Basement Waterproofing FAQ's

Many homeowners have questions when it comes to basements, mold, health risks, water in basements and waterproofing.

Click on the question and find your answer below:

Why should I care about basement waterproofing?

A wet basement might seem like a small problem, but it can lead to much bigger ones. A leaking basement, or a basement that generates a lot of moisture, can attract toxic black mold or cause structural damage to your home’s foundation. A leaky basement also runs the risk of soaking any belongings you store there, increasing the risk of black mold. Basement waterproofing can stabilize your home’s property value and provide great peace of mind. Visit our basement waterproofing page for more information.

How long can I postpone waterproofing my basement?

First of all, postponing waterproofing your basement can cause mold to grow and spread that may cause health problems for you and your family. Postponing basement waterproofing can cause severe damage to your home that may amount to much more than the cost of your basement waterproofing job. This also can be very costly by the way of basement and foundation structural repairs.

Should I have my basement waterproofed before we remodel or finish our basement?

At a minimum, you should have your basement checked for signs of basement leaks, foundation leaks or any water leaks at all. ; Waterproofing your basement before remodeling or finishing a basement could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. Basement remodeling or refinishing jobs can cost up to $30,000 or more. To spend that kind of money and have it ruined happens too often because many homeowners ignore or are unaware of potential water problems while finishing their basement. Countless times, recreation rooms, dens and bedrooms have been ruined due to basement dampness or wet basements. Warped paneling, mildewed furniture, lifted floor tile or ruined carpeting are all the unfortunate results of a wet basement. Dampness also promotes the growth of mildew and vermin, which can lead to serious health concerns for the family. It can also draw termites, whose entrance into a home is facilitated by foundation cracks. A wet basement can reduce the value of a home by as much as 25 percent. A waterproofed and refinished or remodeled basement can increase the value of your home by up to 25%. You do the math. The risk is too high not to have your basement inspected for water problems.

How effective are basement sealants?

In most situations, basement waterproofing sealants are just band-aids, and will be unable to stop actual groundwater leaking into the basement. Most repairs require some type of drain tile system to be installed.

Is basement water leaking a common problem?

An estimated 90% of all homes with cinder or cement block basement walls will leak in first 25 years. If you have a soggy basement, you're not alone. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates 60 percent of U.S. homes have wet basements, and 38 percent run the risk of basement mold.

What are some warning signs that show I need basement waterproofing?

Leaking basements can be diagnosed from a few different indicators, like pools of water on the floor or water trickling down the walls. But there are several other ways water damage can manifest itself:

  • Water puddles after heavy rains
  • Mold or mildew
  • Musty odors
  • Damp spots on the walls or floor
  • A white, chalky substance on the walls
  • Cracking walls or floor cracks
  • Peeling paint or bubbling wallpaper
  • Rust on appliances or other metal objects
  • Dry rot
  • Warped paneling or wood
What causes a leaking basement and why?

Water can seep into your basement through cracks in the walls or floor, but there are plenty of other places it can break through. Look for weak spots around your basement, such as mortar joints (spaces between bricks or concrete blocks) tie rods that reinforce masonry, the junctures where the walls meet the floor, the top of your home’s foundation, or window wells. To understand why this basement leakage occurs, think of the hole that was dug when your home was constructed, as a bowl. With rainfall “this bowl” fills with water searching for weak areas in your basement walls to enter. The most common cause of serious problems is rainwater leaking through the basement floor or below ground level walls. In the mildest cases the water will slowly seep through porous walls and can be difficult to detect. In an extreme case, the water enters through visible holes and cracks and accumulates in deep puddles on the floor. Unfortunately, it is the water you cannot see that causes the most serious of leaking basement foundations.

What may be contributing to my mold and/or basement water problem?

Usually, wet basements occur in homes that lie in low-level water table areas or at the bottoms of slopes or hills, but the everyday shifting or settling of your home may also cause leakage. Other potential causes may be improperly designed drainage systems or poorly-mixed foundation concrete. New home additions or possibly swimming pools (whether in your yard or a neighbor’s) may also cause problems.

What does it cost to have my basement waterproofed?

It depends on the water problem, if mold needs to be removed, the size of your house, what work needs to be done, and which method you choose to correct the basement waterproofing problem. To assist you in this stressful time, we offer our inspections and estimates free of charge. This way, you can find out the information you need to know to take care of and protect your home.

Why did our basement start leaking 5 years after we built our house?

Even new homes over a short amount of time can leak. ; Basement and foundation walls settle and crack the protective coating that was applied during construction to help stop water leakage. Even homes that were built to be waterproofed can begin to leak without notice after a short amount of time. ; Also, the concrete might have been mixed improperly that made up your foundation walls.

What is the white chalky substance on our basement walls?

The substance is called Efflorescence. The chalky substance you are seeing is a result of a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. The water that is inside of your foundation wall will, over time, pull the lime cement out of the wall, leaving nothing to hold it together.

I have brown stains on my walls, what is this?

The brown stains are an indicator of Acid damage. The clay outside your home is very acidic, and when the water leaks into your basement it draws that acidity with it. Your walls act as a filter, holding this acid back and allowing the “clean” water into your basement. Over the years Acid damage can lead to lower wall deterioration, thus the need for basement waterproofing.

What should I do if I think I have water in my basement?

Call Grand Rapids Basement Waterproofing today so we can schedule a free basement waterproofing inspection and give you a free estimate based on the condition of your foundation and basement. ; The longer you wait could increase the amount of money you spend and the health risks to you and your family.

How do I get started?

If you have called us for your free basement inspection and report on the condition of your foundation, you have already taken the first step. A basement waterproofing expert at Grand Rapids Basement Waterproofing will give you a detailed analysis of the situation. ; If a water problem exists, our waterproofing contractor will provide you with a complete detailed estimate of the repairs that need to be done and give you options for a complete waterproofing solution.

How long does it take to install the average basement waterproofing system?

The actual time depends on what we find once the basement floor is opened and the condition of the lower wall area is determined. Since every basement is different, every basement waterproofing solution will be different and thus completion times will vary. ; The square footage of a basement can also way into the time frame. Our waterproofing consultant will provide an estimated time of completion during their free waterproofing analysis. ; The typical time frame for a basement waterproofing job is anywhere between 2 – 4 days, depending on the basement.

I live on a hill, why do I still have a problem?

Believe it or not, the surrounding grade is only one of the problems that might create water seepage. It could just as easily be from cracks in the outside wall, a high water table, malfunctioning or non-existent drain tiles, an underground spring, or a host of other causes. Don't get me wrong, living high on a hill is nice; but it doesn't mean that you won't ever have a water problem in your basement with water.

How concerned should I be about mold in my basement?

Be extremely concerned! ; This could indicate either moisture problems or water problems. At the very least, mold is a potential health hazard that is growing in importance these days, as scientists find out more and more about its effects on humans.

Am I safe from water leaks if I have a crawl space?

You may have better odds, because the crawl space isn't as deep as a basement, but crawlspaces leak, get moldy, and have problems just like basements. Since they hold up the house, just like a basement does, you need to waterproof these crawlspace areas if problems arise.

My basement only leaks in one area, can I just fix that spot?

In rare circumstances, fixing one area will work. ; Most likely water will go to the next most convenient place in your basement to enter. Many homeowners spend a lot of money, trying to fix a small leak around the foundation, and never address the real issue… that it is time for basement waterproofing. ; It is usually more cost effective to find out what is wrong and fix the source of the problem, right away. ; Call us today for a free inspection and consultation.

My basement only shows water after a heavy rain, can I use waterproofing paint to fix it?

No! Waterproofing paints are designed to seal walls, to prevent moisture from passing through. Moisture is totally different than water seepage. You might be able to find a paint that will stop it temporarily, but the water is still there, pushing on the basement wall or basement floor. The water won't go away all by itself. You need to find a way to remove the water from your basement, because it will find another spot to enter.

I have a finished basement with drywall, can I still have waterproofing done?

Usually, this is not a problem. ; We take precautions to not disturb the drywall. Most of the time the carpet will be the only thing that needs to be disturbed. ; However, each case will have to be evaluated individually.

How can I get the water out of my block foundation?

Our expert basement waterproofing contractors will find the best solution for your situation, but typically we will drill holes in the block underneath the floor that allows the water to run into our basement waterproofing, drain tile system.

Can I finish my basement after my basement waterproofing system is installed?

Yes, absolutely! At Grand Rapids Basement Waterproofing, we offer basement finishing or basement remodeling services. Most times when you package both, you can save an estimated 25%!

Can I just clean out my gutters to keep my basement from leaking?

No! Any time you can keep water away from your foundation you will be better off, however, once the water has found its way into a basement, it will continue to come in. Basement leaks do not fix themselves and the problem will continue to increase without proper basement waterproofing.

For any other basement waterproofing, mold, basement leak problems or any other basement water issues and questions, contact us here.