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Your basement foundation is built in a large hole. Before your basement foundation was poured, the virgin soil where your home is built was dug out to create the space to build the foundation. After the concrete for your basement foundation was poured and dried, a drain is installed near the basement footings and the area is backfilled.

Backfilled soil is much looser than the virgin soil since it has been disturbed and dug up. Virgin soil is undisturbed soil. Virgin soil is more compact and stable than backfilled soil which allows water movement next to your foundation.

Backfilled soil is much looser than the virgin soil since it has been disturbed and dug up. Virgin soil is undisturbed soil. Virgin soil is more compact and stable than backfilled soil which allows water movement next to your foundation.

Backfilled Soil - What Causes Basement Water Problems?

What Causes Basement Water Problems?

Clogged Footing Drains

A footing drain is installed just outside of your home’s basement foundation. This drain is meant to keep water away from your foundation but it can easily clog. The footing drain is thick pipe that has holes drilled into it to allow water to drip into the pipe.

Stone is laid on top of the drain pipe to prevent the backfill from clogging the pipe. Over time the backfill seeps through the stone and clogs the pipe. There’s no way to keep the footing pipe clean unless you want to excavate the ground surrounding your home to flush the pipe. This is incredibly messy, expensive and could damage your foundation. And who wants to do that?

Hydrostatic Pressure

A clogged footing drain will not collect any more water. So the water puddles up into the backfill and starts pushing against your home. The weight of the water creates pressure which pushes against your foundation – this is also called hydrostatic pressure.

The hydrostatic pressure pushes the water into the porous concrete and through cracks in the block or mortar. Over time the hydrostatic pressure, soil settlement and seasonal changes can result in basement wall cracks or cracks in the poured concrete.

Soil Settlement

The backfilled soil around your basement foundation will settle. As the soil settles it will sink towards your foundation, creating a slope which allows water to run next to your basement foundation, eventually causing hydrostatic pressure.

If your gutters don’t point away from your basement foundation then this can add to the soil settlement problem. You can help prevent some of the hydrostatic pressure from soil settlement by adding dirt to the sunken soil.


When hurricane season comes around, you need to do more than prepare for the hurricane by buying supplies. You also need to prep your home for the heavy rain and flooding that the storm may bring.

The heavy rain and flooding brought by the hurricane contribute to hydrostatic pressure and soil settlement. Both of which can result in basement wall cracks and a very wet basement. So when hurricane season comes around, make sure to check your sump pump, current waterproofing and have a plan in place to help keep your basement dry. When in doubt, call your local basement waterproofing experts.


Just like its summer and fall cousin, the Nor’easter is famous for flooding basements. The heavy rain and flooding caused by Nor’easters adds to hydrostatic pressure and soil settlement problems, both of which can cause basement wall cracks.

A Nor’easter can occur any time of the year but is notorious for occurring during the winter. It’s called a Nor’easter because it travels to the northeast from the south. These storms can cause flooding, hurricane force winds, heavy rain and snow. All of which can spell trouble for your basement.

Basement Wall Cracks

Concrete cracks happen. A basement wall crack or crack in your basement floor can let water in. The wall cracks are a sign that your basement foundation is experiencing other structural problems.

Water in the Basement FAQs

There are many potential reasons for concern regarding water in a basement. What do you need to know about this unassuming threat?

There are a number of potential reasons for water in a basement. You may have a crack in the walls or floor, which causes water to leak in from the outside. You might have a leak in your plumbing system. If you have a drainage system already in place, that system may have a clog.

In a well-built, well-maintained basement floor, water should not come up for no reason. However, there are many reasons water may come up through a basement floor. The best way to deal with this is to schedule an inspection so you can understand your current basement waterproofing problems and uncover a solution.

The potential reasons for water in your basement are varied: it could be as small as a misplaced sump pump switch or as extreme as an impending foundation collapse. That’s why it’s so important to contact a professional as soon as you notice that there’s water collecting in your basement, especially if it’s sudden or unexpected.

Because the reasons for water in your basement are so varied, it’s extremely important to contact a professional before you start in on any potential fix for water in your basement. A JES waterproofing expert can perform an inspection, then give you more information about your basement waterproofing options.

Are You Looking For Basement Waterproofing Contractors In Virginia, DC, Maryland, or Northeastern North Carolina?

At JES Foundation Repair our team of in-house basement waterproofing experts have warranted solutions for basements and foundations of all types.

If you would like a free quote, we’re ready to help you! Call or e-mail us today to schedule an on-site consultation and written quote!

Basement Water Problems FAQ

Basement water problems plague many homeowners. How can you fix the water problems that you’re currently having in your own basement?

You could have water in your basement for many different reasons. Settling soil around your basement could increase hydrostatic pressure, causing concrete cracks and other water leaking issues. Hurricanes and flooding can also cause more water than usual around your home, and backed up footing drains can even contribute to the problem.

If your home encounters sufficient hydrostatic pressure, it’s not impossible for your concrete floor to develop cracks, even minuscule and barely-visible cracks. These cracks can allow water to come up through the floor. If it’s hard to see the cracks, this can make it seem like water is “appearing” in your basement for seemingly no reason.

It’s almost impossible to avoid heavy rains. After a long week of thunderstorms or even after a single bad day of rain, you might expect to see signs of damage all throughout your yard. Of course, some of that excess rainwater might also seep into your basement—but is that really a big deal? 

In short, yes. You should never see rainwater in your basement, even after a heavy day or week of rain. If rainwater makes its way into your home, then it is entirely possible that you may have a leak on your hands. Leaks are more than temporary inconveniences. If you leave a leak unattended, it can grow to the point where it compromises the structural integrity of your entire home. 

Moisture’s Impact on Your Home 

Consider this: Moisture, as it makes its way into your home, can cause the materials making up your basement and foundation to rapidly expand and contract. In doing so, that moisture can generate a significant amount of stress within your home. In an attempt to endure that stress, the structural supports making up your basement can split. In doing so, they can allow even more moisture into your home, amplifying the initial problem and leading to further problems elsewhere in your home. 

Some of the most common problems related to leaks in your basement include: 

  • Mold growth 
  • Unpleasant and persistent smells 
  • Split floor joists 
  • Sagging floors 
  • Bowing walls 
  • Fogged windows 
  • Warped door frames and windowsills  

That little bit of water you see after a storm shouldn’t be ignored. Instead, if you notice signs of a leak in your basement, you can reach out to the professional contractors working in your area. Together, you can inspect your home and determine whether or not you have any substantial damage on your hands. If you do, you can request a free quote citing the cost of potential repairs and better determine what you want your repair budget to look like.

Although there are many purported DIY fixes for water in your basement, many of these so-called “fixes” are just bandages that won’t actually fix the underlying problem. The only way you can make sure you know what the problem is and how to fix it is to schedule an inspection from a JES basement waterproofing expert.

Drain Problems in Your Basement FAQs

Drain problems in a basement happen to many people with basement drains. What do you need to know for when these drain problems start occurring?

It all depends on exactly how the drain in your basement works. Many basement floor drains simply dump water into your home’s sewer system, the same way as any other drain in your home. Some locales require that the basement floor drain goes through a sump pump system to dump it outside the home.

There is an array of reasons why a drain in the basement could be backing up. The drain could be of poor quality, the handyman could have installed the drain improperly, there could be an issue with the drainage system, or there could be a blockage. Your best bet is to schedule an inspection to get more information.

There are a few reasons you might need to plug a basement floor drain. Some rural locations may need to plug basement floor drains to avoid overflow during a storm. However, many modern basement floor drains include one-way stops to avoid these problems.

If you’re having clogging problems with a basement drain, especially if this is a recurring problem, chances are there’s a deeper issue than just a clog. Instead of trying to run a snake down in the drain, you may want to schedule an inspection from a JES basement waterproofing expert, who can assess and help you fix the situation.

The Experts at JES can Help!

If you’re not sure of the source of your basement problem, give us a call at 757-301-4820, and schedule a free inspection. We’ll find out the cause of the problem and help you find the perfect solution. We’re proud to serve all of Hampton Roads, from Virginia Beach throughout Williamsburg and surrounding areas; Northern Virginia, DC, and Southern Maryland. View a complete list of our service areas.


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