6 Common Causes of Basement Waterproofing Problems

Basement waterproofing problems will always be easier to fix if you’re able to notice them early on. That means you might want to know the reasons for basement waterproofing problems – keeping an eye out for the causes of problems means that you’ll be much more likely to figure out when these problems become especially serious. Here are a few ways you can stay on the lookout for issues that could lead to Indiana foundation repair needs.

1. Clay Bowl Effect

The “Clay Bowl Effect” is something that happens due to the construction process of a home. Essentially, to accommodate the home and foundation, the construction crew has to dig a hole slightly larger than the intended foundation. Then, they add earth around the home to fill in the pieces of the hole that weren’t needed.

However, if the construction crew doesn’t properly tamp down the added earth, there’s now a serious problem. The fluffy, loose soil around the home will readily accept added water, whereas the non-excavated soil won’t accept water as easily. This causes water to collect in the area just around the house in the shape of a “clay bowl,” which can end up causing issues with water intrusion.

2. Hydrostatic PressureThe simple definition of hydrostatic pressure is “the pressure that the weight of water exerts.” Hydrostatic pressure is in many ways a constant; water is almost always in the soil in some form or another, and overly dry soil is actually a bad thing. However, the problem comes when there’s so much water in the soil that it’s seriously impacting your foundation and basement design.

Water is much heavier than you might have expected; water weighs about 62 pounds per cubic foot, which is simply a cube measuring one foot on every side. Basements are often seven to 10 feet deep, so imagine how much weight could end up pressing on these basement walls. If there’s an excess of water, the weight goes up dramatically, and that can cause structural damage of all types.

3. Clogged Footing Drains

Many basements have “footing drains,” which are drains that go outside your foundation walls. Purportedly, these drains keep water out of the foundation, directing water away once it tries to creep into your home. However, the problem is that for the most part, these footing drains may be quite a bit of hassle for many people.

The biggest problem arises when these footing drains become clogged. If any sort of debris clogs the drains, they’re liable to become backed up, allowing water to collect by the walls and essentially doing the exact opposite of their purpose. Cleaning and flushing the drains allows them to stay clear, but it’s something you have to proactively do.

4. Improper Exterior Drainage

Exterior drains are another option that you may use to try and keep water away from your foundation. Essentially, exterior drains are drains that go outside of your foundation walls. Exterior drainage typically requires a very deep burial process, with most exterior drainage pipes at a depth of at least eight feet. If the exterior drainage process isn’t working, you could end up with problems.

Most of the time, exterior drainage problems arise due to issues with the pipes themselves. If there are cracks, collapses, and clogs, you’re almost certainly going to run into the same problem you would with absolutely no drainage: water running back into your basement. Most basements will work best with interior drainage rather than exterior drainage.

5. Ineffective Sump Pump System

A sump pump system can be extremely helpful in keeping a basement dry. A well-functioning sump pump can pump hundreds of gallons of water out of a basement per hour, keeping the basement from flooding entirely. In a situation where the basement floods due to something like a water leak, a sump pump could save you from having hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

If your sump pump is extremely ineffective or you don’t have a sump pump at all, there are many problems that can arise. An uncovered sump pump pit, for example, can sustain damage due to debris and items falling into the system. Metal basins can cause rust and corrosion that can reduce the efficacy of the pump. No matter what, a highly effective sump pump system is crucial.

6. Issues With Weather

There are some basement waterproofing issues that can simply arise due to weather issues. Indiana tends to experience a significant amount of wild weather, with rainstorms, snowstorms, and more almost the norm all across the state. These weather problems can result in some truly monumental problems for many basements.

Of course, those “once-in-a-lifetime” storms are certainly going to wreak havoc on your basement, but even regular storms can have an impact on your basement and foundation overall. You need to have basement waterproofing that’s up to the task, so you can make sure that your basement is able to resist the problems from the weather.


As you can see, basement waterproofing problems can arise in a variety of circumstances. If you’re experiencing basement waterproofing concerns, even the smallest concerns, it’s a good idea to call in an expert. The expert can identify what problems you’re experiencing, the causes for those problems, and the best way to fix them. That way, you’ll be able to get a completely waterproof basement so you no longer have water concerns under your home.

+ posts

Leave a Comment

5 × four =