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Leaking Basement Wall

Leaks from a basement wall might seem minor at first, but they can lead to significant damage. Learn more about this cause of basement problems and how local experts can help.


At first, a leak in your basement wall may appear tiny. But you may find yourself dealing with a significant dilemma as the damage progresses to include flooding and mold growth. Read on to learn about what’s behind leaking basement walls, the damage it can cause, and how local basement waterproofing experts can help.

How Leaking Basement Walls Develop

When it comes to leaky basement walls, there are several reasons why they happen. The most common causes we will highlight here go hand in hand. 

The Clay Bowl Effect

When your home was first built, a large hole was dug in the ground to accommodate the foundation and basement. Once those essential pieces were complete, the soil was replaced (backfilled) around the basement walls. This soil is looser and not as compact or stable. Additionally, the soil throughout South Carolina and Georgia varies from well-drained sand to expansive clay, so there could be a combination of soil around your home.  

This backfill soil creates a “clay bowl” and an artificial water table around your home that collects water from rain or groundwater. This is detrimental on its own, but particularly dangerous if the soil under and around your home is expansive like clay soil. Expansive soil swells and presses against your basement walls, creating a process known as hydrostatic pressure. 

Hydrostatic Pressure Diagram

Hydrostatic Pressure

The phenomenon of hydrostatic pressure occurs when water in the soil surrounding the basement begins to push on the basement walls. Most basement walls are made of concrete, which is a strong material and made to withstand hydrostatic pressure, but to a point. When the force of the hydrostatic pressure becomes too much for the basement walls to bear, they will begin to crack and bow inward. These fissures will eventually leak, causing water to pool in your basement. 

Poor Foundation Drainage

Something else that can lead to leaking basement walls on its own as well as contribute to the clay bowl effect and hydrostatic pressure is poor foundation drainage. If the footing drain placed around the outside of your home is clogged or damaged, water can leak through the cove joint (where the basement walls and floor meet). Similarly, clogs and damage can impact how gutters and downspouts function. If they are not able to properly collect and drain excess water away from your basement, it will leak inside, usually in corners where walls meet that are adjacent to exterior downspouts. 

The Risks of Leaking Basement Walls

Leaking basement walls can result in a slew of problems that can cost you a lot of money in the long run. Here are some prevalent warning signs to watch out for.

moldy walls


Basements are typically dark and cool. Add a little moisture from a leaking wall, and you have the perfect environment for mold growth. Mold can appear in a variety of colors, from pink to green to black to white, and mold clusters are common in areas with existing cracks and water seepage. Not only can mold emit an unpleasant odor, but it can take its toll on the health of anyone living in your house, potentially causing or worsening conditions like allergies and asthma. 



Efflorescence shows as white patches on concrete, such as your basement’s concrete walls or floor, and is sometimes confused with mold. It’s a mineral salt deposit that’s usually created by hydrostatic pressure. When moisture gets into your basement, it deposits mineral salts on the concrete, giving it the appearance of being coated in white powder. If you detect efflorescence on the concrete walls of your basement, water is almost certainly the cause. 

water pooling on concrete

Visible, Standing Water

Water seeping out of a crack or seam in your basement wall is a telltale indicator of a leak. A leaky basement wall is also indicated by water stains on the wall or the basement joint along the floor. Another sign of a basement wall or joint leak is water accumulating on the floor or along a basement wall, especially after rain. 


Unfortunately, you can’t just wait for a leak to go away, especially if it’s in your basement wall. These leaks must be addressed immediately, or they will grow and cause more serious harm. Even if the water in your home appears to be disappearing, you should still contact a local basement waterproofing professional to address the source of the moisture as soon as possible. 

Yes, we recommend tackling leaking basement walls with interior solutions. If your walls are cracking and bowing, they may need one of our foundation repair solutions like wall anchors or wall reinforcements. To address the leaking, our comprehensive basement waterproofing plan includes an interior drainage system, sump pump, wall vapor barrier, and dehumidifier

No, we do not advise you to try to treat the problem yourself. There could be a variety of reasons why your basement walls are leaking that might be easy to miss or misdiagnose. The best way to solve the situation is to take advantage of a free inspection and estimate, as well as reliable repair solutions from a local basement waterproofing professional. 

Leave Your Leaking Basement Walls in The Past. Mount Valley Has the Best Waterproofing Solutions!

If you’ve noticed water collecting in your basement, the cause could be a cracking, leaking basement wall. This can lead to severe structural damage to your foundation, health problems for your family, and affect the value of your home. But don’t worry. The specialists at Mount Valley Foundation Services are equipped to diagnose your problem, recommend a course of action, and provide you with a free inspection and estimate of the repair costs. 

Our team also lives throughout the area including Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Savannah, so we are very familiar with the wet weather, varying soil, and how they affect basements and homes. We have thousands of positive reviews from homeowners just like you who now have safe, healthy, and dry homes because of our trusted basement waterproofing solutions. Contact us today to learn more! 

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