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A Complete Leaky Basement Guide: Causes, Effects, & Fixes

Few things can strike fear into homeowners’ hearts like a leaky basement.

If your basement is leaking, it won’t take long to cause serious damage, covering the floor and encouraging mold growth.

These are all health and safety hazards that affect your entire home.

So, why do you have a leaky basement in the first place? What can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? We’ll answer these questions and more in this complete guide.

But here’s the key takeaway: while leaky basements are common, you can prevent them and protect your home with help from local, trusted basement waterproofing experts like us.

5 Reasons Why You Have a Leaky Basement

Your leaky basement could be caused by various (interrelated) factors, including:

rainwater pooling around downspout

1. Excessive Precipitation

Heavy rain and snowmelt can oversaturate the soil. This leads to hydrostatic pressure buildup which forces water through basement walls and floors.

a flooded yard can result in a leaky basement

2. Soil Type

The type of soil under and around your home contributes to basement leaks. Clay soil, common throughout Pennsylvania, can quickly expands with water, multiplying hydrostatic pressure.

3. Freeze-Thaw Cycles

The cycle of freezing and thawing of water that seeps into cracks can cause damage to foundations and create pathways for water to enter.

4. The Clay Bowl Effect

The clay bowl effect is a result of how your home was built.

A hole larger than your basement is dug in the ground. After the foundation is built, the excavated soil is used to fill the hole.

However, this backfill soil is never as tightly compacted as the original undisturbed soil. This leads to increased water absorption after precipitation.

The saturated backfill soil forms a “clay bowl” around the home. This creates an artificial water table next to the basement.

5. Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure results from all the above factors. It happens when water seeps into the ground surrounding the foundation and gradually accumulates.

As this pressure builds, water seeks entry into the basement through porous concrete, block walls, cracks, and wall joints. Fluctuations in hydrostatic pressure cause movement.

When the pressure decreases, and water dries out, the house may settle. This potentially creates lateral pressure and cracks, which can weaken walls and allow water to leak inside.

How a Leaky Basement Affects Your Home

A wet basement can lead to various dangerous and costly problems, including:

Promptly addressing basement leaks is crucial to prevent these issues from arising or escalating further.

The Best Way to Repair Your Leaking Basement

Fixing your wet basement doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right professional help, you can gain the dry, healthy basement and peace of mind you deserve.

Exterior Drainage and Grading

Two important tasks to kick-start the process include addressing exterior issues.

You can work with gutter professionals to ensure your gutters and downspouts function properly and are free of clogs and damage.

Landscapers can ensure your yard has a positive grade. This means it slopes down and away from your foundation. This also directs rainwater and downspout drainage away from your house.

Interior Basement Waterproofing

While measures outside your home are a good start, protecting your home from the inside is a must. That’s how Baker’s Waterproofing approaches basement waterproofing projects.

Here’s how it works:

installing basement waterproofing solutions
  • Interior drains placed in the basement floor catch leaking water.
  • Water from the interior drains flows into a sump pump.
  • The sump pump pumps the water out of the basement and away from the home.
  • A special attachment on the exterior sump pump discharge line prevents frozen pipes and basement flooding.
  • A wall vapor barrier prevents further moisture intrusion.
  • A dehumidifier controls indoor humidity levels.

These systems are designed to work together, creating the comprehensive solution and complete protection your basement deserves.

Fix Your Leaky Basement with Baker’s Waterproofing!

At Baker’s Waterproofing, we provide proven solutions to fix any basement leak, regardless of its source. Our team of experts will conduct a comprehensive inspection of your basement and recommend the best solution tailored to your specific needs and budget.

Don’t allow a damp basement to compromise your home’s integrity or jeopardize your family’s well-being. Schedule a free inspection today to learn how we can resolve your basement moisture issues for good.


Water can enter your basement through cracks in the walls or floor, leaking joints, porous concrete, plumbing leaks, or appliance leaks. Improper landscaping or gutters can also cause water to pool around your foundation. Contact Baker’s Waterproofing for a free inspection to identify the source of your leaks and recommend repairs. 

Any amount of water in your basement, whether it’s a few inches, a puddle, or a damp wall, is a bad sign. Leaking water has many negative effects, from mold growth and health issues to damaged belongings and foundation deterioration. 

The cost of basement waterproofing varies depending on the size of your basement, the extent of the work required, and the specific solutions needed. Baker’s Waterproofing will provide you with a detailed estimate for customized solutions during your free inspection.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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