How to Fix Your Wet or Damp Basement

Wet and Damp Basement Issues -

Like most things, most people don’t do much about a lot of things until it is causing them an up close and personal problem.

Like when the car won’t start, or when the roof is leaking, etc. When we see most property disclosure forms filled out by the seller of a home, they typically state that they’ve never had a water problem. Unfortunately, the majority of them only consider a water problem to be standing water on the floor or the basement being flooded. Under normal circumstances fortunately that doesn’t happen too often.

Even so, the vast majority of the basements that we inspect have some form of water infiltration issue.

If someone is diligent with their homes maintenance, they oftentimes contact a “waterproofing” contractor to come out to investigate. Often times the problem is that the contractor either wants to dig out the foundation and re-“damp” proof it OR install a water collection system.  The prior solution is usually excessive for what really needs to get done and is a really expensive process. The later, no matter what the contractor “guarantees”, doesn’t actually fix the problem; it still allows the water to come in, they just control where it goes when it does. This isn’t a good idea as the foundation or basement walls are still getting wet and this can lead to water damage to finished basements and the subsequent mold that can grow as a result.


The vast majority of moisture infiltration problems are a result of poor landscaping around the foundation and or a poorly operating gutter system. The soil around the houses foundation should preferably be hard pan soil with a slight slope away from the foundation. Mulch and decorative stone commonly hide poor grading. It is important to find out exactly where the water would pond if it were to be placed next to the foundation. Would that be ten feet from the house after it runs off or hidden in a hole next to the foundation where it isn’t visible because the mulch or stone hide it. Much as location, location, location is relevant to what home you purchase, grading, grading, grading are a huge part in keeping a basement dry.


Couple good grading with a gutter system that properly directs water that is coming off your roof to a proper place and realistically you have cured most of what causes the water infiltration problems. Unfortunately, people fail to maintain their gutters properly and overflow due to clogged gutters occurs. People just don’t understand what huge amounts of water come off the roof during a heavy rain. If it isn’t going down the drain, but is dumping next to the house, it is likely that it is going to find its way into your basement.


As a minimum, make sure to clean the gutters out once all the leaves have dropped in the fall. We recommend atleast two times in the fall, but also again in the spring after all the seed/bloom drop that comes off of trees around the house.

Basements were never intended to be inverted swimming pools. If you have a moisture problem in the basement/crawlspace, take a moment to review the grading and gutter system. You may find that some simple cures can correct the problem. Why not do that versus spending potentially thousands on something that you don’t really need and which a contractor won’t tell you?  Just remember…KEEP THE WATER FROM SITTING NEXT TO THE HOUSE!


Tim Stull
ASHI Certified Inspector #7069
Brady & Henderson, Inc.

For more information regarding the maintenance of your home, please visit our friends at Progressive Foam Technologies, Inc.

Speak Your Mind

2 × one =