Basements are built partially or entirely underground, which means they are naturally prone to water and moisture problems. Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, a living space or storage space, leaks can happen, and the resulting water damage can be severe and costly.

Anyone who has ever dealt with water damage knows how damaging, expensive, and stressful it is. If you've noticed some common signs of basement moisture, consult with a basement waterproofing professional straight away. If you do have a basement water problem, then you should know what causes basement leaks.


A leak in any part of the house is cause for concern, but basements are especially prone to them, with water causing lasting damage and costly repairs. If you're unsure whether you have a basement leak, look for common signs of moisture.

  • Mold is a clear indicator of a moisture problem. Any mold growth on the walls, floor, or ceiling of the basement warrants WHAT CAUSES BASEMENT LEAKSfurther investigation as it typically signals a leak in that area.
  • Puddles, no matter how small, can cause damage and mold growth if left unattended. If you're not sure where the pool came from, it could be a hidden leak.
  • Swollen and discolored baseboards in a finished basement indicate water behind the drywall.
  • Condensation on the walls happens often but doesn't belong.
  • Odors, like a musty or mildewy smell, are frequently caused by high humidity.


There are numerous ways for water to get into your basement. It's hard to know why your basement is leaking without a professional consultation but finding and fixing your leak is crucial to preventing serious water damage.

Floods and puddles alike are detrimental to the indoor environment. Water damage is the 2nd most common insurance claim in the U.S., causing millions of dollars in damage every year. It's important to take every step possible to prevent water damage to your basement and your home and knowing what causes basement leaks will help you make the first step in saving your house.

WHAT CAUSES BASEMENT LEAKSSome leaks come in from the top of the basement wall, where the foundation begins when the ground is almost level with the wall or slopes into the wall. Improper landscaping and broken or clogged gutters keep water at the base of your house rather than running away from it. If water is pooling at the top of the basement wall, chances are good it will find a way through and into the space below.

If your basement has window wells, keep a constant eye on them. Window wells are great for looks and light, but they can create a leak situation if your land lacks adequate drainage. It's important to keep your gutters clean and correct any problems in your landscaping to prevent water from leaking through your window wells.

Cracks in the floor or walls are natural entry points for water. They are also dangerous in other ways, affecting the structural integrity of your home. Many cracks are created by pressure differences in your basement and the soil surrounding it. Cracks need to be fixed as soon as they form. They will never get better on their own, and the longer they remain, the larger they grow, and the costlier the repairs.

Sewer pipes can have large, noticeable leaks, or small, leaks. The hidden leaks are dangerous, causing considerable damage that can remain hidden for long stretches of time. You'll notice a hidden long-term leak by the staining on the ceiling or wall.

A clogged floor drain can cause backups of water in the basement. Check the floor drain regularly to ensure it's free of debris.

Sump pumps are fantastic ways to waterproof your basement. They are designed to collect water that enters the room and pump it away from the building. But if your sump pump fails in the middle of a torrential downpour, you could be looking at significant water damage. You should always have an emergency backup power source for your sump pump.

Damp and Smelly Basement - Basement Waterproofing solutions


If you have classic signs of moisture in your basement, and you're looking for a way to resolve the issue, schedule an appointment with a professional basement waterproofing company. A technician will examine your basement, diagnose the source of the leak, and write a plan and estimate to fix it.

Solutions can include installation of a sump pump, installation of a dehumidifier, sealing of cracks and gaps, and others. Remember, water wants to get into your basement, so if there is a way in, water will find it.

More info? For more information about protecting your house from water damage, check out our other post:

Call 877-957-5670 to schedule an appointment with an AdvantaClean basement waterproofing specialist today!