Identifying Water Issues in a Leaking Basement

When dealing with a leaky basement, you must determine the nature of the water issue.

1: Patched walls
2: Peeling paint
3: Water/Dampness on walls
4: Loose floor tiles
5: Rusty Base
6: Damaged & off floor Storage

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Is there mold present?
  • Is there wall spalling or wall damage visible on your foundation?
  • Is the drywall in your basement damaged?
  • Do you have the presence of efflorescence in your basement?
  • Is water pooling anywhere, like around a drain or in a specific corner?

Once the source of the water is determined, the proper solution can be put in place to prevent future leakage, structural and water damage.

Contact Stay Dry

Our waterproofing professionals can diagnose any problems before they become more serious.

Professional Tip: Any un-diagnosed leak can really damage the building materials in your home. Rotting drywall, mold growth and weakened foundations are just some of the issues that occur if water is entering your home on a regular basis.

Two main Categories for Leaky Basements & Crawl Spaces

  Broken Envelope

Water entering from the exterior is a common problem for basement foundations with cracks, poor drainage, blocked window wells or damaged seals on basement windows.  Our objective is to stop excess water from entering your home though any breaks in your foundation envelope.

  Hydrostatic Pressure

Water entering through the basement floor slab is often due to hydrostatic pressure from water saturated soil around your home. If there is a leak in your basement floor, it is possible that hydrostatic pressure is pushing water up through the floor and even through your foundation walls.

Proper grading to take water away from your foundation and proper drainage to prevent water pressure from building up against your exterior walls are both important steps to prevent water leakage.

Our exterior analysis will take into consideration your roof and any curled shingles that may indicate water issues from above. We will also inspect the complete building envelope to ensure there are no water penetration points that may be damaging your home.

Ensure that your downspouts are always leading water away from the foundation walls and that the grading around your home slopes away from the home. This is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent entry of water through your foundation walls. Make sure the downspouts are properly connected as well, with no leaks or drips, and ensure there is no debris blocking the water from exiting.

Diagnosing Wet Basements

Our expert team can diagnose every kind of water leakage issue in your home and can fix your wet basement permanently. With years of experience building and repairing residential foundations, we know how to solve even the most complex water leaks and foundation issues.

Keep in mind that water molecules can move upwards through building materials, instead of simply ending up as puddles on the floor. Due to the many potential sources of water leakage, it is always important to have professionals analyze the water penetrating pattern to help determine the source of the leak and how it can best be fixed.

Stay Dry can diagnose water issues by observing;

  • The pattern of water leakage
  • Looking for potential entry points for water
  • Determining if there is mold
  • Observing stains & watermarks
  • Searching for cracks in your foundation walls or basement floor

Dampness or Moisture Issues, Wetness, & Flooding

Since there are so many different types of water leakage issues, and different degrees of seriousness in terms of damage to your home, our assessment of water issues are divided into three main categories.

1) Dampness or Moisture Issues

It is always best to avoid having moisture in your basement. Damp or moist basements are not ideal and can lead to the growth of mold, or even indicate a potential water issue.

Remember that while moisture meters are a useful tool, just because you don’t detect moisture doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.  Sometimes the water is beyond the reach of a moisture meter and is hard to detect. Our waterproofers have at least 10 years’ experience and are trained to properly diagnose any issue.

Professional Tip: Follow these steps and be vigilant;


  • Ensure basement windows are properly sealed
  • Run a dehumidifier
  • Check for recurring efflorescence
  • Check for cracks in your foundation

Contact Stay Dry

Before water causes a serious foundation problem involving a large financial expense.

2) Wetness

Recurring wet basements are a serious issue because major structural damage to your foundation can occur over time. Recurring water or pooling water indicates there is a leak of some kind that needs to be addressed immediately.

3) Flooding

Flooding is the most immediate of residential water issues. This problem requires immediate cleanup, assessing the source of the water, drying the area, repairing damaged building materials and fixing the leak or crack where water originates. Floods are usually caused by sewer backup, broken water pipes, plugged window wells and water penetrating your home from hydrostatic pressure. If flooding is originating from your pipes, shut off the home’s water supply immediately. Keep in mind that electrical shocks can occur after a flood because water and electricity do not mix.

When Concrete Foundations are poured, there is potential for a Cold Joint

This occurs when time has elapsed between the pouring of successive parts of your foundation, with one part setting before it has properly bonded with another section. While this isn’t necessarily always an issue, Cold Pour Joints can lead to leaks into the building.

Another main area of leakage is where the exterior foundation wall meets the floor in the building corner, and further along, you often see that water leakage is concentrated along that cold joint, further indicated by any white efflorescence.

Efflorescence can form due to Moisture entering the foundation walls

We inspect the entire wall and corners for any efflorescence above or below exterior grade level. Often, the leaks at the top of the concrete wall occur primarily because of water spillage outside the building above the grade level. If there is a large volume of water leakage along your basement wall, this may mean that there is an exterior issue with your foundation.

Water Leakage can come from concrete form ties

These steel rods secure the foundation wall forms during the concrete foundation pour. The extra ends are broken off once the wall has set. Sometimes, water leaks can come from these tie rods, only becoming visible during a heavy rainfall, once the soil is saturated.

Telltale signs of form tie or tie rod leaks are stains about the size of a coin on your basement walls. In addition, if you notice holes in your foundation walls around form ties (small stained circles), have them fixed to prevent future water issues before finishing your basement, which will save you aggravation in the future.