the GTA, individuals can effectively divert water away from their structures, bolstering drainage capabilities and foundation stability. With expert assistance, property owners can mitigate the risks of flooding and soil erosion, safeguarding their investments and properties for the long term.

Some benefits of bench footing include:

  1. Enhanced drainage: The sloping surface created by the bench footing allows water to flow away from the foundation, reducing the risk of flooding.
  2. Increased foundation stability: The bench footing acts as a support base, distributing the building’s weight evenly and minimizing the risk of foundation settlement.
  3. Protection against soil erosion: Bench footing prevents soil erosion caused by water runoff, which can undermine the foundation’s stability.

The bench footing installation involves excavating the area around the foundation, pouring and leveling a concrete strip, and ensuring proper grading for efficient water drainage. The cost of bench footing installation may vary depending on factors such as the size of the building and the complexity of the project.

aerial view of green grass field

Backwater Valve Installation

A backwater valve is a device that prevents sewage from flowing back into a property during heavy rainfall or flooding. It is installed in the main sewer line and acts as a one-way gate, allowing sewage to flow out but preventing it from entering the building.

Some benefits of backwater valve installation include:

  1. Preventing sewage backup: During heavy rainfall and flooding, sewers can become overwhelmed, causing sewage to back up into properties. A backwater valve prevents this backup, protecting buildings from the damaging effects of sewage floods.
  2. Reduced risk of contamination: Flooding can introduce harmful bacteria and contaminants into the sewage system. By installing a backwater valve, the risk of contamination is significantly reduced.
  3. Compliance with building codes: In many areas, including Toronto and the GTA, backwater valve installation is mandatory in new constructions or during major renovations.

Installing a backwater valve involves cutting into the main sewer line, inserting the valve, and ensuring proper sealing to prevent leakage. The cost of backwater valve installation varies depending on factors such as the type of valve chosen and the complexity of the plumbing system. Backwater valve installation Toronto is particularly crucial due to the city’s susceptibility to heavy rainfall and flooding. By installing a backwater valve, property owners can mitigate the risk of sewage backup and comply with local building codes, ensuring the safety and integrity of their buildings during extreme weather events. Hiring backwater valve installation professionals ensures the process is done correctly and complies with regulations.

Importance of Professional Installation

While some may consider DIY installation to save costs, it is essential to highlight the risks involved. Both bench footing and backwater valve installation require expertise and precision to ensure their effectiveness.

Some risks of DIY installation include:

  1. Improper installation: Mistakes in the installation process can render these solutions ineffective, leaving properties vulnerable to flooding and foundation damage.
  2. Warranty concerns: Professional installation often comes with warranties, ensuring the contractor addresses any issues or failures.
  3. Compliance with regulations: Building codes and regulations vary, and professional installers know the specific requirements in different areas.

Choosing the right contractor is essential when opting for professional installation. Look for contractors with experience in foundation strengthening and flood prevention. Seek recommendations, review their portfolio, and ensure they are appropriately licensed and insured.

Case Studies

Here are a few case studies that demonstrate the impact of bench footing and backwater valve installations in the context of strengthening foundations and preventing flooding in Toronto and the GTA:

Case Study 1: Residential Property in Flood-Prone Area

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Issue: A residential property in a flood-prone area was experiencing frequent water seepage into the basement during heavy rainfall, leading to foundation dampness and potential structural damage.

Solution: Bench footing around the property’s perimeter was installed to create a sloping surface that effectively diverted water from the foundation. A backwater valve was also installed in the main sewer line to prevent sewage backup during flooding.

Outcome: Following the installation of bench footing and the backwater valve, the property experienced a significant reduction in water seepage and basement flooding during subsequent heavy rainfall events. The foundation remained dry and secure, alleviating concerns about structural integrity and water damage.

Case Study 2: Commercial Building Retrofit

Location: Greater Toronto Area
Issue: A commercial building undergoing renovation in the GTA needed to fortify its foundation against potential flooding risks, mainly due to the urban area’s density and increased susceptibility to sewer system overload during heavy rainfall.

Solution: Bench footing was incorporated as part of the building’s renovation project, providing a robust foundation drainage system. Additionally, compliance with building codes and regulations mandated the installation of backwater valves to prevent sewage backup.

Outcome: The combined installation of bench footing and backwater valves effectively safeguarded the commercial building against flooding and sewage backup. The measures proved their effectiveness during significant rainfall, showcasing the building’s resilience to potential water-related damage.

Case Study 3: Stormwater Management for New Construction

Location: New development in the GTA
Issue: A new residential development project in the Greater Toronto Area focused on sustainability and resilience against climate-related risks, including flooding and water management.

Solution: Sustainable stormwater management practices were integrated into the development, including implementing bench footing around individual property foundations for efficient runoff diversion. Backwater valves were installed in the development’s main sewer lines to mitigate the risk of sewage backup during extreme weather events.

Outcome: The strategic inclusion of bench footing and backwater valves in the development contributed to a comprehensive stormwater management system. It facilitated effective water diversion and sewage protection, aligning with the project’s sustainability goals and ensuring the properties’ long-term resilience.

These case studies underscore the practical implications and positive outcomes of employing bench footing and backwater valve installations to safeguard foundations and mitigate flooding risks in Toronto and the GTA.


Protecting the foundations of buildings and preventing flooding should be a priority for property owners in Toronto and the GTA. Bench footing and backwater valve installation offer effective solutions to mitigate the risks associated with flooding and foundation damage. By diverting water away from foundations and preventing sewage backup, these measures can greatly enhance the resilience of buildings.

It is important to remember that professional installation is critical, as it ensures the proper implementation of these solutions and compliance with local building codes. Consulting reputable contractors and investing in these preventive measures can save property owners from the substantial costs and stress of dealing with flood-related damage. Let’s prioritize the security of our foundations and make Toronto and the GTA more resilient to flooding.

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