Leaks in any room in the house can cause you much stress, especially when you do not know the source. The earlier you find the root cause, the faster you can solve the issue and prevent further damage. It is common knowledge that it takes the easiest path to the ground, but can water seep through basement walls? The answer is yes.
Water leaking through walls can be caused by several issues such as plumbing problems, clogged gutters or downspouts, damaged irrigation systems, and drainage systems that lead towards the house. Several signs can indicate such problems. The most common ones are stains that keep getting bigger and bubbling or peeling paint or wallpaper. Mould growth in areas that are not usually moist, buckling ceilings, dripping sounds, and wet blotches can also show the presence of water leakage.
How to repair a water leak in a wall depends on the source of the problem. If the problem is a result of plumbing failure, a professional plumber can fix it. For water running down outside walls, you can clean your gutters and downspouts or install flashing. Replacing the broken sections in the sprinkler system or redirecting the drainage pipes can also help basement leak repair through the basement wall or floor.
Knowing how to detect water leaks in walls is essential in preventing many expensive repairs. Not only does such damage interfere with the finish on the walls, but it can also cause many other issues that affect the house and the people living in it.
Humidity and rainfall are the common causes of water leaks in the walls, and regular inspection is the best way to determine whether there is a problem.
How to find a water leak inside a wall requires knowledge of the signs to look out for and is crucial. They include wetness or discoloration of sections of the wall, musty odour or mould growth, and dampness on the masonry. Apart from the signs, you can use a moisture meter to confirm the moisture levels or invest in an infrared camera to view inside walls for potential leaks.
When figuring out how to find rainwater leaks in the house, non-functional gutter systems are usually the focus. When they become clogged, rainwater can easily overflow and damage the external walls. However, you can also inspect the caulking around windows and flashing on chimneys or vents.
Another common question is, how do I find a water leak in the wall? Again, you can rely on the hose you use outside. Use it to spray the walls from outside, then inspect the wall from inside. If there are gaps or cracks, water will seep through. The hose power usually resembles a hurricane or storm to show you what to expect from natural occurrences.
Water leak behind a wall is dangerous because it is undetectable. The longer the leaking basement wall remains unnoticed, the higher the chance of your floors, ceilings, and other surfaces getting damaged. The good news is that even the slightest water leakage can leave some clues that help you prevent further damage.
Stains on floors, walls, and ceiling
Stains can appear on walls that have encountered constant water leaks. They may start at the origin of the leak and keep growing larger.
Mould usually grows in moist and warm areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry rooms. If such fungus starts growing on walls in other rooms in the house, you may have an internal leak in the walls.
Continuous musty smell
Water leaking in the basement wall because of a broken pipe can lead to the sheetrock and flooring being damp for longer. That leads to a smell similar to that of wet cardboard. You can follow the musty smell to find the source of the leak.
Buckling ceilings or floors usually show a problem with their structural integrity. The problem could be because of regular dampness inside the walls and can affect the adjacent framing fixtures.
Bubbling wallpaper or peeling paint
Peeling paint is one of the signs that are easier to notice, especially in commonly used rooms. Next, search for signs of wallpaper bubbling or flaking from the walls. They indicate continuously wet sheetrock.
Wet floors can be a sign of water leaking under the exterior wall. If you have carpets in all the rooms, they may not be easily visible. However, you can still inspect the surfaces for spots that look darker, especially on areas closer to walls. You can also touch the fibres to test for dampness.
When your walls become uneven, the sheetrock may have endured moisture for a long duration. Look for unexplained curves and bends.
Water running down the outside wall can manifest as a wet patch on the inside section. However, locating the source of the leak may be difficult in such cases because water can travel down the pipes and cause spots in different parts.
Odd colour changes
Sometimes the wall may dry and change its original colour in the process. Check the sections that have lighter colour shades than the surrounding areas.
Water leaking under the exterior wall is mostly from failed gutter systems. The dripping sound can be annoying and may sound like it is coming from inside the wall. It may continue after you turn off your faucet or shower. It may also go on for longer after rainfall or storms. You may also get another clue after you flush the toilet.
All these signs are practical, but you may need professional expertise or tools to confirm them. Investigating and determining the cause of the problem is crucial in preventing extra damage to your property and costly repairs that they may cause.
Damaging your walls as you try to locate the leak is not always the solution, but it is a necessary step. In most cases, any of the above signs appear a short distance from the source of the leak. You may target such a spot and discover that a leak is originating a few feet from it. Trying to repair by guessing can leave you with more damage. The following tools can help you detect leaks easily to avoid more expenses.
The camera uses an optical system that captures the surface temperature and infrared energy. It will show you colder areas to signify the presence of excess moisture. Move the camera around the wall you suspect to have leaks.
As the name suggests, this gadget shows the moisture levels on various types of surfaces. Place it on the wall and move it across the areas you suspect may be leaking. Monitor the readings and identify the highest one.
The home improvement store near you should have both of the devices above. You can rent or buy them, but you can also call a professional to fix the problem for you.
Some common causes of a leaking basement wall are plumbing issues, below-grade issues, and above-grade problems. The leak can reach the house through any weakened area in the structure, which can be cracks on the floors or stucco. Any existing holes on the walls or weak wood can also allow water to pass through.
Above-grade water issues include clogged gutters and downspouts or ineffective caulking on chimneys, vents, and windows. Damaged caulk on flashing can also lead to above-grade leaks. Such problems usually manifest above the ground. However, you can avoid them by conducting regular inspections and cleaning the gutters regularly – at least twice every year.
Below-grade examples are dysfunctional drainage systems or damaged sprinkler systems. Sometimes grading or drainage slopes that lead to the house instead of away from it also cause below-grade problems. Another example is downspouts that remain uncleaned for long and become clogged.
Sometimes distinguishing whether the problem is above grade or below grade is difficult. However, with some water tests, you can find out before calling an expert. Choose a dry day and let the hose run water on the ground for at least five minutes. Next, inspect your basement for moisture content. If there is an increase, you have a below-grade water leakage problem.
Problematic plumbing fixtures can cause extensive water damage in the house if not identified and dealt with sooner. The excess moisture from the leak may cause mould growth and rot of the framing, among other problems.
To be sure, turn off all the faucets you have indoors and monitor the water meter. Wait a few hours and check the meter reading. If there is an increase, the internal plumbing system may be having issues.
Before trying the above method, ensure all toilets are also working correctly. Once you are sure about the issue, calling a professional will be the best option. They will open the walls to find the leak and repair or replace the damaged pipes depending on the extent of the damage.
Interior plumbing issues may have to be replaced rather than repaired. That shows that the job can become too complicated to handle without professional training and experience. As such, the best way of how to stop water leakage inside walls is to leave it to qualified plumbers.
It involves opening the walls to find the exact location of the leak. Then, depending on what the plumber finds, they may replace or repair the damaged sections. They will also patch up the wall, sand, prime, and repaint it. The services of a contractor may also be needed when it comes to how to fix a leaking wall, especially if the pipes are behind bricks or tiles.
Fixing an above-grade water leak requires targeting three main areas.
Inspect the caulking and remove the old ones. Confirm that you have the correct type for the surface you are repairing. For instance, butyl rubber caulk can be more appropriate for exterior applications. Maintain consistency and ensure the application is made at the right angle – 45 degrees.
Above-grade leakage repairs also involve checking the flashing. They are barriers placed at the sections where the roof meets the wall. Typically, they are found on chimneys, roof vents, or skylights and are made with metal. Different types of flashing are available. For example, you can choose counter flashing, base flashing, or step flashing. In some cases, all three are used for optimal protection around the chimneys.
Ensuring downspouts and gutters are clear is also a repair method to try out. Experts recommend that you clean gutter systems at least twice a year and more frequently if you live in an area surrounded by trees that shed leaves regularly. Inspect the gutters regularly regardless of whether there are gutter covers or not. Ensure there is no blockage and water is diverted away from the house as intended.
Most above-grade water leakage repairs can be done as DIY. However, the gutter heights and roof pitches can be dangerous and should be left to professionals.
Water leaking under the exterior wall can be hard to diagnose and repair, but the following measures can be effective.
Downspout repairs: Downspouts should redirect water away from your house and foundation when they are functioning correctly. Ensure they are clear, allowing water to pass through seamlessly and channelling it from the house fixtures. If possible, invest in extenders.
Home irrigation systems: A damaged sprinkler system can be repaired or replaced. Inspect the pipes for the extent of the damage and use compression couplings to fix them. If unsure, call a sprinkler company for help.
Waterproofing: Some below-grade water leakages may require complete replacement of the waterproofing system in the basement, especially if you do not have an exterior one. The driveways, patios, decks, and walls from neighbouring properties can prevent the installation of waterproofing systems. In that case, you must install one inside the basement. It involves the installation of a sump pump and drainage system, which means trenching the floors.
Grading: Grading must always lead from the house, but fixing it does not mean adding dirt to increase the slope. There must be at least six inches of unobstructed space between the siding and the foundation. Otherwise, it could compromise the structural integrity of the house. The repair also requires permits and, in some cases, removing the lawn. A professional landscaper must be hired to prevent further damage.
Prevention of water leaking through a wall is always the best option compared to repairs or replacement. Regular maintenance measures such as the following are usually enough to prevent most repairs in a home.
Making sure the sump pump has battery operation as backup is also one of the best ways to prevent damp walls. Keeping the water pressure in the house between 40 and 60 PSI, applying PEX piping where necessary, and insulating the pipes, especially those outsides, are other preventive measures you can try. The drainage patterns around the house can also show if you have a basement wall leaking water.
Professionals estimate water leak repair costs by considering all the elements involved. For instance, if the job includes mould removal, it will cost more. The average price of the repairs ranges between $350 and $2000, but in some cases, it can increase to approximately $4000.
Repairing leaking pipes only ranges from $150 to $350, while detecting the location of the water leak may cost an extra $100. Repairing the drywall may cost between $250 and $750, whereas fixing a pipe that bursts from freezing can attract a price ranging from $1000 and $4000. The service provider may also ask for hourly labour charges.
So, what to do when water leaks through walls? Call our experts, and we will give you a comprehensive estimate.
Paying attention to the signs mentioned above can keep any water leaking through a wall from spreading to other parts of the house. The sooner you notice the problem and call for professional assistance; the smaller and manageable the issue will be.
Information regarding how to repair water leaks in a wall as a DIY project may be available, but it is never a good idea. Avoid the guesswork and have the repair done correctly on the first attempt by reaching out to us.
Our esteemed team is readily available to respond to your call, so contact us the moment you suspect your house has a leaking basement wall or any other type of water damage. We are thorough and will give you a detailed quote before the job.