Rainwater leaks on the wall causing damage

The dampness of a wet basement allows for mold and rot.

And the truth about most water basement problems is that they can be solved cheaply with a little DIY.

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on basement waterproofing company—jackhammering your basement floor and installing an elaborate drainage system—there are much easier solutions.

Begin with the gutters

  1. Clogged gutters: Gutter problems are one of the biggest causes of leaky basements. They are often prone to be clogged with debris and foreign objects, like leaves, sticks, baseballs, and even toys. Waste works its way toward the downspout mouth opening, plugging it. A clogged downspout opening builds up water inside the gutter. Cleaning your clogged gutters twice a year can save you a fortune in solving water problems in your basement
  2. .Leaking gutters:  Unlike aluminum gutters, galvanized metal gutters are prone to rust and deterioration, which cause leaks. Additionally, peeled caulk at the gutter’s end-caps and joints can cause leaks. Caulks can fail and crack over time, causing water to seep through the metal seams. In any case, a leaky gutter can cause severe water damage, as dripping water saturates the ground and eventually into the basement and foundation
  3. Poorly installed gutters: is not correctly installed, you’re in for many problems. This problem is widespread when the gutter installer does not verify the pitch of gutter with levels but does guesswork in pitching them. 
  4. Small gutters: Small gutters are a recipe for disaster. For many years, 5″ have been the norm. For modern homes, this gutter size is small and disturbs proper water movement, thus directing water to the basement. Adequate water management involves installing the right size of gutters to prevent water problems.
  5. Damaged gutters: Replace your damaged gutters as soon as possible, whether damaged by wind, a tree, or hail. Fixing gutter damage will prevent further damage to your basement’s interior and exterior.

Check the downspouts

  1. Clogged downspouts: Clogged downspouts are another significant factor in basement water problems. Lodges twigs and leaves can impede water flow. Clogs often occur in the elbow area of the downspout as wells as at the ground level, where the downspouts connect to the underground PVC drainage. In cases like this, water begins to seep from the seams. Pudding around the base of the downspouts and gutters, then flowing into the ground. 
  2. Downspouts are too close to the building: When your downspout terminates too close to your house. Water will collect around the building—just next to the foundation—seeping into the ground below. Fixing this problem is easy. Ensure your downspout extends at least 4 to 5 feet away from the foundation wall. Also, ensure the water from the downspout is directed away from the house by leveraging a downward slope.
  3. Leaking downspouts:  Galvanized metal downspouts are also prone to rust and deterioration, causing water to seep through the metal seams and saturating the ground below.
  4. Poorly installed downspouts: If your downspout isn’t correctly installed, fixing it on time will save you a lot of stress. 
  5. Small downspouts: When the downspout is too tiny, it disturbs proper water movement, thus directing water to the basement. Your home will determine the size of the downspout and the amount of rainfall you experience. 
  6. Damaged downspouts: Replace your damaged downspouts as soon as possible. Replacing will prevent further water damage.
  7. Check the underground drains

Underground drainpipes are very useful in getting water away from your building.

However, if there is vegetation around your home with shallow root systems, these may infiltrate the pipe seams, clog the drain, and cause severe water leakages.

Asides disruptive root systems, asphalt paths, and concrete sidewalks can also fall on your underground drains and destroy them.

Your underground pipes are vital for water movement away from the house.

Fixing clogged or collapsed drains will prevent water from backing up into your downspouts. And as water backs up into the downspout, it begins to leak from the seams.

Because the downspout and the underground drain are connected at the ground level, close to your foundation wall, leaving it unchecked will pool gallons of water into the ground and your basement.

Also, ensure that your underground drain is connected to your downspout. A disconnected system will cause significant water damage.  

Check the ground slope


Blue large house with slopping backyard and green landscape with trees.


There is a big problem when the ground around your house’s perimeter is sloping toward the building.

In such a case, water will keep flooding toward your foundation wall, resulting in leaky basements.

The slope of the perimeter may cause water draining back into the house through the underground drains.

Grading the edge of your home is the solution to this problem.

Grading means identifying the high and low points of the ground and establishing a grade line with a nylon rope, ground stakes, and line levels.

Changing the grade is a tedious job, as you will need to dig up dirt from the high points and dump them at the low points.

Therefore hiring a landscape grading contractor is recommended if the work is beyond what you handle. 

The house must be constructed so that the foundation walls are protected from pooling water. Fixing this issue means driving rain away from your home to prevent basement water problems and a leaky basement. 

If you have a deck constructed over the underground drain, ensure that that grade beneath is sloping away from the house.

Note that if your house is in an area with a high water table, your home is vulnerable to flooding and water basement problems.

If you are buying or building a house, check public records to determine if that piece of land is susceptible to flooding.

Continuously soggy ground will always result in leaky basements.

Bonus point: check your patio 

Patios are prone to sink into the ground when the ground settles.

When patios sink, they allow water to pool around the building’s foundations.

Solving this problem may involve getting the help of a landscaper to remove pavers and apply pea gravel and new soil.

If this is done, water is diverted from the foundation, and your basement is saved.

In conclusion, if you cannot correctly diagnose the cause of your basement water problems, seek professional service.

  1. Hi Bob! I like your blog about water basement problems and how to solve them cheaply. It is very interesting, well written, easy to read and understand. I think you could add a couple more pictures to your article to keep people interested in what you’re writing about.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Great article with some great tips . Thank you

    It is incredible how many people neglect the outside of their house when doing maintenance. They might have a lovely garden, beautiful interior, purpose built man-cave or fitness room in their basement etc, but simple neglect of the gutters or downspouts can undo all their effort and work within seconds.

    It’s such as shame cause it can be prevented.

    You have also reminded me that I need to redo my patio this summer. It has sunk and is causing me some minor drainage issues at the moment

    Thank you again

  3. Hi Bob,
    Thank you for this helpful and informative post on water basement problems.
    I’m dealing with this problem right now and was desperately looking for a solution. Thank God I found your site.
    The tips provided were really helpful.
    Thank you for this useful post.

  4. Hey Bob,

    There is a bunch of useful information here. It shows me you really know what you’re talking about and interested in your niche. Under point #2 of begin with the gutters, you have a small tying error. I think adding a couple more pictures would be useful for people reading as well.

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