Roofing Experts | ACS | NorCal

3 DIY Tricks to Fix a Basement Leak

At ACS, we build a better world each day, literally, and we thought these tips might help you save time and money.

Basement leaks can be costly if you can’t stop them. If these DIY tips don’t help you fix the problem, give us a call.

Look For Leak Symptoms

When looking for the source of leaks, it is best to have direct access to the bare cement walls. If your basement has been converted into office space, this might be difficult.

  • Standing Water – Puddles on the floor are signs of poor outside drainage, foundation cracks, or even plumbing problems.
  • Water Stains – Water stains on bare basement walls can come from cracks resulting from moving or settling. Cracks can develop between blocks, or between the footing and the wall. Look for cracks and water stains around plumbing and septic pipes.  Water stains on finished walls are hard to diagnose because of how water travels.
  • Window Leaks – Pooling water or water stains around basement windows are signs you may have cracks around the frame or poorly sealed windows. Alternatively, there may be poor drainage in window wells or damaged window frames that need replacing.
  • Wet Walls – If your entire wall is damp to the touch, or you see peeling paint everywhere, you may have poor external drainage. It may be possible to waterproof from the inside.

Do It Yourself Waterproofing Solutions

If you find the cause of water leaks and can access the problem area, these solutions may solve your problem.

How to Quickly and Easily Fill Basement Wall Cracks

Minor cracks are easily repaired with Quikrete’s Hydraulic Water-Stop Cement, which can be bought at most hardware stores. It mixes into a putty that can be applied to the crack with a putty knife and smoothed with your hands, using latex gloves. Be sure the putty fills the gap completely.

As it dries, the cement expands and seals the crack. Use the putty for cracks in walls, along floor/wall junctures, and around windows and pipes, too. Once the cement dries, the water leak should stop.

How to Apply Waterproof Paint on a Basement Wall

First, remove any paint or efflorescence from walls. Efflorescence is the white stains water leaves behind. While simple, scraping old paint and removing stains with a wire brush can be tedious and time-consuming.

Once your walls are prepped, apply Drylock White Extreme Waterproofing Paint with a rough surface roller. Make sure the paint completely covers the pits and ridges on the cement surface. Let the first coat dry completely and apply a second coat. A dehumidifier will help remove any residual dampness and speed drying.

How to Fix Window Well Drainage

If water pools in window wells, and leaks into the basement, you can try three things:

1. Drainage – Make sure the tiny drain holes aren’t clogged by debris.
2. Caulking – Caulking will eventually deteriorate. Try replacing all the silicone caulk around leaking windows.
3. Covers – You can also add water well covers to keep water out of the wells.

External Building Factors To Consider

Gutters and downspouts direct water away from the building. If they are rusted, they may need replacing. If flower beds are near the building’s outer walls are often watered, they could potentially cause basement leaks.

If You Can’t Fix It Yourself, Call ACS.

Sometimes these problems are time intensive or difficult to diagnose.  These are some services we perform.

ACS workers drill holes in this basement wall to apply below-grade blindside waterproofing. 

Interior Walls

Negative side waterproofing is on the inside of a wall. It can be the fastest and least expensive basement waterproofing option.

Here are a couple of solutions we use to waterproof inside walls:

1. Penetrating Liquid Acrylic – These waterproofing materials seal the voids and fine cracks or capillaries that allow water to seep through. These products have expanding polymer or crystalline additives that grow into gaps after application.

2. Cementitious Surface Coatings – These add a secondary cement-based barricade to inside walls. Cementitious waterproof coatings typically combine cement and a polymer. When applied to any concrete surface, above or below ground, the layer adds a hard but flexible water barrier.

Exterior Walls and Floors

Waterproofing the outer walls and under the floor is known as positive side or blindside waterproofing. These areas are hard to reach once the building is constructed and may require chemical grout injection. If this is required, ACS will drill holes through the wall, and inject high-density structural polyurethane through it, covering the outside of the building with an impenetrable waterproof barrier.

Can’t fix the problem yourself? Don’t stress. Call ACS and ask for a free assessment. There’s no obligation or strings attached.

ACS provides complete envelope protection for commercial buildings and HOAs. Customers trust us to waterproof their balconies, basements, patios, decks and walls.


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