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Basement Waterproofing

If you’ve dealt with water in your basement, you need a basement waterproofing system that will provide an effective, long-lasting solution.

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Does your basement leak during a heavy rain? While it’s commonly believed that normal basements always deal with leaks, excess humidity, and even musty odors, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  

Letting your wet basement sit can lead to mold, poor air quality, and structural issues in the long run. That’s where basement waterproofing comes in; by fortifying your basement to withstand the worst of any weather or soil type, you can confidently move forward with finishing it or using it to store your appliances and other valuables.  

Wet Basement Causes

Your basement can leak and sustain damage for many reasons. Here are some of the common causes of your wet basement.

Basement windows are great for helping bring some natural light into the basement area that is mostly below-grade, and egress window systems are vital for safety and building code requirements. But the exterior window wells that are part of these fixtures can lead to basement problems. If the well is not properly sealed, is clogged with debris or water, or there is a problem with drainage, water can collect inside the well and leak into the basement. This is common, as window wells are exposed to the elements.

A home’s hot water heater is typically located in the basement, as are other appliances like washing machines as well as plumbing pipes. Appliances including your hot water heater and washer can wear out over time and sustain other damage including rust, corrosion, leaks, and failure. Any plumbing pipes running through your basement also can loosen, freeze, crack, break, and leak. All of these instances allow water to collect in your basement to damage stored items and other belongings, as well as lead to the total flooding of the basement.

During the construction of your home, footing drains were placed in the ground next to your foundation footing. These drains are meant to collect water that saturates the soil and keep it away from your foundation. As long as these drains are intact, your home is safe. However, the buried pipes can easily clog with dirt and other debris or be crushed by the weight of the surrounding soil. Water can then leak into your basement at the cove joint.

Likewise, gutters and downspouts often are your home’s first line of defense in intercepting excess water and draining it away from your foundation. But these channels can fill with leaves, twigs, dirt, nests, and other debris. They also can rust, separate, overflow, leak, and not have a proper pitch. Without properly functioning gutters and downspouts, rainwater and snowmelt can collect directly next to your foundation and leak inside your basement.

Having a properly functioning sump pump is an important piece of your basement waterproofing system. But it can fail over time or without proper maintenance. The system could clog, burn out, and give out with age. Without free-flowing pipes, functioning internal components, and power, a non-functioning sump pump is just as bad as not having one. Water that the system is supposed to pump out can leak into or flood your basement and lead to damaged possessions and mold growth.

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Is Basement Waterproofing the Right Solution for Me?

Basement leaks, when disregarded for too long, can spiral into expensive and dangerous structural damages. All our solutions are customized to serve every home’s unique needs. 

Our certified field inspectors are experts in all things basement waterproofing and survey your whole home to find the root of the damage. We believe that honesty is the best policy; that means giving you the full picture of what waterproofing solutions you need, or even telling you that you don’t need any at all.  

It’s easier to set up a free inspection now to rule out basement issues than it is to attempt to pay them off in the future.  


There are a lot of moving parts in a basement waterproofing system, and it’s key that you’re able to install the system properly. That’s why Ohio Basement System offers installation options for all customers. If you’re having issues with basement waterproofing,request a free estimate to free yourself from these problems.

If you choose a low-quality basement waterproofing system over a high-quality one, you can definitely end up with serious negative impacts. Chief among these impacts is a seriously damp basement. If the waterproofing process doesn’t work, you’re more likely to end up with water issues, which can lead to basement flooding in the long term.

Gaining access to the most high-quality basement waterproofing system is a requirement if you want it to work well. After all, if you don’t invest in the process at all, you’re unlikely to get what you want out of it. That’s why you should only trust high-quality, long-lasting products for the entire basement waterproofing process.

A basement waterproofing system consists of three key elements: an interior drainage system, a sump pump, and a dehumidifier. When you put these elements together, you’ll gain complete protection from basement water. It’s important to have the right choice for each element to make sure they work well together.

If you have noticed a white, powdery residue on your basement floor or walls, there are a few different potential issues that could be causing this. 

Efflorescence or Plaster Residue? 

There are some benign reasons as to why you might find pale or white powder on your property’s floors or walls. If you have been doing work in your basement, for example, or you have recently installed plasterboard or drywall, it is very likely that any white or pale power you find is from this process. This is especially the case if it is evenly distributed throughout the room. 

If, however, the powdery substance in your basement is limited to certain areas and is found in a flowering formation, the most likely cause is efflorescence. This powder or crystalline substance is not dust or plaster residue, but rather a mineral residue carried into your property by water. When the water evaporated into the air, it left the salt and minerals behind in this formation. 

The Causes of Efflorescence 

As we said, efflorescence is caused by a combination of water and salts or minerals. The salts and minerals themselves are often found in the water or picked up as the water makes its way through the concrete walls or flooring in your basement. In this way, the water is really the carrier for the substance that causes efflorescence formations. 

The actual source of the water, however, can take many different forms. Unless you live in an area with very hard water, however, efflorescence is more likely to be caused by water that is seeping into your home from outside. As such, issues like foundation damage and seepage are far more likely to be the underlying cause of the white powder in your basement. 

The work professionals can do in a leaking basement can protect the entirety of your home. What kind of work, however, do these professionals actually do? How can they protect your window wells from comparable damage in the future, too? The trick is in comprehensive care: first repairing what damage is already visible and then installing waterproofing measures to protect your home in the future. 

Repairing Window Well Damage 

The first thing professionals will want to do when stepping into your home is to inspect your basement. Basement inspections let professionals understand how water’s getting into your home and what kind of damage it’s already done to your property. After your initial inspection, you can count on professionals to provide you with a personalized and free services quote. This quote will detail what means you may need to restore your basement to its original, watertight standing. 

Once you give the go-ahead, professionals can get to work restoring your basement. In most cases involving window well leakage, professionals will replace your window seals and install a basement window well system. This system resembles an interior drain and will deliberately guide standing water away from the perimeter of your home. 

Waterproofing Your Basement 

Only once your home is as watertight as it can be will professionals discuss waterproofing your basement. Trying to waterproof a basement that’s actively taking on water, after all, is somewhat of a fruitless process. If you do try to install waterproofing measures while your home’s still damp, you can shorten the lifespan of those measures significantly. 

The good news is that there’s a wide variety of potential basement waterproofing measures available to anyone interested in them. Provided that they’re properly installed, you can count on them to keep unwanted moisture out of your basement for an extended period. Some of the most common basement waterproofing measures include but are not limited to: 

  • Waterproof insulation
  • Sump pumps 
  • Interior drains 
  • Non-commercial dehumidifiers 
  • Window well liners 
  • Vapor barriers 

Do note that you will need to have any home waterproofing measures installed in your basement maintained regularly. None of these measures will last forever. With proper care, though, they can see your home through the worst of Ohio’s seasonal weather. 

Why Basement Waterproofing Is Needed

mold in basement

Poor Air Quality from Mold

When your home is suffering from basement leaks and water damage, it’s only a matter of time before mold and mildew start forming. Mold thrives in dark environments with lots of humidity—it will grow covertly in corners, behind furniture, or even on your valuables. Since mold is airborne, it won’t hesitate to spread across your home. If you notice a boost in asthmatic or allergy symptoms, then it could be a result of mold growth in your basement spreading throughout your home. 

Wet basement with mold

Musty Odors

While smelly odors may seem like a commonplace trait of the average basement, it’s actually so much more than a basement quirk. Musty smells indicate the presence of mold, mildew, and standing water all stemming from basement leaks and structural vulnerabilities. While it’s a small symptom, it’s one of many ways that your home will speak to you about these basement issues.  

energy bills

High Energy Bills

When basements have undetected passageways from the outside for water to trickle in, outside temperatures and humidity also will sneak in. You may notice that your basement is excessively cold during the winter or exceptionally hot during the summer. When basements have these entry points for outside weather to infiltrate, it requires your HVAC unit to work harder to regulate the temperature of your home. If you’re noticing higher electricity bills, the cause of it may be coming from your basement.  

Common Basement Waterproofing Tips & Mistakes 


  • Positively Grading Your Yard

A positive yard grade means that any water flowing in your yard during heavy rain will stream away from your home, as opposed to toward it (negative grading). This encourages healthy moisture levels of the soil around your foundation; when water is free to pool around your home, it will overwhelm the soil, exerting hydrostatic pressure which causes leaks, cracks, and structural damage. 

  • Considering Exterior Drainage 

Basement waterproofing consists of a suite of solutions, like a wall vapor liner, sump pump, interior drainage system, and more. In conjunction with all of these interior solutions, our certified field inspectors will also recommend exterior drainage systems in conjunction. Exterior drainage systems can include a FreezeGuard™ for your sump pump discharge lines and gutter protectors. These encourage water to flow away from your home so that there’s less pressure on your basement and waterproofing measures.  

  • Install Waterproofing Measures Before Finishing Your Basement 

It can be extremely tempting to want to cover up your cracking, leaking basement by finishing it with drywall. This out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality can be extremely damaging not only for your basement but for your wallet as well. If you plan on finishing your basement, we highly recommend waterproofing it first, then installing your valuable cosmetic fixes. Otherwise, you risk a wasted investment on furniture, electronics, and interior design as cracks, leaks, and mold persist.


  • Do-It-Yourself Basement Repair 

While many YouTube videos or online listicles will urge that basement waterproofing can be done at home, any expert will urge you to go with professional-grade waterproofing. At-home fixes like water-resistant paint, crack filler, and other remedies are only bandages for major issues caused by soil and weather conditions. Waterproofing experts at Ohio Basement Systems specialize in permanent foundation repair and not temporary bandages. You can trust us to get the job done once so you can feel at peace with your basement again, and not in search of the latest antidote.

  • Not Investing in Backup Measures 

We stand behind our permanent solutions at Ohio Basement Systems, however, we cannot control the weather over the years. If your sump pump or discharge line gets clogged over the years or you experience a power outage, your sump pump will fail and you may experience flooding. Investing in solutions like a backup sump pump battery or a FreezeGuard™ can ensure that even in the coldest of Ohio winters or rainiest of days, you can trust your waterproofing systems.

  • Not Maintaining Gutters 

Gutters play a huge role in the health of your basement; ensuring that they are free of debris, are draining water healthily, and that downspouts are properly placed can be the difference between a healthy basement and a leaky one. If your gutters are malfunctioning or overwhelmed, water is free to pool around your foundation, leaving your basement more vulnerable to leakage and hydrostatic pressure.  

Find your service area

Cleveland, OH

Cleveland's wet weather can wreak havoc on your basement and foundation. Damage is common, but permanent repair and protection are achievable with our trusted team and solutions.

Youngstown, OH

Wet basements and settling foundations are common because of Youngstown’s consistent rain and problematic soils. Ohio Basement Systems can help you protect your home with trusted basement, foundation, crawl space, and concrete repair solutions.

Akron, OH

Wet basements and settling foundations are common in Akron. High-quality solutions from Ohio Basement Systems combat these forces for permanent repair and protection.

Mansfield, OH

Mansfield is home to a diverse number of soils vulnerable to poor drainage. This can cause structural issues to your property down the line—is your home protected?

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