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How To Keep Water Out Of Your Basement

Keeping water out of your basement is vital to maintaining the integrity of your home’s structure and providing a healthy living environment.

Typically, the most trouble area of the basement is the location below ground, hence becoming the cause of some health hazards. Fortunately, there are effective steps you can take to prevent water from invading this important space.

After a heavy rain, many homeowners discover the challenge of keeping their basements dry. This situation underscores the importance of proactive measures.

From improving drainage to sealing potential entry points, this article covers essential strategies to keep your basement dry and your home safe. Read on to discover proven strategies for safeguarding your basement against water damage.


Improve Drainage Around Your Home

A well-functioning drainage system around your home prevents water from accumulating near your foundation. Standing water can seep into your basement, leading to moisture problems, mold growth, and even structural damage. 

Here’s what you can do to ensure proper drainage:

  • Ensure gutters are clean and functional: Make it a habit to clean gutters regularly, removing leaves, debris, and any other potential obstructions. Make sure your downspouts extend at least three feet away from your house to direct water flow away from the foundation.

  • Grade your lawn for optimal drainage: The soil around your house should slope slightly downward at about one inch per foot, away from the foundation. This gentle slope encourages water to flow naturally away from your home and prevents pooling near the walls.

  • Install a French drain system if necessary: If your yard has poor drainage or low-lying areas where water tends to collect, consider installing a French drain. This perforated pipe buried in a gravel-filled trench collects and redirects water away from your foundation.

By implementing these strategies, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of water infiltration and keep your basement dry and healthy.

Seal Cracks And Gaps

Even the smallest cracks or gaps in your basement walls and floor can act like entry points for moisture. For an effective seal against moisture, follow these targeted steps:

  • Inspect thoroughly: Meticulously examine your basement walls and floor for any cracks, gaps, or holes. Pay close attention to areas around windows, doors, and where the wall meets the floor. A flashlight can help spot hairline cracks that might otherwise be missed.

  • Choose the right sealant: The best sealant for the job depends on the size and type of crack. For small hairline cracks, a high-quality caulk is typically sufficient. Larger cracks or gaps may require a hydraulic cement or epoxy resin designed for stronger adhesion and filling power.

  • Apply meticulously: After choosing the appropriate sealant, thoroughly clean the crack or gap with a wire brush and damp rag to remove any dirt or debris. Then, following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply the sealant carefully, ensuring it fills the crack and forms a smooth, watertight bond.

By diligently sealing any cracks or gaps in your basement, you’ll significantly reduce the chance of water infiltration and help maintain a dry and healthy basement environment.


Install A Sump Pump System

For basements that experience frequent water infiltration, a sump pump system can be a lifesaver. 

For optimal performance of a sump pump system, here are the key considerations:

  • Choosing the right pump: Select a sump pump that can handle the typical water volume in your basement. Factors like square footage and rainfall patterns will influence this decision. Consulting a plumber can help ensure you choose a suitable pump.

  • Proper installation: To collect water, a sump pump needs a designated pit on your basement floor. The pump should have a check valve to prevent pumped water from flowing back in and a discharge pipe to route water away from the foundation.

  • Regular maintenance: Don’t underestimate the importance of regular sump pump maintenance. Test your pump functionality periodically, especially before heavy rain seasons. Additionally, consider installing a battery backup system to ensure your pump continues to operate during power outages.

Implementing a well-chosen and well-maintained sump pump system can significantly reduce the risk of basement flooding and ensure a dry, healthy environment.


Are you using your basement as a guest bedroom? Make sure it's watertight!

Waterproof Your Basement Interior

Even with excellent exterior drainage and sealed cracks, moisture can still enter your basement. 

For an extra layer of defence, consider these waterproofing measures for your basement interior:

  • Apply a waterproofing sealant: A coat of waterproofing sealant on your basement walls can significantly reduce water absorption. Choose a high-quality sealant specifically designed for concrete or masonry surfaces.

  • Control humidity with a dehumidifier: Basements are naturally prone to higher humidity levels. Using a dehumidifier can help regulate moisture in the air, preventing condensation on walls and reducing the risk of mold growth.

  • Be vigilant about plumbing leaks: Even small leaks in pipes or fixtures can contribute to moisture problems in your basement. Replacing plumbing pipes that are old, corroded, or prone to leaks can prevent significant water damage and contribute to a dry basement environment.

  • Regularly inspect your plumbing for any signs of leaks and address them promptly to prevent water damage.

By implementing these interior waterproofing strategies, you can create a drier, healthier environment in your basement and minimize the chance of moisture-related issues.


Safeguarding your basement from water damage demands a comprehensive approach, from external drainage improvements to internal waterproofing and maintenance. Adopting these strategies protects your home’s foundation and preserves the health and comfort of your living space. 

Take action today by assessing your home’s vulnerability to water intrusion and implementing the necessary measures. Let this guide be the first step towards a secure and water-resistant basement.


Jenny Kakoudakis

Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.


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