Home Improvement

Signs of a Water Damaged Basement

A basement that develops water damage can cause serious consequences for your home. Water can cause foundation problems, mold and mildew. Repairing the damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars if it is caught late in the process. However, if you spot the warning signs early, you can decrease the amount of money it will cost to repair the damage. If you are considering purchasing a home, these warning signs can help prevent you from purchasing a home that will need immediate repairs to be completed.

How Basements Develop Water Damage

Because basements are located on the lowest level, they are susceptible to water leaking in from the ground near the basement. A heavy rain can penetrate the basement and make the basement flood. Surface water can run down the walls of the home’s foundation. A sewer line may be clogged and back up into the basement. Gutters may not run water far away enough from the home.

Accumulated Water

The most obvious sign of a water damaged basement is the presence of water on the floors. Similarly, if furniture or boxes are wet, it is likely that the basement has sustained some water damage.

Stains or Rust

The carpet or other flooring material may demonstrate signs of water damage. Look for stains on the flooring and walls. If the water damage is caused by an upper story, you may see some water damage on the ceiling. Look for brown or black spots on the flooring, walls and ceilings. Metallic items in the room, such as pipes or furniture, may develop rust if they are frequently in contact with moisture.

Drain or Pump Problems

If you cannot find any information to indicate that a drain or a pump is installed in your basement, it may only be a matter of time before your basement becomes water damaged. If water does enter the basement, the water needs a place to go so that the basement does not become flooded. Check for clogs in the sump pump or drain that may cause flooding. You may also need to change out batteries in the sump pump.


A basement that has sustained water damage may develop a musty smell. This can also be an indicator of mold development, so you may want to have a mold inspector check the area before putting your own health at risk.


If your basement has developed mold, you have a water damaged basement. You can recognize mold as white, gray, brown or black stains. Mold can have severe adverse effects on a home and a homeowner. If you spot mold, you should contact a professional mold removal company to get this dangerous material out of your home.

Cracked Window Sills

Window sills that show damage on them may be another sign of a water damaged basement. If the window is lacking caulking or other sealant, water may be leaking in from outdoors and causing problems in your basement. Similarly, if you spot damage to the wall or floor under the window, you may have water damage in the basement.

Damaged Concrete

If the basement floors are made from concrete, you can spot water damage by looking for a white crystallized residue on the floors. You may also spot staining on the concrete.

Warping of Building Materials

Some building materials will warp if they come in contact with water or other forms of moisture. Check wooden floors for warping to determine if you have any water damage.


If you spot pipes in your home that have developed condensation, your home may be susceptible to water damage as the condensation slowly leaks onto the nearby walls and floors. You may want to insulate these pipes in order to prevent any future water damage from occurring in your basement.

Recognizing these warning signs of water damage can help you develop solutions more quickly and more affordably.