What Causes a Basement Leak (and How to Fix It)

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Would you know what to do if you found out that your home had cracks in the foundation?

Basement leaks are one of the most common home problems. They can be caused by many different things, but they all share the same solution – stopping water from coming in and getting rid of any excess moisture that’s already there.

If you face that problem, you’ll want to fix your basement leak as quickly as possible so it doesn’t cause more damage or cost you money down the line. That’s why knowing more about fixing leaks is so important.

Ready to get your basement back? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about stopping basement leaks.

What Types of Basement Leaks Exist?

Leaks happen when something is wrong with the soil or ground outside of your home and no amount of repair work can fix them. These leaks are harder to get rid of but there are still steps you can take to help stop the damage from happening. So getting them fixed as soon as possible is the best course of action.

While this may not be an option for everyone because it costs money upfront, it’s still better than having a cellar full of water. But here are the most common causes of basement leaks from a cracked foundation:

Hydrostatic Pressure:

If there’s a crack in your foundation and groundwater is seeping through it, the water will push its way into your home.  Sometimes this pressure is very low but eventually, all of that water can add up and cause major problems for both you and your basement walls.


A lot of times, when there’s a basement leak, it’s because of a crack in the foundation. These cracks can be caused by a number of things – everything from poor grading outside your home to hydrostatic pressure – and they can let water right into your basement.

Window Wells:

Window wells are a common source of water infiltration in homes with basements. If the window well isn’t sealed properly or the slope of the ground around it is wrong, water can easily flow into your basement through the opening.

Poor Grading:

If the ground around your home slopes downwards instead of away from your foundation, that can also be a major contributor to basement leaks. This is because as rain and snowmelt, all of that water can flow into your home.

Signs That It Might Be Time for a Basement Leak Repair

You may be wondering what to look for when considering a basement leak repair. Sometimes there can be moisture in your basement that is reasonable to have. But here are signs that things are a bit more serious:

The Dust on Your Walls Is Damp or Wet

This can be a sign of water damage, especially when there’s an area that is consistently wet all the time. The problem could be coming from your pipes, roof, or foundation but any kind of moisture coming in through the walls is going to cause damage.

If you can, clean the wall and dry it off. Then go ahead and get bids for basement waterproofing repair from basement waterproofing companies or check out do-it-yourself basement waterproofing methods on YouTube.

It Smells Like Mold

Not all mold smells bad, but some species can cause allergies or even illness. The smell of mold is usually a sign that there’s water somewhere that it shouldn’t be, like in your basement.

Mold likes air and moisture so when you notice mold in your basement, try to kill any mold you find. You can do this by getting the area as dry as possible. Also, use a dehumidifier or an air purifier to make the room smell better.

If mold is growing in your basement, you should get rid of it as soon as possible, especially if you or anyone else in your family has allergies or asthma. Consider hiring a professional mold removal company.

You’re Getting Water in the Basement After Heavy Rain

Another sign of water damage is when you get water in your basement after a storm. If this happens, you should make sure that none of your pipes are leaking and fix any leaks immediately. You’ll also need to dry out the basement as much as you can.

If this happens because of high groundwater, the same advice applies except that professional waterproofing may be more needed.

There Are Previous Water Damage Marks on Your Walls or Floor

Water leaking in the basement doesn’t happen overnight, so if you see soggy spots in your basement, there’s likely been a leak at your home before. This is known as water damage.

You can get a sense of how old the leak is by moving furniture that’s near water stains then taking pictures or making notes. It will also be helpful to make sure you have working smoke detectors in your basement.

How Do I Fix a Basement Leak?

If you’ve found signs of a basement leak, the first thing to do is find out where it’s coming from.

There are a few things you can check yourself by turning off your home’s main water source and checking for leaks. You’ll need to shut off the main valve on your meter, which will be located in your basement or garage. You can do this by turning off the main water line coming in, or the shut-off valve that’s closest to your house.

If you don’t find any leaks, you might want to hire a professional basement waterproofing contractor. They can do more extensive tests that will help them find the leak more easily. Always do some research before choosing someone to work on your home so you’ll know who to hire for this type of job.

When You’re Ready for Professional Help, Find a Contractor Who Will Do It Right

If you’ve done all of the above and still can’t find what’s causing your basement leak, or you don’t want to bother with a DIY basement leak repair, consider hiring professional help, especially when it comes to a cracked foundation. You’ll just do more harm than good.

You should look for a basement waterproofing contractor who has experience in your area and is well-respected by other professionals. They’ll do more thorough tests if they have to, which means they’re not just going to slap a Band-Aid on the problem.

The last thing you want is more damage to your home or basement, and you’ll probably have to spend more money than you wanted if the contractor doesn’t do a good job.

Protect Your Basement Today

A basement leak is common and many things can cause them. But the good news is that they can be fixed.

If you’ve found a leak, a crack, or are just now starting to see signs of damage from basement moisture and mold, it might be time for a professional solution. Our team at Armored Basement can help!

We specialize in permanently fixing cracked foundations and waterproofing basements so that they don’t become an ongoing problem. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.