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Do Your Home’s Basement Walls Leak When It Rains? Here's What to Do

August 21, 2023

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If your home’s basement walls leak when it rains, you’re not alone! This isn’t an unusual issue with homes and commercial structure. However, while it’s somewhat common, it’s not an issue to ignore. Basement wall leaks can risk costly damage for your property.

If your property’s basement walls leak when it rains:

  • Grade your property better.
  • Install gutters, downspouts, and downspout extenders.
  • Seal cracks and gaps.
  • Add drainage and waterproofing.
  • Install window well covers.

This is just a quick rundown of what to do if basement walls leak when it rains. Also, a foundation repair contractor might recommend more than one solution for your property! For example, waterproofing and new gutters can help keep basement walls dry.

Whatever the case, keep reading to find out more about keeping basement walls protected against rainwater damage. Additionally, it’s good to consult with a waterproofing and foundation repair contractor for persistent issues. Their expertise ensures a clean, dry basement that’s strong and stable no matter the weather.

basement walls leak when it rains

What to Do If Basement Walls Leak When It Rains

Dealing with basement walls that leak when it rains can be frustrating. However, ignoring the issue can risk costly damage to your property. Leaking also tends to get worse over time, meaning eventual standing water in your home. Here's what you can do to address this issue for your property:

Identify the Source of the Leak

Before taking any action, determine the exact source of the leak in your property’s basement. In most cases, leaks are due to cracks in the foundation, inadequate drainage, poor waterproofing, or plumbing issues. Inspect the basement walls and floors for signs of moisture or water entry.

Also, remember that water doesn’t necessarily pool near the leak source. Instead, water runs to the lowest point. In turn, don’t assume that leaks originate directly over standing water or damp spots. Trace that dampness as much as possible to its origin to determine its source.

Improve Grading

Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation. This helps direct rainwater away from basement walls. Improving grading can help prevent water from pooling against the foundation and seeping into the basement.

In addition to sloping soil, ensure that you don’t have soil mounds around your property’s foundation. Landscaping can sometimes create small hills or other obstructions that hold moisture against outside basement walls. A landscaping engineer or foundation repair contractor can inspect your property for needed corrections.

Install Gutters, Downspouts, and Downspout Extenders

If your home doesn’t have gutters around the roof, it’s time to install them. Gutters capture rainwater and direct it to downspouts. Those downspouts then direct that water away from the structure and its foundation.

Also, if downspouts are too close to the house, water can still pool around the walls and seep into the basement. Consider adding downspout extensions to carry water farther away from the house. You can find these at any home improvement or hardware store.

If Basement Walls Leak When It Rains, Seal Cracks and Gaps

If you identify cracks or gaps in the basement walls, use hydraulic cement or epoxy injection to seal them. This can help prevent water from seeping through those cracks. Also, waterproof coatings you can roll onto the inside of basement walls can stop leaks as well.

basement waterproofing

Install Drainage Systems and Waterproofing

Installing a drainage channel is excellent for keeping water away from a basement. For example, French drains are trenches filled with gravel and a perforated pipe. These systems direct water away from the foundation. This can help manage groundwater and surface water.

Inside the basement, a sump pump can also collect and redirect water. This is a more extensive solution to water leaks in poor weather. However, it’s very effective in managing water infiltration. Sump pumps are also excellent for areas prone to flooding, which increases interior water seepage risks.

For more protection against moisture, consider exterior waterproofing. A contractor digs excavations around the basement walls. Next, they apply a waterproof coating or membrane to the foundation walls directly. This prevents water from reaching the walls in the first place.

Window Well Covers

If you have basement windows, install window well covers over them. These prevent rainwater from accumulating in the wells and leaking through the windows. You can find these covers at most home improvement stores. They install quickly and easily and provide protection against pests as well as water.

Is It Normal for a Basement to Leak When It Rains?

It's not uncommon for basements to experience moisture or leaks during heavy rain, as said. However, significant leaks or persistent moisture are indications of a problem that needs fixing! These might include:

  • Without proper grading, gutters, and downspouts, excess water can accumulate and lead to leaks.
  • Over time, foundations can develop cracks. These are often due to settling, soil expansion and contraction, or poor-quality installation. These cracks allow water to enter the basement.
  • A contractor should waterproof a basement during construction. Without needed waterproof coatings and treatments, your basement might be vulnerable to water infiltration.
  • In areas with a high water table, pressure from the groundwater can force water into the basement.
  • Improperly sealed windows, doors, and other openings can allow water to seep into the basement.
  • If your basement has a drainage system, it must stay clear and function properly to prevent water backup.

a home that needs basement waterproofing

How Do You Fix a Leaky Basement Wall From the Inside?

If your home's basement walls leak when it rains, exterior waterproofing provides excellent protection. However, interior solutions are typically more affordable and easier to install. First, clear the area around the affected wall and cover the floor with plastic sheeting or drop cloths.

Second, use hydraulic cement or epoxy injection to seal cracks in the basement wall. For smaller cracks, hydraulic cement can be effective. For larger or more complex cracks, epoxy injection may be necessary. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

Once the cracks are sealed, apply waterproofing paint to the entire interior surface of the basement wall. This creates a barrier against moisture and potential water infiltration. Use a paintbrush or roller to apply this product evenly.

If you have windows or other openings in the basement wall, make sure they are properly sealed to prevent water entry. You can use standard window caulk or weatherstripping. Also, remember that these materials degrade over time. In turn, you should check them every year for needed replacement.

For a persistent leak, install a sump pump or an interior drainage system. A sump pump collects water and pumps it out of the basement. An interior drainage system collects and redirects water to a sump pump pit. These solutions are more comprehensive and may require professional installation.

A Quick Word From Our Waterproofing and Foundation Repair Crew

Indianapolis Foundation Repair Experts is happy to provide this information about what to do if basement walls leak when it rains. Hopefully we’ve offered some practical advice!

Also, if you’re in the area, call our Indianapolis foundation repair contractors. We can schedule a FREE foundation inspection and repair and waterproofing price quote. We offer a wide range of repair solutions and waterproofing methods for every property. To find out more, reach out to our team today.


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