How Do I Stop Water Seeping In My Basement Walls?

how do i stop water seeping in my basement walls (2)

One of the most common problems in homes with basements is water seeping inside and pooling on the floor. Several things cause basement wetting. Usually, wet basements occur during the winter months or after heavy rains. 

If left unchecked, basement moisture not only can ruin floors and walls but can even encourage mould and can damage the roofing as well. So, the only question coming to your mind right now is how to stop water from seeping into my basement? At MJS Construction Group, we have the best home builders selection to make your house a dream come true.

Basement waterproofing can work wonders in solving these problems. But before going deep into this, let’s discuss some of the essential points that you need to know about your leaking basement.

A wet basement is more than a nuisance. If your basement includes finished living space, any moisture can ruin carpeting, drywall, and framing. Even if you have a crawl space or use your basement for storage, a simple case of condensation can buckle hardwood flooring on the level above and spawn harmful mould.

If you have a soggy basement, you’re not alone. The Society of Home Inspectors, based in Des Plaines, IL, estimates 60 per cent of homes have wet basements, and 38 per cent run the risk of basement mould.

The water in the basement most often comes from rainfall and melting snow. Even a small storm can trigger a deluge. For example, a house with a 1,500-square-foot roof sheds 1,000 gallons of water for every inch of falling rain. In tougher cases, the problem is rising groundwater, which may be fed by an underground spring. Once the water accumulates around your foundation, it works its way inside through cracks, joints, and porous material.

Reasons for Water Seeping Inside Your Basement

How Do I Stop Water Seeping In My Basement Walls

Water can enter your basement through many channels. Let’s analyse each of them:

Over Walls:

If your home has poor drainage, rainwater and snow water can enter your basement from the top of your foundation walls. Therefore, it’s recommended to opt for professional drainage and excavation services to build a drainage plan that can divert rainwater from buildings into proper groundwater channels.

Construction Holes:

The holes left during the time of construction increases the chances of water entering the basement. If there are any cracks in your foundation, they can also form channels for water to enter.

Sump Pump Failures:

A sump pump is in sync with the pump permanently installed in your basement. If your sump pump is connected to sanitary sewers, it will likely cause a sewage backup in the basement. 

However, poor sump pump maintenance, power failure or clogged discharge lines allow water in the basement.


If you have a poured solid foundation, inadequately blended cement can prompt air pockets that have a structure that resembles a honeycomb. As water rushes against these honeycombs, they can cause openings or even splits in your foundation that permits water in the basement.

Floor Cracks:

Pressure from the water beneath your home can cause cracks in the basement floor, which leads to water coming up through the basement. This pressure is due to poor drainage and dirt soil. If you have water in the basement after the rain has stopped, it may cause floor cracks.

Sewer Lines:

Sewer pipes can let water into your basement in several different ways. Whether your sewer line goes through your foundation floor and wall, the seal may weaken over time and allow water in. The joints between your drain pipes and your main sewer line may also wear out, allowing wastewater to seep into your basement.

The worst-case scenario is that your sewer lines back up, allowing sewage to flood your basement. A blockage in your main sewer line is the most likely cause of a sewage backup. However, heavy rains are also likely to cause a problem. Routing gutters and downspouts in sanitary sewers can lead to an overload of water flowing through the system, leading to a backup.

8 Solutions for Fixing A Wet Basement

Not only does a wet basement feel and smell nasty, but it also poses a great risk to your home’s value. Left unchecked, basement moisture can ruin floors and walls, encourage mould, even damage roofing.

Some wet basements are easy to cure simply by clearing gutters and diverting gutter water away from the foundation. But if the problem comes from other sources—water flowing toward the house on the surface, seeping in from underground, or backing up through municipal storm drains—you must take more aggressive action.

Here are eight strategies to keep water out of your basement.

Add Gutter Extensions

If downspouts are dumping water less than 5 feet away from your house, you can guide water farther out by adding plastic or metal gutter extensions.

But extensions aren’t the neatest or most effective long-term solution, especially if you’re likely to trip over them or run over them with a lawnmower. Permanent, underground drain pipe is invisible and capable of moving large quantities of gutter runoff much farther from your house.

For about $10 a foot, a landscaper or waterproofing contractor will dig a sloping trench and install a pipe to carry the water safely away.

Plug Gaps

If you see water dribbling into the basement through cracks or gaps around plumbing pipes, you can plug the openings yourself with hydraulic cement or polyurethane caulk for less than $20.

Plugs work when the problem is simply a hole that water oozes through, either from surface runoff or wet soil. But if the water is coming up through the floor or at the joint where the floor and walls meet, the problem is groundwater, and plugs won’t do the trick.

Restore the Crown

If the gutters are working and you’ve plugged obvious holes, but water still dribbles into your basement or crawl space from high on foundation walls, then surface water isn’t draining away from the house as it should. 

Your house should sit on a “crown” of soil that slopes at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet in all directions.

Over time, the soil around the foundation settles. You can build it back with a shovel and dirt. One cubic yard of a water-shedding clay-loam mix from a landscape supply house costs around $30 (plus delivery) and is enough for a 2-foot-wide, 3-inch-deep layer along 57 feet of foundation.

Reshape the Landscape

Since your home’s siding slightly overlaps its foundation, building up the crown could bring soil–and rot and termites–too close to siding for comfort: 6 inches is the minimum safe distance. In that case, create a berm (a mound of dirt) or a swale (a wide, shallow ditch), landscape features that redirect water long before it reaches your house.

In small areas, berms are easy; a landscape contractor can build one for a few hundred dollars. On bigger projects, berms make less sense because you’ll have to truck in too much soil. In that case, dig a swale (about $1,000). Once landscaping grows in, berms and swales can be attractive features in your yard.

Repair Footing Drains

If water is leaking into your basement low on the walls or at the seams where walls meet the floor, your problem is hydrostatic pressure pushing water up from the ground.

First, check whether you have footing drains, underground pipes installed when the house was built to carry water away from the foundation. (Look for a maintenance hole or drain in the basement floor or a cleanout pipe capped a few inches above the floor.)

If the drains are clogged, open the cleanout and flush the pipes with a garden hose. If that doesn’t work, a plumber with an augur can do the job for about $600.

Install a Curtain Drain

If you don’t have working footing drains, install a curtain drain to divert water that’s travelling underground toward your house.

A type of French drain, a curtain drain is a shallow trench–2 feet deep and 1.5 feet across–filled with gravel and perforated piping that intercepts water uphill of your house and carries it down the slope a safe distance away.

If the drain passes through an area with trees or shrubs, consider switching to solid pipe to reduce the risk of roots growing into the piping and clogging it. Cost: $10 to $16 per linear foot.

Pump the Water

If you can’t keep subsurface water out, you’ll have to channel it from the inside. 

To create an interior drain system, saw a channel around the floor’s perimeter, chip out the concrete, and lay perforated pipe in the hole. The pipe drains to a collection tank at the basement’s low spot, where a sump pump shoots it out the house.

Starting at about $3,000, an internal system is the best and least disruptive option in an unfinished basement with easy access. It’s also a good choice if your yard is filled with mature landscaping that digging an exterior drainage system would destroy.

Waterproof the Walls

Installing an interior drainage system gets the water out but doesn’t waterproof the walls. For that, you need an external system: a French drain to relieve hydrostatic pressure and exterior waterproofing to protect the foundation.

It’s a big job that requires excavating around the house, but it may be the best solution if you have a foundation with numerous gaps. It also keeps the mess and water outside, which may be the best choice if you don’t want to tear up a finished basement.

The downside, besides a price tag that can reach $20,000, is that your yard takes a beating, and you may need to remove decks or walkways.

Keep Water Out of the Basement

There are several ways to keep water out of your basement. You can do most of these repairs on your own. However, you may need help waterproofing your basement or installing a new drainage system.

Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts

Your gutters and downspouts channel away all the water from your foundation. However, clogged gutters increase the chance of water in your basement.

Clean your gutters and downspouts at least twice a year to prevent clogs. Also, check that your gutters are in good condition and held firmly in place. Make sure that downspouts direct water away from your foundation and add extensions if necessary.

If downspouts connect to a drainage system, such as a sump pump, check that system as well. If you have a sump pump, make sure the discharge pipe connects to the storm sewers and not the sanitary sewers. Otherwise, this can cause a sewage backup.

Check Your Landscaping

Another way to keep water out of your basement is by checking the landscaping around your foundation. The soil around your home should always slope away from your foundation for at least three feet. If the soil is level or slopes toward your home, add more dirt to ensure water flows away.

Allow at least six inches of space between your foundation and your landscaping. Plant bushes at least two feet from your foundation, with trees at least three feet away. Make sure that your landscaping doesn’t retain water or impact the slope of your soil.

Repair Cracks and Gaps

How Do I Stop Water Seeping In My Basement Walls

One of the best ways to stop basement leaks is by fixing cracks and gaps as soon as possible. Hydraulic cement is the best for patching cracks in your basement foundation or floor. You can apply it even if there is water in the crack. While polyurethane caulk is an alternative for plugging foundation cracks, it doesn’t form as good a seal.

For the best results, use a chisel or an angle grinder with a masonry blade to carve a v-shape into the crack. Then apply an even layer of hydraulic cement to the crack with a trowel. Make sure you press it firmly into the crack to create a good seal.

Fix Your Drain Tile

If water is already leaking into your basement, you may need to have your drain tile fixed. A damaged drain tile is usually the issue if the water comes up through the basement floor.

In some cases, it may be possible to flush or snake your drain tile, but it’s more likely that a section will need to be repaired. Since you’ll need to dig up part of your foundation, we suggest you hire a basement waterproofing company.

Install a Drainage System

Another way to stop basement leaks is by installing a drainage system. Although there are several options to keep water out of your basement, the most common is installing a sump pump.

A curtain stain is another common option. Similar to your drain tile, a curtain drain is installed around your foundation at ground level and keeps surface water from leaking into your basement.

Again, it would be best if you dug up your foundation to make these repairs. For this reason, you should hire a basement waterproofing contractor. Finding the right townhouse builders  is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at MJS Construction Group.

Waterproof the Walls

Waterproofing the walls is another way to stop basement leaks. You can waterproof either the inside or the outside of your basement walls.

You can paint the interior of your basement walls with a waterproofing product. However, it’s much safer to hire a company if you plan to waterproof the outside of your basement.

If you are going to waterproof your basement yourself, you need to clean the walls first. Start by stripping any paint, then use a wire brush to remove loose material and other debris. You should patch any cracks as well.

When applying the waterproofing material, brush in all directions and work it into the foundation wall. Also, avoid spreading the waterproofing too thin otherwise, it will not stop basement leaks.

Waterproofing the inside of your foundation walls will keep water out of your basement. This still allows water into your foundation, which can weaken it over time.

Check Your Plumbing

Although most of the dangers of water in your basement come from outside your house, water and drain pipes in your home could also cause an issue. One of the easiest ways to stop basement leaks is to check your sinks, bathtubs, showers and toilets regularly.

Tighten loose water lines and replace old or damaged parts right away. Another way to prevent water or sewage in your basement is to snake your sewers every few years. Most water departments provide free snaking services.

Also, only pour water and liquids down the drain. Even if you have a garbage disposal, avoid putting anything larger than a pea down your kitchen sink. You should never pour fats, oils, starches or coffee grounds down the drain. 

They can clog your sewers and lead to a backup.

In the bathroom, only flush toilet paper and normal waste. Avoid using so-called flushable wipes, as they don’t break down the same way as toilet paper. Also, use a hair catcher in the shower.

Keep Water Away From House Foundation

If your basement leaks after heavy rains or snowmelt, making sure water is diverted away from your foundation may solve the problem. It’s common for the soil alongside your house to settle over time, creating a moat that collects runoff and directs it down your foundation wall and into the basement.  Check out our range of dual occupancy builder for your dream house.

Lawn edging and gravel along the foundation can make things worse. Solve the problem by creating a 6-ft.-wide slope that drops about four in. away from the foundation. For extra insurance, cover the sloping soil with a layer of 6-mil poly. Then hide the poly with mulch, gravel or a layer of soil covered with grass. This will keep water from soaking in near the foundation.

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