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Symptoms of Water in Basement

Sometimes identifying symptoms of water in your basement goes beyond just a wet floor.


Sometimes identifying symptoms of water in your basement goes beyond just a wet floor. There are several other signs that represent a waterproofing issue in your basement, and it’s important to know how to identify them.

Foundation Recovery Systems has been dedicated to helping homeowners solve their home repair needs since 1992. For a free, no-obligation basement waterproofing inspection, call or e-mail us today! We serve throughout all of central Missouri and Eastern Kansas, including Kansas City, Columbia, Moberly, and Springfield.



Mold is a very common side effect of having moisture issues in your basement. The growth of mold is caused by too much moisture build-up and not enough ventilation. Not only is it unsightly in your basement, but it can also lead to health issues. Mold ranges from several different colors like grey, black, green or white, and some can even be toxic.

Foundation Cracks

cracked brick foundation

Concrete foundation cracks are very common in basement walls, be it stacked (cinder block), or poured. Cracking typically occurs when the concrete dries, or from any settlement in the soils on the exterior of the foundation. Cracks create passageways for water to seep into your basement, and water will always follow the path of least resistance. Even the smallest of cracks can allow water to flow through, so it’s important to get these checked out before the issue worsens.

Tie Holes

If you notice any tie holes in your concrete foundation, these could also be passageways for water to get through to your basement. These are very small holes that are left behind when the steel rods are removed after the concrete is initially poured. These holes are patched, but over time they are susceptible to leaks if not patched properly.

Water Stain

flooded basement interior

Although this may seem like the most obvious, some water stains aren’t as obvious as you’d think. Aside from stains on the floor, water stains can also appear at the top of the basement wall from roof runoff. Water stains can appear on painted or concrete walls, which will be dark. They can also appear as efflorescence, which looks like a white, powdery/chalky substance on your walls.

Extra Pests & Bugs

Basements are breeding grounds for bugs and pests. They love to live in dark, damp spaces, so if you notice any unwanted guests in your basement, it could be a sign of moisture or high humidity issues.

Water can enter your basement in several different ways, so it’s important to look out for these symptoms in your basement to avoid potential water damage:

  • Cracks in your foundation
  • Window leaks
  • Floor cracks
  • Wall cracks
  • Excess moisture in walls or window sills

Water can easily seep through any open cracks or leaks in your basement, so it’s a good idea to monitor your basement regularly to keep an eye out for those susceptible places. Our waterproofing experts at Foundation Recovery Systems can waterproof your basement to ensure water stays out, permanently.

Basement moisture issues can be solved quickly and permanently if caught early enough. During the humid months in Missouri, your house is often even more susceptible to water damage. If you think your house needs an inspection, let us know!

Symptoms of Water in Basement


Coming home to find water in your basement is often most homeowners’ first indicator that something’s gone wrong with a home’s overall structural integrity. However, a wet basement floor is not the first sign that your home may be suffering from some manner of damage. 

Signs to Watch For 

Basement flooding does not happen all at once. Instead, it tends to occur in increments. As such, you’ll be able to keep an eye out for earlier indications of seepage or water damage. Some of the giveaways of a leak or crack somewhere in your home can include: 

  • Mold 
  • Sagging floors 
  • Bowing walls 
  • Increased levels of humidity throughout your home 
  • Higher electric bills even as your power usage hasn’t increased 
  • Lower water pressure throughout your home 

Note that all of these conditions can also indicate that something has gone amiss with your foundation. If you spot any of these conditions, then, before any seepage or other form of standing water makes its way into your basement, you can reach out to the professionals in your area. Together, you can embark on a home inspection and determine whether the damage in question is based in your basement or in another part of your home. 

Why Do These Conditions Appear in My Home? 

More often than not, your basement will start to show signs of damage besides standard flooding due to the influence of hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is a force that works against your home when rain, snow, and groundwater come into contact with your basement’s structural supports. This moisture presses up against those materials and causes them to change temperature and size. Stress fractures, in turn, can start to appear in those materials as they try to compensate for the rapid changes in size that they’ve been forced to endure. Even more moisture, then, can get into your home through those cracks. 

If your basement ends up over-exposed to this kind of pressure, then the structural supports in your walls and even holding up your foundation can start to crack and give out. The longer you let this kind of damage sit, the more likely it is that your basement and foundation will start to sink. You may find yourself contending with uneven floors, significant flooding, and a litany of other problems far sooner than you might think, and all with unwanted moisture to blame. 

As mentioned, your foundation can start to take on damage if you let standing water or other forms of hydrostatic pressure damage stand in your home for too long. However, there are times when foundation cracks can also serve as a cause of leaks throughout your home. 

Your Foundation and Hydrostatic Pressure 

Just as hydrostatic pressure can cause the structural supports in your basement to crack, so too can it work malevolently against the concrete or brick forming your foundation. Cracks can form in foundation walls as the concrete dries and shrinks, and as the soil outside soaks up water, it eventually applies immense pressure. 

The foundation, too, may see cracks form as the earth shifts naturally over time. These cracks can form because of hydrostatic pressure and water being forced into them. The cracks can also form independently and water will naturally flow into the faults formed. Regardless of how the cracks have formed, it is important to have them professionally repaired to prevent any more water leaks. 

Addressing Problems with Your Foundation 

While it is not in your best interest to try and repair problems with your foundation on your own time, there are steps you can take to mitigate the water damage that you may have already seen in your basement or foundation. The professionals in your area will check your foundation to determine what kind of damage it is that you’re contending with. Cracks, for example, can be repaired whereas upheavals and uneven floors may require you to invest in piers or other underpinning solutions. 

Note that you should only consider investing in home waterproofing measures if you’ve already had the damage to your foundation or basement repaired. Trying to install home waterproofing measures without first repairing the damage to your space can see those measures take damage far faster than they would if your home was watertight. It’s entirely possible, too, for the damage to your home to worsen if you opt to invest in waterproofing measures without first securing repairs. 

Pests thrive in moist environments and will actively seek out dark, damp places to nest. Unfortunately, a sign that there is water in your basement is a sudden abundance of pests. Even if you can’t see them directly, the evidence of their presence is enough of a warning sign. 

Animals in Your Home 

If there is a crack in your basement or foundation, you’re likely to see any number of the following creatures in your home: 

  • Mice and rats. Wild rats and mice have bad reputations, and sometimes for good reasons. These critters, should they have an opportunity to get into your home, can wreak havoc for months at a time. Rodents are likely to build nests inside your walls, if they have a chance to access them, and otherwise compromise the health of your home. Both types of critters are also likely to bring diseases into your home. Unfortunately, both mice and rats tend to appear more frequently as the weather cools. The good news is that, while their presence can be inconvenient, their seasonal move into your home does give you time to repair any damage that you may be contending with. 
  • Snakes. Snakes tend to make their way toward your home when you’ve allowed rodents to roost, and the weather starts to shift. Snakes are cold-blooded and often need the warmth of a human home to stay safe while hiding from the winter cold. Unfortunately, most snakes also hate humans and will respond to their presence with deadly force. While these critters won’t compromise the structural integrity of your home, they can put you in some pretty dangerous situations if their presence goes unchecked. 
  • Squirrels and chipmunks. Squirrels, like raccoons, like to cause problems in a person’s home. These critters are smaller than their larger cousins and can enter your home through a variety of means, often without you knowing it. Squirrels will nest in your insulation, chew up your wires, and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Chipmunks exhibit much the same behavior, but their smaller size makes them more difficult to catch. The symptoms of their presence can often be confused with that of mice, and they’re known to carry many of the same diseases. 
  • Groundhogs. Groundhogs are worse than rabbits when it comes to the destabilization of your foundation. These critters are large and love to create a burrow network wherever they feel safe from predators. As such, they can happily move in beneath your home and cause your foundation to shift if they’re not rapidly taken care of. 
  • Bats. Compared to many of the critters on this list, bats are relatively harmless, at least in terms of structural damage potential. That said, bats can easily get into your home and spread diseases and bacteria, not to mention guano. 

The Problem of Insects 

It isn’t just mammals or reptiles that can cause problems for your home, however. Certain types of insects can also disrupt the overall structural integrity of your home, though through a variety of different means. 

Carpenter ants and termites, for example, will rapidly make a meal of any exposed wooden supports in your basement and foundation walls. Ladybugs and stink bugs can also nest in your floor and insulation, limiting its ability to protect your home from water damage. 

It is in your best interest to try and keep a wary eye out for other symptoms of basement and foundation damage besides standing water. As mentioned, some of the clearest signs of some manner of structural failure throughout your home can include the following: 

Aesthetic Symptoms 

Some symptoms are going to be more superficial than others. That said, you’ll still want to take these symptoms seriously as they appear. These can include: 

  • Unpleasant Smells. While unpleasant smells don’t disrupt the overall integrity of your home, they can make your home less comfortable to stay in. Damp smells and other musty scents tend to indicate that some of the more porous materials in your home have started to take on water and rot. 
  • Mold. Mold in its earliest cluster stages poses more of a threat to your family’s health than it does to your home’s overall structural integrity. However, the longer you let mold sit in your home, the more likely it is that you’ll end up seeing foundation and basement damage in the next few months. 
  • Visible Water Damage. Visible water damage, like water spots, does not pose an immediate threat to your home’s overall structural integrity, but it does indicate that something may go wrong in your home in the near future. If you notice any visible or overly large water spots in your home, you’ll want to reach out to area professionals before it rains or snows to determine how you might best protect your home from additional damage. 
  • High Humidity Levels. Like unpleasant smells, high levels of humidity do not pose an immediate threat to your home’s structural integrity. However, extensive exposure to high humidity can cause your home’s pipes to leak and your walls to start to peel. 

Home Destabilization 

The longer you let water damage in your home go unattended, the more likely it is that those aesthetic symptoms can develop into significant structural damage. These forms of damage can include: 

  • Bouncy Floors. Your floors can start to bounce when your floor joists or other supportive structures start to suffer from rust or over-humidification. 
  • Damaged Walls. In a similar vein, your drywall can start to absorb moisture and begin to slump off of its supports. 
  • Foundation Sinkage. The water that’s making its way into your home comes up through cracks in your basement or foundation. If those cracks start to widen, your foundation can heave, causing it to sink in one corner and to rise in others. 

Reach Out to Professional Contractors Serving Your Area 

Basement and foundation flooding are more than just temporary inconveniences. While it’s tempting to hope that this kind of damage goes away over time, leaving it to sit is likely to make conditions around your home worse. The good news is that the experts working in your area have contended with this kind of damage before. They can help you identify the source of unwanted water in your home and seal it safely. As soon as you’ve repaired the damage that’s been done to your home, you can then determine what kind of home waterproofing measures you may want to invest in. 

Don’t let basement and foundation damage get away from you. Get in touch with the professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems for a free quote detailing the services that can help you reclaim your home. 

FRS Service Area Map with Des Moines

Our Service Areas

Des Moines Location

2401 SE Creekview Dr.
Ankeny, IA 50021

Kansas City Location

211 SE State Route 150
Lee's Summit, MO 64082
(816) 774-1539

Moberly Location

1401 US-24
Moberly, MO 65270
(660) 202-8662

Springfield Location
1820 N Barnes Ave
Springfield, MO 65803
(417) 612-8286
St. Louis Location

1625 Larkin Williams rd.
Fenton, MO 63026
(314) 207-9995