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4 Signs Your Basement Isn’t Waterproofed

Author: Ohio Homeworx
Date: December 14, 2022
Flooded Basement with Floating household items. Ohio Homeworx logo at top of image.

Your basement should be both dry and well ventilated. This provides and maintains a safe space for your family. It also maintains a stronger foundation for your home. Basements tend to be one of the most neglected parts of a home. So many basements get destroyed and ruined due to water. If your basement isn't waterproofed, you're susceptible to moisture or water seepage. This water getting into your basement will cause water damage if untreated. While some signs of water or moisture in your basement are obvious, some are not. Here are some signs to look for that may reveal the need for waterproofing.

Basement Condensation

Basement condensation occurs when warm wet air hits cold walls, floors, or pipes. It will appear as water drops, wet spots, or even puddles on your walls or floors. It can ruin appliances, furniture, carpet, and more. It's the exact same process of a cold glass having condensation on a warm day. The walls or floors cool the warm air, which creates moisture. Moisture in your basement from condensation is better than a leak or drain problem. This issue is often easier and more affordable to fix. Choosing not to treat it will lead to mold growing on the walls or floors, which can pose a danger to your family.

One thing to keep in mind is that condensation and runoff or subsurface water are similar. It can be confusing to differentiate if it's actually condensation. To tell it from the others, tape foil over damp spots and check it after a day. If moisture forms on the outer foil face, water is condensing from the air. If moisture forms on the foil underside, water is seeping in from outside.

Foundation Water Seepage

Water on a basement floor with an open door. Ohio Homeworx logo bottom left.

"Water seepage is when water doesn’t pour into a home’s foundation, but rather slowly makes its way in via penetrating or permeating a porous material like a concrete foundation wall." Water seepage into your home’s foundation is usually easy to spot. There are certain things that can help you identify moisture. Look for musty smells, high humidity, mold, bubbling or peeling paint, wall stains, or rust. The causes of water seepage into or below your foundation are many, including, but not limited to:

  • Moving groundwater
  • Heavy rainfall or melting snow
  • High water tables
  • Clogged gutters overflowing
  • Overwatering trees or plants too close to foundation
  • A broken water or sewer pipe
  • An improperly graded yard
  • Problem with window wells
  • Cracks in a foundation wall or basement floor by hydrostatic pressure
  • A problem with a cove joint where the wall meets the floor

The main cause of this is excess moisture in the soil around your foundation. While small damage won't affect your home’s structure, choosing not to fix the main cause will. You may think resolving the leak itself is good enough, but it's not. If the source is still viable, the leaks will continue to come back. Choosing not to resolve the root of the issue will lead to not only more leaks, but future structural damage. You would be putting your home at risk of serious damage that will only end up costing more to fix in the long run. Intense structural damage is much more expensive repair than water seepage.

Standing Water in Basement

There’s no more evident sign that you need to waterproof your basement than finding water inside. Visible water in your basement will cause mold, bad smells, and damage to your items and home. Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. This water can be from plumbing leaks or flooding, but it could also stem from another source. Surface water and subsurface groundwater are two main causes. Subsurface is when water's coming through the floor or where the walls meet the floor. subsurface groundwater. Surface means water is only near exterior foundation walls due to not draining. Flooding in basements in common in wet weather. Rain and or melting snow will cause extra water that can impact drainage systems.


Efflorescence can be noticeable on basement walls or floors when there's moisture. Efflorescence occurs when water evaporates on basement walls. It leaves minerals behind, creating a white chalk like stain. It can also show a slight shimmer or sparkle. It can be a bit more difficult to notice, but it shows a moisture compromise in your basement. When it appears on your floors it may even look foamy from moisture bubbling up. Good news is that it's easy to remove this from your floors and walls. It also isn't harmful to people, which is a bonus. With anything though, choosing to not repair the source will result in more stains.

What Should You Do?

Corner of a home foundation with work being done. Ohio Homeworx logo top right.

Have you noticed any of these four signs in your own basement? Do you see moisture, water, or water damage? If so, don’t panic. Now that you’re aware of the water or the damage, here’s what you can do next. First, you should try to identify the source of the water. If you're unable to do this on your own, call a professional to come out and do it for you.

Knowing where the water is stemming from is a key factor in repairing it. Once you know the source, have those repairs done as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage is likely to occur. Water and moisture move quick, meaning damage moves quick.

Alongside getting the damage repaired, opt for waterproofing in your basement. If you don't have it but have experienced this scenario, you can understand why it's important. Waterproofing is necessary to avoid moisture, leaks, seepage, or damage in the future. Choosing to waterproof will also restore and maintain the integrity of your foundation.

There are different waterproofing plans depending on where your water is coming from. These can include interior and exterior basement waterproofing plans, alongside drainage system options. Let us help you look into these options and see which suits your needs best.

Contact us today to get a second opinion and find a waterproofing plan right for you!

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