Diagnose your basement leaks in a few simple steps

Posted Mar 17, 2021 in Waterproofing, DIY Center


Let’s be hon­est, base­ment water­proof­ing is not real­ly that essen­tial dur­ing the COVID-19 shut­down. I am not min­i­miz­ing what we do, but it is more like­ly that you have bumped this project down on your to-do list any­ways. For most of us, bore­dom has already set in. Just like you, I’m will­ing to try dif­fer­ent things around the house to pass the time. So why not diag­nose the leaks in your base­ment? It is easy, no heavy lift­ing need­ed, and all it requires is a gar­den hose and some spare time.

One of the say­ings when it comes to diag­nos­ing any water leaks is that The hose knows, it will nev­er lie to you.” I know what you are think­ing right now, it only leaks when it rains real­ly hard! Any water­proofer worth their salt will admit that this is the num­ber one response giv­en by cus­tomers. In fact, run­ning a gar­den hose in a cer­tain loca­tion can sim­u­late up to three inch­es of rain­fall in about ten min­utes. That should trig­ger a response if there is an issue. I would not run the hose longer than thir­ty-five min­utes at any loca­tion as water can cause dam­age to oth­er things around the home. We do not rec­om­mend run­ning the hose in freez­ing tem­per­a­tures as it may form into ice and cre­ate slip­ping haz­ards. By fol­low­ing our four sim­ple steps below, you can jus­ti­fy if you need a base­ment water­proofer or anoth­er trade. Not only will this help edu­cate you on your issue, but it can also help save you mon­ey in the long run.

Since rain hits every part of your home from top to bot­tom, it only makes sense to test from bot­tom to top. This sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly allows us to pin­point all of your leaks. A gen­er­al rule of thumb is that short­er foun­da­tion walls tend to leak faster than taller foun­da­tion walls. FINISHED base­ment walls can some­times take a lit­tle longer to show a leak due to the obstruc­tions that water must nego­ti­ate around. Even though you can’t tru­ly see where the water enters, you have jus­ti­fied the below-grade leak. UNFINISHED base­ment walls are an open can­vas to observe and eas­i­er to diagnose.

I must admit that this is my favorite part of the esti­mate because it gives us instant cred­i­bil­i­ty if we gen­er­ate a leak. WE DO NOT MAKE IT A HABIT OF MAKING GUESSES AT WATERPROOFING. If your prob­lem real­ly is above the foun­da­tion, we will let you know which trade to con­tact next.

Step 1: Hook up the gar­den hose to the spig­ot and stretch it over to an area of con­cern on the out­side of the foun­da­tion wall. For the best results, remove any sprayer or sprin­kler from the end of the hose.

Step 2: Lay the hose on the ground about 1’ away from the wall and add weight on the end of the hose if need­ed. Turn the water on, start a timer and go back inside to observe. Please don’t spray above the foun­da­tion yet, as we are just try­ing to deter­mine below grade leaks first.

Step 3: Observe the area that is being test­ed from the inte­ri­or. If water enters, it will enter one of these ways.

  1. Water will spill over the top of the foun­da­tion. This may hap­pen with­in 5 ‑10 minutes.
  2. Water enters through the foun­da­tion wall from cracks, pipe pen­e­tra­tions, tie rods or hon­ey­comb. This may hap­pen with­in 10 – 20 minutes.
  3. Water enters where the wall and floor meet (Cove Joint). This may hap­pen with­in 20 – 45 min­utes. Make sure you get pic­tures and/​or videos of these leaks to use for your con­sul­ta­tion when you are ready to com­mit to the repair(s).

Step 4: Shut off the hose and repeat the process around dif­fer­ent areas if needed.

It’s a pret­ty sim­ple test, right? If you took the time to run the test and want to dis­cuss your results, just call us and we would be more than glad to have that dis­cus­sion with you. You will not be pres­sured into an esti­mate, we just love to talk about what we do! If you had FUN run­ning the test and think you have what it takes to be an HONEST, RESPONSIBLE water­proofer, please con­tact us for employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. Again, thank you for your par­tic­i­pa­tion and I hope you learned a few things about your home.

Ken­neth Kirch­n­er
Mas­ter Water­proof­ing Diag­noser
Fam­i­ly Water­proof­ing Solutions

What our customers say

  • Work­man­ship and ser­vice were excel­lent. Would rec­om­mend with­out reservation.

  • You and your crew did a great job in our base­ment and crawl­space. You went the extra mile to insure that all of our water seep­age prob­lems are over. We would rec­om­mend you high­ly to oth­er peo­ple. Your qual­i­ty and time­ly work out­match­es all the others.

  • We con­tract­ed Fam­i­ly Water­proof­ing Solu­tions for exte­ri­or wall seal­ing and foun­da­tion crack repair ser­vices. Ken was very thor­ough in explain­ing the work that would be done, and his crew did a great job. This busi­ness was a plea­sure to work with.

    Stacie T.