Basement Waterproofing Problem Signs
Whether it finds its way in from plumbing leaks, windows or wall cracks, water in your basement means trouble.
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White chalky powder on basement walls means there is a source of water somewhere nearby. Learn more about this substance, what it means for your basement and home, and how you can fix the underlying problem.
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Worried that mold might grow in your basement? Look for these signs and, with the help of professionals, prevent and remediate a moldy basement.
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Even the newest of homes can fall victim to water seepage. Learn more about what causes and signs to look for, as well as the different waterproofing solutions that can help you protect your belongings and foundation.
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Dampness and water intrusion can lead to many issues in your basement and home. Learn more about problem signs to look for and how to best fix these issues.
Many homes in North Carolina and other areas in the southern United States are built without basements for a variety of reasons including inhospitable soil. However, if you do have a basement that is below grade or at least partially underground, it’s important to be aware of its condition. Have you noticed any water damage or musty odors in your basement? Do you see signs of leaking, cracking walls? These problems are common as well as dangerous for your home and your family. Having a reliable waterproofing system in place will help protect and restore your home’s health and safety.
The Causes of a Wet Basement
There are several reasons why you’ve got a wet basement on your hands, but one main culprit has to do with the ground your home was built on.
Crawl spaces and basements are well known for being damp, dank spaces. Even when your home has no groundwater flooding issues and has perfect plumbing, the spaces can be plagued by moisture issues. One major culprit for humidity in your home is a phenomenon called the “stack effect“.
The stack effect refers to the process in which hot air leaves the home through your attic and upper levels. As it does, a vacuum is created below, and new air is pulled upwards through the basement, crawl space, and lower levels.
A large hole had to be dug in the ground to make room for your house. After the foundation floor and walls were built, some of the excavated soil was replaced or “backfilled” to fill the gap between the walls and the existing earth. This soil is loose, fluffy, not as dense or tightly packed as undisturbed soil, and it tends to absorb more water. When water collects in the soil immediately surrounding the house, it creates a “clay bowl” and puts pressure on the walls, which leads to cracks and leaking water.
When the soil around your foundation becomes wet, it expands and puts pressure on the walls. This constant force exerted on the walls is known as hydrostatic pressure. When this force becomes more than the walls can handle, they will begin to crack and bow inwards. This affects the structural integrity of the walls. Water also will then work its way through any opening available, including cracks and openings around pipes or windows.
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, and North Carolina experiences its share of wild weather. Heavy rainstorms can dump a lot of water on the ground, and hurricanes bring floodwaters with nowhere to go. This water can then find its way inside through saturated soil and wall cracks.
A footing drain was installed outside the foundation walls of your home during its construction to help keep water away. But this drain can easily clog and allow water to collect by the walls. Preventing this is difficult, and so is cleaning and flushing the drains.
Clogged or above-ground exterior drainage pipes could allow water to puddle next to the home and find its way inside any cracks in the walls. It’s a good idea to place these lines in the ground and direct them far away from your house to prevent draining water from leaking inside. But you also need to make sure these lines are doing their job. If they crack, collapse, or clog, you could end up with water in your basement.
Sump pumps are needed to keep water out of the basement. Many systems installed in the floor have metal basins, lids that rest on top of the basin, and openings for discharge pipes. Some may not have lids at all. These are ineffective systems that will only cause more problems. Metal basins can easily rust and corrode, and partial or missing lids allow water to evaporate back into or flood the basement. This leads to unpleasant odors, moisture and other water issues that defeat the purpose of the sump pump in the first place. Debris and other items also can easily fall into the system and damage the pump if the sump pit is not completely covered.
Easy to deal with and informed us of everything they were doing. Workers were very considerate of my property, even though it caused them to have to work harder. With that in mind, I knew that they weren’t afraid of work and the job would be done…View review Read Richard Staley's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Everyone we worked with was great, from Tim our salesperson to Ken, Gerry and James P..They were courteous, timely and professional. Seems to be a very well run business!View review Read Theron Willis's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Dave gave a clear estimate and Jacob, Mathias and Noah were professional and did good work.View review Read Samuel Di Lella's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
The team at Tarheel was amazing – they were incredibly responsive, and foreman Shane English and Evan Boswell went the extra mile every day of the job (even when Hurricane Ian threatened to derail the timeline). Super happy with the quality of the…View review Read James Dyer's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
We called Tarheel out to provide a quote to what we thought was a groundwater issue in our basement. John Reavis came out and did a thorough evaluation and determined that was not the case. Since the problem ended up being a surface issue John was…View review Read Felicia Gaskin's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Roswin and Justin did a great job. They went the extra mile to make sure the job was done right.View review Read Adam Kracht's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Edward, Taylor and Malik were very professional, on time and did a great job explaining everything that was done in basement. As someone who doesn’t know much about sump pumps, I appreciated that Edward took the time to explain everything to me…View review Read Veronica Munguia's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Phenomenal experience from start to finish. Highly recommend. From 1st consolation to completion of foundation project work, I could not be more pleased. On time, demonstrated strong work ethics, made sure at the end of each day they tidied up areas…View review Read Pam S's review for THBS_Winston-Salem
Great service and explained in detail what was wrong and how the problem was fixed. Thanks JR, David P. And Jacob C!View review Read Michael's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
I had a water issue in my basement. It appeared to be an issue with water seeping in. Jamie from Tarheel did a full inspection. He discovered it was actually a plumbing issue. Even after he knew it wasn’t an issue that he would be fixing, he…View review Read Julie Miller's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Ken(forman)’Gerry and Jason P worked the entire time and had my basement in top shop in about three days. They worked deligently and kept my wife and I updated on the entire process. I would recommend this oufit for any repairs that need to be made…View review Read Preston Halstead's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
They also replaced insulation (pulled original) and put in new R19 and installed a dehumidifier. Josiah and Ryan Wright worked together and finished what was originally scheduled as a two-day job in one day. They even wiped down the vinyl liner!…View review Read Penelope Kellar's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Jay Yount was very pleasant and informative he explained everything in a professional and understanding way it was a pleasure working with JayView review Read Living And Loving Life's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Roswin S & Justin H Worked me in on short notice and completed the job as requested. Very friendly and professional crew. Would highly recommend this company. Thanks to Ed O for the prompt appraisal and follow up after the job was completed.View review Read Kenneth Lane's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Roswin and Justin were very pleasant and professional. The job was completed very timely and the area was left very clean. They took care to make sure our walkway was repaired properly. We would definitely recommend this company to others.View review Read Sylvia Odom's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Clemente and Ray did a fantastic job with our crawlspace work. They were courteous, communicated well and answered all of our questions. Overall our experience with Tar Heel Basement Systems was excellent.View review Read Greg Hauser's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Went above and beyond. Found problems with AC ducts, water pipes, and a loose dryer vent while moisture-proofing my crawlspace. They addressed all these issues. The crew was motivated and professional. I would recommend to anyone.View review Read David Turner's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Shane English the Forman- was professional throughout the entire process. Luke was also a great help. Initially there was some minor issues with the encapsulation and a second visit was needed. Shane English and a Shawn M came back out and got…View review Read Phil Bender's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Nathan Cranfill was a joy to speak with. He walked us through every step of what kind of work out home foundation would need along with making sure to answer any and all questions we had. He went above and beyond to make sure we were happy, informed…View review Read Robert Funk (tai)'s review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
We completed a full encapsulation of our crawl space for a townhome we recently purchased. Easy estimate process and install was great. Shane English and Evan Boswell (installers) were great communicators, got the job done as expected and great…View review Read Robert Coyle's review for Tar Heel Basement Systems
Basement Waterproofing Solutions
Basement leaks can be a challenge to remedy, but you can feel confident in knowing these and other basement problems will be properly handled by the best in the business. Our comprehensive waterproofing system – including interior drainage, a sump pump, a vapor barrier, and a dehumidifier – can handle the toughest leaks and permanently waterproof your home.
Tar Heel Basement Systems
A sump pump is the heart of your waterproofing system, and it's important to have a reliable system to keep your home dry. Learn more about the family of SafeDri™ sump pumps available for your home.
Tar Heel Basement Systems
Basement dehumidifiers help control moisture and humidity in your home, improve overall air quality, reduce odors, and help prevent mold and mildew growth.
Tar Heel Basement Systems
French drain systems work to keep your basement dry by intercepting leaking water and redirecting it to a sump pump system. Learn more about these waterproofing options for your basement.
Tar Heel Basement Systems
Waterproofing your basement also means keeping your walls free of water and moisture. Learn more about what solutions can keep your basement walls dry.
Is Basement Waterproofing the Right Solution for me?
Basements can be damp, dark, smelly, and saturated with water. Many homeowners avoid their basements and think of them as “out of sight and out of mind” for those reasons. But this can put your health and your family’s well-being in danger.
Wet basements are the perfect homes for pests, mold, and musty odors, which can be detrimental to anyone in the house with asthma, allergies, and other breathing problems. Why put your loved ones’ safety at risk and waste a perfectly good space? Properly waterproofed basements can be used for secure storage, a movie or game room, extra living space, and much more.
Before moving in the comfy couches, big TVs, or storage bins, make sure these items will not sustain water damage or other ill fates by protecting the area with quality waterproofing solutions. The products we offer at Tar Heel Basement Systems include an interior drainage system to intercept any leaking water from the walls and floor, a sump pump to remove this water from the basement, a vapor barrier to prevent moisture and vapor intrusion from the walls, and a dehumidifier to control humidity. All these solutions work together to keep your home safe and dry, and everything can be customized to meet your specific waterproofing needs.
We’ve saved the best concern for last. This is one of the most commonly asked questions we hear from homeowners. And rightly so. Your home is the most significant investment you’ll ever make, and you want to be sure you’re using quality solutions to protect it.
Homeowners can expect to spend an average of $4,000 on basement waterproofing, with different projects ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. And the return on investment from basement waterproofing is estimated to be around 30 percent. But when you think about it, the health and structural and safety benefits, as well as peace of mind you’re investing in, are priceless.
Every home is different, and every project calls for different solutions. That is why we cannot offer you a ballpark estimate over the phone. It’s important for one of our inspectors to physically visit your house to better understand what is going on. We are able to customize solutions specific to your repair needs. Your inspector will take into consideration your repair goals, the severity of damage or problem areas, square footage, and your budget. It’s not just a “one size fits all” fix.
Contacting us for an expert opinion is your best way to go. We will not try to throw bandages on the problems, push you to buy unnecessary products, or provide sub-standard quick fixes.
We install only the very best solutions that are proven to permanently address your wet, leaking basement once and for all. It’s our commitment to you and your family. The products we use are manufactured in the USA and are designed to work together to give your basement complete protection.
Our professional team will work with you every step of the way to design the best basement waterproofing system to perfectly fit your home’s repair needs.
These are the solutions and how they work:
- Interior Drainage System – The best way to waterproof a basement involves interior drainage channels. To collect seeping water from your walls and floor, we’ll place BasementGutter™ in the sub-floor throughout the basement’s perimeter. We also can place grated drainpipes in the floor in front of stairs and walk-out access points and tie these sections into the rest of the BasementGutter™ system. Water that is collected by these specially designed systems is then directed to a sump pump system. We also can use grated drainage
- Sump Pump System – Once the leaking water is collected, it needs somewhere to go other than back onto your floor. Our interior drainage systems discretely direct this water to a reliable sump pump system to be pumped out of the basement and away from the house. We have a variety of SafeDri™ sump pump systems to meet your waterproofing needs – the SafeDri ™ Pro X Premier Sump Pump System, SafeDri ™ Battery Backup System, SafeDri ™ TripleSump ™ Pump System, and SafeDri ™ Pro Crawl Space Sump Pump System.
- Dehumidifier – For a truly safe, dry, and healthy space, you also need to condition the air. Our powerful dehumidifier unit is energy-efficient in cleaning and filtering the air, controlling moisture and humidity, eliminating odors, and reducing potential mold growth. Unlike convention dehumidifiers, our unit is self-draining and can be directed to perimeter drainage or sump pump systems so there are no buckets to have to worry about emptying.
- Frozen Discharge Line Prevention – Water being pumped out of a basement by way of a sump pump system exits through discharge lines. The lines outside the house could potentially freeze or become blocked, and this allows water to flow back into the basement. To prevent this from happening, we can attach the FreezeGuard™ outlet to the exterior sump pump discharge line.
- Crack Repairs – We can seal and repair any wall cracks to prevent water intrusion. Our foundation repair solutions may also be needed for significant cracking and wall movement.
Now are you ready to take back your home and make it a better place for your family to live and grow? As you start to plan for your repairs, you might be eager to run out to your neighborhood home improvement store to gather supplies. You may be very handy and capable of fixing different things around your home, but waterproofing a basement is not something you and a friend can tackle in a weekend. These types of repairs are serious work and are best left to professional contractors.
There’s nothing to stop you from applying something like a sealant or paint to your walls, but these materials are only temporary quick fixes that will not permanently solve your leaking water issue. Sealants and paints will pop and flake, indicating a lingering moisture problem. Water also can find another way in because it follows the path of least resistance.
Instead of wasting money on fast fixes that you’ll only have to spend more time and money reapplying, fix your wet basement the right way the first time around with trusted solutions from a reliable contractor.
We know it can be intimidating working with someone you don’t know, and you’ve probably heard stories from friends and family members who had awful experiences with contractors. So, it’s understandable that you’d feel wary of working with a contractor yourself. But don’t let that totally influence your decision.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you do your homework and are comfortable with who you bring into your home. Ask for reviews; references; proof of insurance, licenses, and other certifications; a written contract; and examples of work that has been completed.
Now that you’ve read about potential problems in your basement and how they got there, aren’t you ready to get rid of them? Why would you want to live in a wet, uncomfortable house and subject your family to harmful conditions? There are so many ways you and your family can benefit from wet basement repair. Here are just a few of the perks:
- Better Health & Quality of Life
Mold loves nothing more than wet, damp, and dark areas like basements. So, if you’ve got any kind of leaking or standing water in your basement, chances are you’ve got mold growing there, too. Half of the air you breathe comes from below-grade areas like basements and crawl spaces. So, if there’s mold in these areas, it’s also circulating in the air throughout the rest of the house and affecting you. This can lead to and worsen health problems like asthma, allergies and respiratory issues. By having a properly waterproofed basement, you are eliminating the chance for mold to thrive and investing in the health and safety of everyone in the home. Having a trusted dehumidifier installed also helps control moisture and humidity, as well as improve overall air quality.
- Enhanced Structural Stability
Leaking water also affects your home’s structural integrity. If you have block foundation walls, water can easily saturate and seep through the porous material and find its way inside through any crack or gap. If water has nowhere to go, it starts building up inside the walls. Coupled with hydrostatic pressure, this results in an unsafe mess. Another issue we’ve run into is wooden floors and supports affected by dry rot. Don’t subject your loved ones to an environment that could cave in at any time. When you have your basement properly waterproofed, you also are ensuring a longer lifetime for your home.
- Improved Energy Efficiency
Below-grade areas like basements are naturally cooler, but any leaking water also can cause more of a temperature drop. This will lead to more running time for your furnace, and higher heating bills. And during warmer, humid days, the air conditioner will be over-worked as you try to keep your house cool. Having reliable waterproofing and dehumidification solutions to protect your home also will protect your wallet by lowering your energy bills.
- Increased Real Estate Value
Many different factors can affect a home’s real estate/resale value, but it’s important for you to be aware of the condition of your home regardless. This includes any issues with water seepage, dampness or standing water in the basement, drainage on the property, and flood hazard. Homeowners in North Carolina who are selling their house are required to complete the State of North Carolina Residential Property and Owners’ Association Disclosure Statement to the best of their ability. Being honest about any known issues when it comes to leaks and waterproofing sets clear expectations regarding the quality and condition of the home. Buyers expect a dry basement.
An unpleasant smell in your basement makes your home less comfortable to live in. That doesn’t mean that your home’s unlivable, though. How can a musty smell in your basement impact the stability of the rest of your home?
Musty Smells and Greater Water Damage
Musty smells aren’t pleasant to deal with, it’s true. They can prematurely age your home and make your entertaining areas less pleasant to spend time in. Mustiness tends to indicate more than just your home’s age. It also serves as an indicator of greater damage throughout your home.
The longer you allow mustiness to reside in your basement, the more likely it is that your basement is going to take on structural damage. That mustiness, as mentioned, is moisture. That moisture can get absorbed into your home’s structural supports, where it can weaken them or otherwise contribute to the hydrostatic pressure in your basement. The longer this kind of damage sits, the worse it gets. If you choose to forgo essential repairs, then you may find yourself several months down the line dealing with a cracking chimney or even a sinking foundation.
Unpleasant Smells and the Value of Your Home
It isn’t impossible to sell a home with basement damage. It’s not even impossible to sell a home with a musty smell. It is, however, much more difficult to do this kind of work. For starters, you’re going to have to list any damage your home’s taken on in your home’s listing. There’s no hiding basement damage, no matter how inconsequential you may think it is.
Not only will word of a damaged basement make your home more difficult to sell, but it will also reduce the overall value of your home. While you can sell a home with persistent musty smells, you’re going to have to convince future buyers to take on the challenge of repairs. To do so, you risk losing up to 30 percent of your home’s market value to what are effectively reparations. If your primary concerns lay with the cost of repairs, it’s important to compare and contrast what you might spend on said repairs versus what you might lose when you eventually go to sell your property.
A sump pump is a kind of drainage system that collects water into a pit and then pumps it out of and away from the foundation. It’s a perfect device for homeowners who have basement flooding problems and need to keep that part of the house as dry as possible. If you already have a sump pump in your basement, you should know that it may not be enough to have just one.
Living in Northern North Carolina means that your property probably sees a lot of water. It would be worth investing in a second or even a third pump for your sump pump in order to keep up with the incredible amounts of water that flows around your foundation. If your sump pump gets overworked because of all the water it has to continuously pump, it will have a shorter lifespan and malfunction sooner than it should. When this happens, your basement will quickly flood, and the structural damages as a result of that failure will cost more than a second pump. All of the sump pumps in our SafeDri™ series can all be installed with a backup battery system that will guarantee a dry basement at all times.
If you’re unsure if you need another pump, simply observe your sump pump during the summer. Summer is the rainiest season in North Carolina, so watching the sump pump when it’s at its most active will give you all the information you need. If the water is flowing into the pit at an excessive rate, you need to invest in another pump. Doing so will ensure that the device functions for years without failure.
Why is Basement Waterproofing Needed?
Basement waterproofing is a necessity in any home built in areas with high humidity and frequent rain. This helps your home stand up to wet weather and protect it from water and vapor intrusion. Here are some common reasons why your home may need a quality waterproofing system.
North Carolina is known for its red clay soil, but it wreaks havoc on homes. Clay is an expansive soil that becomes easily saturated and holds onto water. Since areas like Raleigh and Winston-Salem experience frequent rain year-round, this adds fuel to the fire. Overly saturated soil creates hydrostatic pressure that is exerted on foundation walls and leads to cracks and leaks, and even basement flooding and wall collapse.
Real Estate Value
A wet, moldy basement can impact the sale and overall value of your home. Many buyers in today’s competitive market want turnkey houses free of problems, and a nasty basement can be an instant turnoff. If you don’t want to deal with a water-damaged basement, why would potential buyers? It’s best to have the basement properly waterproofed to protect and even boost your home’s value.
Air Quality Throughout Your Home
Because of the stack effect – the movement of air in your home from bottom to top – about half of the air you are breathing in your house comes from the basement. If your basement has high humidity, musty odors, mold, and pest droppings, all those things are circulating in the air throughout the rest of your home. Not only is this unnerving to think about, but these hazards can be dangerous for anyone in the household, especially those with breathing problems.
Common Basement Waterproofing Tips & Mistakes
In our almost 20 years in the basement waterproofing and foundation repair industry, we have heard and seen it all. But we are committed to educating homeowners just like you, as well as providing exceptional service and trusted waterproofing solutions.
Helpful Basement Waterproofing Tips:
- Invest in a Quality Dehumidifier: Homes in areas like Stokes County and coastal Wilmington are no stranger to humidity. Having a reliable dehumidifier to control moisture and humidity in your basement is essential. Conventional units are not built for larger areas like basements. But at Tar Heel Basement Systems, our energy-efficient, self-draining dehumidifier can stand up to the challenge without breaking the bank or negatively impacting your energy consumption.
- Monitor Exterior Drainage Systems: While the waterproofing system we offer is installed inside your basement, it’s important to keep an eye out for your exterior systems. This includes your gutters and downspouts. If either of these pieces is clogged, damaged, or allows water to collect near your foundation, basement leaking and damage can quickly develop. Make sure you check and clean your gutters and downspouts at least twice a year, and angle downspout extensions and landscaping away from the house.
- Trust Local Waterproofing Experts: Our professional team has years of experience in the industry, and we know exactly what challenges North Carolina basements face and how to fix them. Our specialists will complete a thorough inspection inside and outside your home, recommend the best solutions tailored to your home’s unique repair needs, and treat your home as their own as they install these products to keep your home protected.
Mistakes to Avoid When Waterproofing Your Basement:
- Installing DIY Solutions: There are many areas of your home that can benefit from DIY projects, but your basement is a delicate, tricky area. Many repairs like “waterproof” paints and sealants available at big box stores are only temporary patches and do not address the root of your basement problems.
- Not Investing in a Comprehensive Waterproofing System: While every basement is different with their own requirements, only having one piece of the waterproofing puzzle is not going to keep your home dry. Sump pumps are a great solution for many homes, but they also must be coupled with an interior drainage system to be fully effective. Moisture may still be an issue, so it’s important to have a reliable dehumidifier and even a vapor barrier installed as well.
- Hiring a General Contractor Instead of a Waterproofing Expert: Your home might need various projects to keep it in tip-top shape and hiring a general contractor to complete all the work is an option. However, while general contractors are “jacks of all trades,” they may not be certified professionals who specialize in basement waterproofing. For help with problems like a wet basement and musty odors, it’s important to select local waterproofing experts like our team at Tar Heel Basement Systems who are knowledgeable about everything related to basements.
Find your service area
North Carolina's loamy sandy soil can cause problems for your Wilmington home’s structure. Your home could suffer from foundation settlement, wall cracks, uneven concrete, a leaking basement, or an overly humid crawl space. All these issues impact your home’s structural stability as well as your family’s health and safety.
Northern North Carolina Metro Area
The northern portion of North Carolina has a variety of features including inland forests and lakes, as well as coastal areas. No matter where you live, homes in this area of the state can sustain basement or crawl space flooding, foundation damage, and problems with sinking and uneven concrete. This is largely due to the humid climate and unstable clay soil throughout the area.
Basement or crawl space flooding, serious foundation issues, and sinking concrete are frequent occurrences in the Research Triangle area including Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. These problems can happen for a variety of reasons, but it all boils down to the type of soil underneath and around your home. You need reliable repair solutions to help you combat these issues and protect your home.
Winston-Salem Metro Area
Due to the kind of soil found in cities like High Point and Greensboro, basements and crawl spaces experience frequent problems with flooding that can lead to foundation problems.