Basement Wall Leaking? Here's How to Fix It
Basement Wall Leaking? Here's How to Fix It

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The winters in Indianapolis, IN, can be rainy or snowy or both. Unfortunately, that increased level of precipitation can wreak havoc on residents’ basements. Regardless of their age, houses that have not been waterproofed may fall victim to standing water if exposed to a substantial amount of rain. While the indoor pool may be exciting for your pets or even your kids, it’s not going to be exciting for you.

Standing water in a home can result in structural damage, not to mention damage to your stored belongings. If you leave the water or dampness for too long, you may even have to deal with mold.

What, then, can you do to keep your home from falling victim to leaks?

There are temporary and permanent solutions to a leaking basement. If you notice your walls are leaking, consider the following, as it’ll make your life as a homeowner infinitely simpler.

Identifying a Damp Wall (and Wetter Basement)

You may think identifying a leaking wall in your basement would be simple. In many cases, it is! If you notice water pooling near a particular wall, you can reasonably assume that is the wall that’s letting water in. However, there are other signs of an internal leak you should keep an eye out for. These signs include:

  • Cooler temperatures – An excess of water in the air lowers the temperature of your basement, even when the weather outside is already cold. If you notice your basement feels unusually cool, you may want to explore the area for a leak.
  • Increased humidity – Similarly, an increased amount of water in the air will result in higher basement humidity. You can use a hygrometer to test the humidity of your basement. Alternatively, test for yourself whether or not the air in your basement feels heavy or damp. Both are a sign of increased humidity.
  • Damaged belongings – One of the clearest signs of a basement leak is damaged belongings. Is the fabric on your basement couch turning up? Have your paper documents been damaged? If so, you have a leak on your hands – one that you’ll need to attend to ASAP.
  • Fogging windows – While not every basement has windows, yours may have ones that peak up into Indianapolis’ rolling cityscape. If you do, and you want to keep a close eye out for water leaks, check to see if your windows are fogging. Water, as it evaporates, will gather on the glass, making it easier to determine whether or not your basement is attracting an unusual amount of precipitation.
  • Warping door frames – The wood your door frames are made of responds poorly to increased basement humidity. If you’re having a hard time getting your basement doors open, they may have been impacted by a water leak.
  • Mold – Finally, standing water on your walls or floors serves as an excellent incubator for mold. If you’re noticing large growths, you definitely have a leak you’ll need to attend to.

Eliminating Wall Leaks

Luckily, there are a few different ways you can clean up the water in your basement while also preventing it from getting back inside. These solutions divide themselves into two categories: internal waterproofing and external waterproofing.

If you’re looking to solve your wall leakage, both of these pathways will help you achieve your goals. However, it’s up to you to choose which one suits you best.

Examples of internal waterproofing include:

  • Dehumidifiers: While dehumidifiers are a temporary solution, they will remove the water from your walls ASAP. You’ll then be able to remove the water from your home manually.
  • Drainage Mats: Drainage mats, while also temporary forms of waterproofing, are quick and easy solutions to your leaking-wall problem. Spread these mats over your walls to collect the incoming water, and you’ll be able to keep your belongings safe during another rainstorm.
  • French Drains: For a more comprehensive – but still temporary – solution, consider installing a French drain into your basement. These drains pump the water out of your home like a sump pump, though the two pumps are not the same thing.

If you want a more extensive internal waterproofing, you can discuss the process with your contractor. Typically, the process will require the following steps:

  1. Excavate the internal foundation of your home.
  2. Check for foundational cracks.
  3. Apply sealant.
  4. Install a drainage mat.
  5. Install a French drain and/or sump pump, if applicable.

Exterior waterproofing often requires dig-and-seal processes, which require you to dig out the exterior foundation of your home to apply dampproofing treatments. This waterproofing technique, like many, is temporary, but it will help you rid your basement of some of the water it may be taking in.

It is much simpler to externally waterproof new homes than it is to waterproof pre-existing homes. This does not mean, though, that the process is impossible. If you do opt to waterproof your home from the outside, you’ll be able to enjoy at least ten years of leak-free living.

Another method of exterior waterproofing involves directing water away from the foundation. Check to make sure any downspout lines are pitched away from the home, and that the lines are free of debris. Contractors also can place downspout lines and exterior sump pump drainage lines in the ground and direct them to drain away from the structure.

Immediate Fixes Versus Waiting

You may not consider leaking walls to be that big of an issue when it comes to the care and keeping of your home. This, however, is not the case, especially in Indianapolis, IN. If you leave leaking walls unattended to in your home, you could face:

  • Long-term damage to fabrics, leathers, papers and wood belongings
  • Mold growths that threaten the health of your family
  • Foundational or wall cracks
  • Damaged electrical circuits

Don’t wait to call a professional out to your home if you think your walls are leaking. The sooner you implement waterproofing solutions to your basement, the better!