Repairing Leaking Basement Walls
What Works (And What Doesn't) For Leaking Basement Walls
Basement walls leak when water builds up in the soil outside your foundation. This water presses against your walls, leaking in through anywhere it can.
If your basement walls are leaking, your local Basement Systems Contractor can help! We have warranted, effective solutions for your basement that will permanently address your problem. If you live in Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom, we have a dealer near you!
Leaking basement walls can greatly limit the usefulness of your below-grade space. Leaking walls tend to be ugly surfaces, stained by water, mold, and white, powdery efflorescence.
As walls continue to leak, they also compromise your options for basement finishing, by adding moisture to the space that could be damaging to drywall, carpeting, wood studs, and other organic materials.
That moisture encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and rot on your building materials. And where the walls are not covered, humidity is instead added to the basement air, creating a musty, humid space.
It costs you nothing to meet with one of our waterproofing specialists for a free, on-site consultation, inspection, and written price quote.
To schedule your free foundation wall repair quote, contact us today!
Where Do Basement Walls Leak?
Basement walls can leak from multiple locations, including through cracks, around pipe penetrations in the walls, or through basement windows. Water can also seep through the concrete itself, seeping into your basement or entering as moisture.(Click for more information.)
Four Solutions To Fix Leaking Walls
As is the case with most home improvements, some methods are much better than others. We've spent more than 20 years carefully researching which methods will work best for us, and which methods will ultimately fail.
At Basement Systems, we only recommend some of the options available. We believe in choosing permanent solutions to wet basement problems that do not disrupt your home when being installed. Our systems can be serviced should a problem arise, and include a written transferable warranty.
Basement wall waterproofing techniques can be broken down into these four major categories:
Waterproof paints and coatings are easy-to-apply products that can be found in nearly any hardware store. They're meant to coat the walls, creating a vapor barrier that will hold back moisture that would otherwise seep through the porous concrete.
This works for a few months, or maybe a couple years, before breaking down. Once it does, the waterproof paint will begin to bubble, peel, and flake off the basement walls. These coatings can also grow mold and mildew.
Once the coatings have been applied, there is no easy or effective way to remove them from the concrete.
More about Waterproof Paint
Dampproofing From The Exterior
Instead of coating the basement walls from the inside, some contractors will instead coat the basement walls from the outside. They will do this with either a dampproofing, or a waterproof coating.
Dampproofing is not intended to stop all moisture from entering your basement. These coatings are not designed to last forever, and they cannot bridge all wall cracks.
Installing these coatings means that you'll need to access the outside walls of your foundation -- so the entire perimeter of your home will need to be excavated. This is an expensive, invasive job that costs about twice as much as interior waterproofing pump systems. As the perimeter is dug out, any gardens, patios, walkways, steps, or other landscaping will need to be removed.
More about Exterior Dampproofing
Seal The Wall Crack
When properly done, sealing leaking wall cracks is a permanent, effective solution. The trick to this is to find a solution that will not peel off the wall or fail as the wall naturally expands and shrinks over time.
We offer the following three solutions for leaking walls and crack repair:(Click for more information.)
Like our other waterproofing solutions, these solutions include a written performance warranty.
More about Crack Repair
Waterproof Wall Panels
Instead of covering the basement wall with a waterproof paint or coating, we recommend mechanically attaching basement wall panels. These wall panels will do double duty, keeping out moisture while upgrading the space. We offer six different specialized wall products:(Click for more information.)
- ZenWall™ Insulated Wall Panels
- BrightWall™ Waterproof Wall Panels
- ThermalDry™ Radiant Heat Barrier
- Basement To Beautiful™ Prefinished Wall Insulation
- EverLast™ Wall Restoration System
Many Basement Systems contractors also offer finished basement systems, once your basement is dry.
More about Waterproof Wall Panels
When water vapor passes through the porous concrete of your walls, it brings traces of minerals with it.
As the water vapor evaporates into your basement air, these minerals are left behind. Over time, they form into the white, powdery mineral salt known as efflorescence.
Will Mold Grow Behind The Walls?
Mold will not grow behind the walls unless they are painted with latex-based paint, which contains organic materials derived from rubber trees. Mold can also grow on basement walls that are extremely dirty.
In both cases, the mold is not growing on the concrete, nor is it growing on our basement walls. To keep mold from places from places we can't keep dry, we need to use inorganic materials such as plastic, glass, concrete, and metal.
If you install drywall with wood studs, you trap moisture behind the walls, where it will build up against the paper drywall covering and wood to grow mold. No drywall -- even the new mold-resistant varieties -- has a long-term warranty against mold damage.
Our basement wall products are designed with materials that are inorganic and will not support the growth of mold, rot, or mildew. When mold grows behind drywall, you may not be able to see it, even as it affects your health.
More about Drywall Damage.
Do You Have A Foundation Issue?
Many cracks on basement walls are harmless curing cracks that pose no threat to your foundation. However, if you do have a foundation issue, you'll want to know about it and address it right away.
If the sides of your cracks are uneven, or if they're thicker than a dime, you could have a much more serious issue on your hands than a leaky crack. Many Basement Systems dealers also repair foundations, and will be able to help you identify if there is a more serious issue at hand.
More about Identifying A Foundation Issue
Schedule Your FREE Basement Waterproofing Quote!
Each Basement Systems dealer offers free, no-obligation quotes to homeowners within their service area. These quotes include an on-site personal inspection from one of our experts, a written cost quote, and a complimentary copy of our full-color waterproofing book.
Our network of locally owned and operated dealers are located throughout Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. To schedule your free basement waterproofing quotes, call or e-mail us today!
Crack & Pipe Leaks
As concrete goes through its natural curing process, cracks will often form. Curing cracks typically pose no structural issue to your home, but they can leak water into a basement.
In other cashes, the points where pipes and wires penetrate through your basement wall to the outside are often not sealed, or are improperly sealed. Water can use any gaps or openings around these penetrations to allow water to pass into your home.
Leaking Basement Windows
Basement windows are not waterproof, and as they rust and corrode, they can begin to allow water to leak into the basement. This moisture can damage drywall and carpeting, and it contributes to the humidity levels in the space.
Basement window wells that are clogged with leaves and other debris can greatly contribute to the problem, as they can flood with rainwater that will not properly drain away.
Seeping Moisture From The Walls
Even when a basement is not leaking, moisture will pass continuously through basement walls into your home. This is because concrete is a porous substance that will sponge moisture through from the damp earth outside your home.
As this moisture evaporates into your basement air (adding to the basement's humidity levels), it will leave any minerals it carried with it behind. These minerals will cause a buildup of a white, flaky powder known as efflorescence on your walls.
The FlexiSpan Wall Crack Repair System
The FlexiSpan System is a five-step process that is warranted to seal basement wall cracks and prevent further leaking.
If you have no perimeter waterproofing system, the first step is to create a drywell beneath the floor to collect leaking water. A polyurethane sealant is injected into the wall, and a foam strip is installed as a secondary drainage strategy, should any water leak through the original seal. Then the repair is coated over for a professional look, and the floor is restored.
Once installed, your basement will look great, and the crack will be sealed -- warranted!
The WellDuct Window Leak Repair System
The WellDuct System is designed to collect moisture that would otherwise leak in through your basement windows and direct it to your sump pump.
A drain pipes moisture collecting around your basement windows into a drain mounted against your basement wall. The water is then directed to either your perimeter drain or a drywell.
Repairing Leaky Floor Cracks
One of the more interesting crack repair issues rises up when cracks in your basement's slab floor begin to leak.
Most basement floor cracks will stop leaking when a perimeter drainage system is installed. However, if a large crack presents a more significant leaking problem, we can run a lateral drain line from the crack to your perimeter drainage system. The floor would then be re-cemented over the drain for a clean, professional look.
ZenWall Insulated Wall Panels
ZenWall Insulated Walls are the best way to make an unfinished section of your basement look its best. This unfinished wall system combines a reflective backing, fiberglass insulated core, and attractive vinyl facing for our most attractive paneling available.
ZenWall easily ties in with our perimeter drainage systems, directing leaking water from the walls into your drain and towards the sump pump, while the panel itself prevents water vapor from passing through the walls and into your finished space.
BrightWall Waterproof Wall Panels
BrightWall is made of rigid plastic panels that are attached to your basement wall by drilled-in plastic fasteners. The bright white color of the panels maximizes available light in your basement, for a clean-looking, cheery appearance.
BrightWall is 100% inorganic, waterproof, and washable. Once installed, it creates a vapor barrier on your basement walls that will hold back water and humidity. It can be tucked into your perimeter drain system, directing water seepage into your perimeter drain.
ThermalDry Radiant Heat Barrier Walls
ThermalDry does double-duty on your basement walls by holding back water vapor and creating a radiant heat barrier for optimal energy efficiency. Up to 97% of the heat that reaches this surface will be reflected back into your home.
This is a great way to prepare your basement finishing, for a drier, energy efficient space.
CleanSpace Wall Vapor Barrier
If your home has foundation walls made from stone, wavy walls, dirt walls, or irregular walls, traditional basement wall paneling may not be appropriate
In these cases, we recommend our CleanSpace Wall product. This flexible, pliable wall covering creates a vapor barrier on your walls, while its bright white appearance keeps them looking great. A durable design ensures a long life (with a 25-year written warranty), while an UltraFresh anti-mold additive discourages microbial growth.
Basement To Beautiful Prefinished Wall Insulation Panels
This unique insulated paneling system is a perfect way to prepare your basement walls for your own custom paneling. Designed with advanced SilverGlo insulation that's 24% more energy efficient than competitive foam paneling, it gives your walls an industry-leading R-13 insulation rating.
Along with insulating your basement walls, it also creates a vapor barrier on the walls, holding back water vapor from the concrete. It's also designed with built-in metal studs, eliminating any need for additional work. The metal from the studs is separated from your concrete walls by 2" of foam insulation, eliminating "cold spots" on the finished walls.
EverLast Wall Restoration
If your basement was finished when flooding occurred, chances are your finished walls experienced heavy water damage. Drywall, studs, and fiberglass can soak up moisture like a sponge, leading to potentially serious mold damage.
We can repair your damaged finished walls with our EverLast Wall Restoration System. We restore your damaged walls by installing this wall product up to 32" height along your floor. The wall panels will not be damaged by water or support the growth of mold, rot, and moisture. And its attractive design an railing make for a classy appearance for decades to come!