waterproofed basement

Signs My Basement Needs Waterproofing

Many Americans have basements in their home. These below-ground spaces are mostly used to store stuff. Other homeowners transform their basements to become a laundry room, a workout room or home gym, a den or an informal living room. Still some basements are used as a maintenance room or a place where all the utility is kept.

Basements add square footage to your house, so many house hunters would love to have them. For some, the lack of a basement can even be a deal breaker. Plus, basements also increase the value of your home. So, having a basement has some solid benefits.

However, their maintenance and upkeep can be costly, especially when dealing with water damage – something homeowners will experience at least once. About 14,000 people in the country are affected by water damage every day, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), with water damage being the no. 2 cause of property damage claims.

So, waterproofing your basement is critical. If you’re unsure whether or not your basement needs waterproofing, here are the signs you should watch out for.

Dampness or Condensation

Basically, your basement is wet or damp. You feel some mugginess whenever you step in there. You might also see some condensation on the ceiling, windows, or doors.

Another tell-tale sign of moisture is the formation of rust. Check your basement for any metal-based materials that might have developed rust on them.

Waterproofing your basement when you observe dampness, condensation or rust is even more important when you live in an area with a high water table or if there’s been any recent heavy rain. Otherwise, you might see damage in your basement or to the appliances you store there as well as the growth of mildew or mold. If you do, call a professional to waterproof your basement as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Leaks or Flooding

These can be in the form of drips, leaks, puddles or flooding in the basement. If your basement gets flooded, that’s a very obvious sign that you need to waterproof the space or risk damage to the area or belongings.

The formation of puddles is another concern and requires immediate action. Even puddles that form outside your house carry a risk of letting too much moisture into your basement. Puddles can form because of water accumulating from various sources, such as leaking pipes and other man-made sources, rain, surface water, or groundwater.

If this standing water pools around a slab or pillar, it could lead to weakening of the foundation. When this happens, water will be able to get into your basement easily and cause damage.

Meanwhile, drips or leaks can sometimes make themselves known by the sound of dripping or leaking water. Check the ceiling and light fixtures and fix any cracks and holes with appropriate waterproofing.


Cracks on your walls, ceilings, floors or foundation can be a sign of water damage. Even cracks as small as a hairline can let water into your basement, which can lead to bowed or cracked walls. On the floor, cracks might result from pressure from the expanding soil. Waterproofing your basement will take care of these cracks before they can cause any more damage.

Musty Odor

When you go down to your basement and smell something funky or musty, you’re highly likely dealing with some water damage. The odor comes from mold, which you might or might not see, as they can grow inside walls and other areas that are hard to see or access.

Waterproofing can remove the unpleasant odor, along with the mold and the problems associated with it. (More on mold below.)

If your basement doesn’t have proper ventilation, you might also notice some damp smell, which comes from the evaporating moisture. Without a place to get out of, home appliances and fixtures like sinks, washing machines and water heaters could create humidity in the basement.

To be sure of where the odor is coming from and its cause, contact a professional to do an inspection and perform the proper waterproofing, if necessary.

Water Stains

When water has had enough time to soak through your basement walls, floors or ceiling, it will leave a stain. This ugly stain discolors the area, giving it a yellowish, brownish or beige appearance.

It might not be a big deal, such as when someone has spilled some liquid on the basement floor or your washing machine overflowed. However, it could also represent a big problem.

Water stains can be clear signs that groundwater has seeped into your basement, whether you see it or not. They shouldn’t be ignored, as most likely, water is passing through the foundation or via cracks in the wall and needs to be addressed.

Mold or Mildew

Mold is a common problem in many American homes. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a 2022 report, estimated that around 47% of U.S. houses have some mold or dampness.

Even if it’s not a problem in your house right now, it can take just 24 to 48 hours for mold to begin growing on a damp surface, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They can grow even faster on porous material that’s located in damp and dark areas.

Spores present in your home can increase and cause health issues that may appear suddenly or can’t be explained. Typically, mold spores can cause allergic reactions, such as itchy eyes and skin rashes, and respiratory problems, such as sneezing, coughing fits, difficulty breathing, and asthma. However, prolonged exposure may lead to fungal infections, memory loss, headaches, and even autoimmune diseases.

In addition to health issues, mold can damage your property and belongings if left as is. In its early stage, you might be able to clean the mold on your own, but in worse cases, you might need to pay to repair structural damage and have to leave your house until it’s safe to inhabit again. Mold remediation and removal starts at $125 and can go as high as $30,000, depending on the size of mold issue, according to Forbes.

Swelling or Warping

When it rains, soil absorbs moisture and expands. This puts pressure on basement walls and pushes them inward.

In addition, moisture from the soil also tends to seep through the basement walls. This leads to paint becoming wet or chalky. Glistening walls is a visual cue of this excess moisture.

Plus, walls and ceiling might also begin to swell or warp because of the excess moisture in them. Doors too, and they can become stuck because of too much moisture, which makes them hard to open or shut tight.

This isn’t good for your home’s structural integrity. So, after a heavy rain, it’s best to check the alignment of your basement wall.


Efflorescence are white sparkles that appear in your basement floors and walls. At the right angle, you might think you’re seeing some sparkling lights where they are. However, this powdery white stain is the result of the breakdown of lime in the cement when moisture evaporates.

Typically, efflorescence appears when you have an unfinished basement. It’s a sure sign that you have a moisture issue down there. If left alone, it might adversely impact the structure of your house. So, it’s recommended to call a professional to waterproof your basement immediately.

No Comments

Post A Comment