One of the many things any homeowner dreads when it comes to the condition of their home is a leaky basement. Not only a wet basement it difficult to detect (until it becomes obvious), it causes a lot of damage within a short time – think warped wood, huge cracks and lots of mold and extensive rotting. The problem, however, is that no matter what foundation you have used, or what the condition of your home is, these leaks are bound to occur one day or the other.

It is imperative that you are able to detect the signs of leaks early on. That way you can call the professionals who will repair the damage in time and prevent the problem from escalating further (and adding to your troubles and your bills). Also, consider an effective basement draining system and/or Basement Waterproofing for a true fix.

Here are the some of the most common causes of basement leaks:


The soil that is present around the foundation tends to absorb water coming from snow and rain. While soils do generally recover from this, the time and extent varies by the soil type. Some soils, like clay, for instance, do not drain as fast as others, which leads to a build-up of water pressure beneath the ground. Once the soil expands over the water, a sideways (or lateral) pressure is created against the foundation of the home, which eventually leads to leakage.


Honeycomb leakages form when the dried concrete has too many air pockets (which mostly form due to poor mixing during the original pouring). These air pockets, which often resemble a honeycomb, later tend to form cavities through which water easily passes through and causes leakage. These can be fixed quite easily if detected early on.


Tie rod holes are a common source of basement leaks that are known to occur in older homes. They are a result of the method of construction followed in building a home.

The concrete forms in many homes are built from wood and are kept together with 5/8 steel rods during the cement-pouring process. These rods remain in 2 horizontal rows, with the lower row staying at about a foot off the ground and the higher one another 4 feet above that. These rods are removed once the walls are completed – a process that ends up leaving “rod holes.” Water tends to accumulate in these empty spaces, and ultimately causes leaks.


While window wells are a great way to make your basement look good and keep it well-lit and airy (while keeping soil and water outside), they can – and do – act as a cause of leakage, especially if they are not installed and/or maintained properly.

Window wells usually malfunction when the drainage system surrounding the home is not working properly. A poorly-working drainage system leads to accumulation of water around the windows, which in time creates enough pressure to push the window in (and cause massive leakages).