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What To Do About Ugly Or Stained Concrete Basement Walls

Water droplets forming on an air vent in a basement.

Ugly basement walls can be caused by mold, peeling waterproof paint, iron bacteria, and by the white, flaky mineral salt known as efflorescence.

Many homeowners contact us with concerns about basement walls that are stained, ugly, or supporting mold growth.

Some homeowners are concerned about the cosmetic issues related to the stains, while other homeowners are concerned that their walls may be part of a larger air quality and health issue in their home.

We Can Solve Your Problem!

At Basement Systems, our contractors have seen every type of basement -- including all the problems associated with mold or other substances on their concrete walls.

Our basement wall products are just what you need to address ugly, leaky basement walls. We have six different options, each one perfectly designed to turn your basement into dry, clean, usable space.

Get a Free Estimate

We'd like to show you how we can upgrade your basement walls and keep them looking great! We have six different wall products that will keep your basement clean, dry, and beautiful all the time!

To schedule your free basement wall estimate, contact us today!

Four Common Reasons For Ugly Basement Walls

In all cases involving ugly basement walls (as well as most other basement problems), moisture is the culprit. Moisture brings minerals in with it as it passes through the walls, depositing them as a white powder on your walls. They can cause waterproof paints to peel off your walls over time, and they aid in the growth of mold and mildew on your walls. Water containing iron bacteria can also leave ugly rust-colored stains on your concrete. surfaces.

Basement walls become ugly and unsightly for four major reasons:

white powder known as efflorescence on basement walls.


Efflorescence is actually a harmless crystallized mineral salt that has formed on your basement walls over time. It will generally look like a white, powdery substance. It's also commonly found on floors. In cases where moisture bubbles up from your basement floor, it may even resemble a white "foam" on your floors.

Efflorescence forms as moisture passes through the porous concrete of your basement walls. As the moisture evaporates into the air, it leaves these minerals behind.

There are products on the market that can be used to eliminate efflorescence, but all you'd really need is some vinegar, a stiff scrub brush, and some rigorous scrubbing.

Waterproof paint with mold growing on the bottom of the walls and peeling in the middle.

Waterproof Paint

Waterproof paints and coatings are used on basement walls to try to hold back moisture. The thinking is that these coatings will seal off the pores to prevent moisture from making its way through the basement walls.

In practice, these systems rarely work the way they're meant to. Within a few months to a couple years, the coatings will begin to blister, peel, and flake off the walls, leading to an ugly and difficult-to-remove mess.

There is no easy way to remove waterproof paint from basement walls. Sandblasting the walls may get most of the paint off, but the surface can still be ruined for any other coating applications.

More about Waterproof Paint

Mold, moisture, efflorescence, and dirt on a basement wall.

Mold Stains

When walls are covered in latex-based paint or are very dirty, they can begin to support mold and mildew growth.

There are manufactured mold removal products that are meant to kill mold and prevent further microbial growth. Your local Basement Systems representative will be able to either recommend or provide these products.

Mold is often highly allergenic, and in extreme cases can even be toxic. Before cleaning any mold off your basement walls, be sure to check with your local Basement Systems dealer to see if this mold presents a threat to your health.

More about Basement Mold

Bright orange and red stains all over the concrete of this basement wall.

Iron Ochre Bacteria Stains

Iron bacteria survives by oxidizing dissolved minerals from water -- particularly ferrous iron and manganese.

This bacteria builds up quickly in your water, creating a gelatinous slime (known as iron ochre) that's rusty in color. This slime smells terrible, fouls the taste of water, and will stain anything it touches, including laundry, tubs, faucets, and any concrete it comes in contact with.

Special chemicals can remove stains from iron ochre, but if the surfaces continue to be in contact with iron-bacteria-infested water, the stains will quickly return.

More about Iron Ochre Bacteria

Installation of insulated wall paneling on a concrete basement wall.

You don't need to finish your basement for great-looking basement walls!

Several of our panels are designed for upgrading unfinished walls to protect them from water seepage, as well as water vapor passing through the porous concrete of the foundation.

We also offer several options that will insulate your walls and prepare your basement for finishing.

Waterproof Wall Panels

If your basement walls are ugly or stained, consider this as an opportunity to upgrade your walls with a wall paneling system. This will permanently solve your ugly wall problem while adding value to your home.

At Basement Systems, we offer six different basement wall products, answering every need a homeowner would have for their basement walls. Our panels include products that create a vapor barrier on your walls, insulate your walls, and improve the appearance of your walls. We can also repair drywall damaged by basement flooding.

Our Basement Wall Products:

(Click for more information.)

Many Basement Systems dealers also finished basements, once your basement has been waterproofed and dried.

What About Ugly Basement Floors?

We have solutions for those too! Just like basement walls, basement floors can show signs of mold and efflorescence buildup. And, just like basement walls, waterproof paint on your floor will come off, leaving an ugly mess.

We have nine different options available for homeowners looking to upgrade their basement floors. Our products include sub floor matting, faux wood flooring, and finished floor tiles in carpeted, tiled, and parquet designs.

Our flooring is installed quickly and efficiently, does not grout or adhere to the floors, and is ready to be used as soon as the installation is complete!

More about our Basement Floor Products

Upgrade Your Basement Into A Stylish New Space!

Whether your basement is being used as storage space, or you're thinking of adding a new floor of living space to your home, you'll appreciate it much more when it's clean, dry, and attractive to look at. And should you decide to sell your home someday, prospective buyers will also see the value of this space!

We'd like to meet with you to show you our product line and explain how we can help you dry your basement and make it look its best! To schedule your free basement upgrade estimate without local dealer in Canada or the United States, call or e-mail us today!

ZenWall™ Insulated Wall Panels

ZenWall™ is designed with a foil backing, vinyl facing, and encapsulated fiberglass core. When installed on your basement walls, it creates a vapor barrier on your walls, holding back moisture penetration into your home.

Additionally, the fiberglass insulation insulates your walls, while the reflective backing works as a radiant heat barrier, conserving even more energy.

ZenWall™ Insulated Wall Panels are the best way to make an unfinished section of a basement look its best. Their stylish design adds stylish beauty to your walls that will never go out of style, while the washable surface ensures long-lasting beauty.

sinking outdoor concrete steps showing cracking and soil washout in

BrightWall® Waterproof Wall Panels

BrightWall® panels are designed in rigid white plastic sheets that attach to your basement wall mechanically, with plastic fasteners. The bright white color of the panels makes optimal use of available lighting, while its washable surface remains clean-looking and cheery for decades to come.

These panels are waterproof, and designed to tuck into your perimeter waterproof system. When water leaks from your basement walls, it's collected in the drain and sent to your sump pump system. Once installed, it creates a vapor barrier on your walls that holds back water vapor from the concrete, assuring a drier, healthier basement environment.

sinking outdoor concrete steps showing cracking and soil washout in

ThermalDry® Radiant Heat Barrier Walls

When installed on basement walls, ThermalDry® does double duty for your home. It will hold back water vapor from entering your basement, while creating a radiant heat vapor barrier on the walls for added energy efficiency.

When tucked into your perimeter drain, it directs flooding water to your sump pump system, keeping it away from your home and finished walls. Up to 97% of the heat that reaches this surface will be reflected back into your home.

ThermalDry® is most commonly used on walls that are about to be finished, creating a dry, energy efficient surface that will preserve your custom wall paneling system over it.

sinking outdoor concrete steps showing cracking and soil washout in

CleanSpace® Wall Vapor Barrier

If your home has irregular walls, wavy walls, or walls that are made of dirt or stone, this is the product for you.

CleanSpace® wall is a flexible, pliable sheet of cord-reinforced plastic that works to cover irregular surfaces on both walls and floors. Its tough, durable design includes a 25-year warranty against rips and tears, while its UltraFresh additive helps to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and other microbial growth.

Once installed on your basement walls, it serves as a vapor barrier, keeping moisture and water from entering your basement. Like our other wall products, it can be tucked into a perimeter drain system to direct water to a sump pump system.

sinking outdoor concrete steps showing cracking and soil washout in

Basement To Beautiful™ Prefinished Insulated Walls

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.

sinking outdoor concrete steps showing cracking and soil washout in

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!

sinking outdoor concrete steps showing cracking and soil washout in

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Quality, Innovation, Patents, Awards

Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.