Pending home sale reveals wet basement

I’ve done hours of research on wet basements since I found out that the home I’ve put an offer on has this problem. I’ve come to the conclusion that exterior basement waterproofing versus interior waterproofing is the way to go, since interior will not solve the issue and it can lead to bigger problems.

The inspector thinks it’s coming from a corner in the basement and that it may be caused by roots from a tree just outside of it. However, this was said in the middle of the inspection. I will have the full inspection report tomorrow.

Should I even continue to pursue buying this home? I will obviously get the seller to pay for all of the repair costs or I will fold on the deal. We do want this home but we don’t want a big problem on our hands. If any experienced contractors in the Maryville, TN area want my business, please feel free to contact me.

Below are some pictures of water in the basement and the corner that the inspector believes it’s coming from. I will have more pictures and a full inspection report tomorrow. The home was built in 1950.

Water in basement 1

Water in basement 2

Corner where leak may be coming from

in case you don’t know, the exterior of those and pretty much all other block foundation walls were NOT waterproofed when built.

They ‘might’ have been parged, that’s about it…MAYBE.

So if they were parged when it was built, that parging often cracks/deteriorates which then allows water/moisture to enter the blocks and cause x-amount of mold or efflorescence on the inside of some of the blocks…as in your photo #3.

Just from that photo (3rd) it appears that basement (exterior of walls) will need MORE done than just the corner.

When anyone looks at the interior of block or brick foundation walls, it often does not show/tell the REAL story, that being the exterior shape of the walls. There will often be one or more exterior vertical or step or horizontal cracks that do not appear on the inside of block walls.

Here’s a block wall we just did yesterday… 2 vid’s

…corner crack… this crack is not visible on the inside of the wall

other exterior cracks

We use hydraulic cement in/over the exterior cracks and any other exterior openings, then a thick roofing cement/mastic over everything—top to bottom, end to end, then 6 mil visqueen over the mastic, then backfill with ALL gravel from the footing all the way UP to within a few inches of the grade.

This job cost $2,000, took one day to do, that means we hand dug it… cleaned the walls, sealed the cracks/wall and backfilled, all clay soil etc was hauled away and site cleaned up (just to give you an idea of cost etc). If you have questions you can try calling if you wish, just let me know

Here’s a video of a piece of crap interior basement system that was previously installed by one of many lying, fraudulent sob companies… cost $10,000.
Did this system STOP water from getting into the basement through exterior cracks in the block walls? NOPE

Where is the company who installed the system? As Ernie Harwell used to say, they are… long gone! So too if the supposed lifetime warranty.

Go back to the first two videos posted, or the house you are thinking about buying… EXTERIOR cracks, how would ANY interior basement system and sump pump stop further water from entering those exterior cracks? NOT gonna happen, never does. It’s all a scam, bunch of lies


Thank you so much for the reply and the videos. I appreciate what you’re doing, exposing the interior companies who deceive homeowners. I probably would have fell for it if it wasn’t for your posts.

I received the full inspection report and these are his comments regarding the basement standing water:

“Major Concern: Standing water was observed in the basement. Basement water problems can sometimes develop as a
result of damaged, congested or ineffective perimeter foundation drainage tiles (often referred to as “weeping tiles”), or
improper discharge of water from gutters and downspouts. It is impossible to predict the condition of drainage tiles
during a visual inspection of the basement. Depending on the location of the house, ground water tables can sometimes
influence amount of water in the basement as well. Ground water levels tend to fluctuate seasonally and during heavy
rainfall. It is impossible to predict what influence ground water may have, during a one-time inspection of a home. If
ground water fluctuation causes water to enter the basement, the installation of effective drainage tiles (and sump pumps,
in some cases) becomes necessary. It is recommended that a drain system contractor be contacted to evaluate the need
for and/or the needed to design and install a system to control the water in the basement.”

He also said this regarding “basement leakage”:

“Monitor: For owners of many older homes, basement leakage is a way of life. During rainy periods, or during the
spring thaw, leakage is experienced. As basement leakage rarely influences the structural integrity of a home, and
because basements of older homes usually remain unfinished, this condition is simply tolerated. Some precautions are,
of course, taken to avoid damage to storage and personal belongings.”

He also did mention that gutters need to be cleaned, a downspout re-attached, that the downspouts are not discharging at least 5 ft away from the home, and that vent wells should be provided for the front and rear of the home to help protect basement against surface water. So this can be exacerbating the issue.

All I have is this picture of holes above the ground, who knows what’s happening below ground:

Anyway, I guess the next step is finding someone who knows what they’re doing on the exterior. I assume you wouldn’t travel to Tennessee to do work? Do you have any recommendations? I only found one company that does exterior only work in Tennessee and they don’t serve my area. I don’t trust the guys that say they do both interior and exterior.

Why do you not trust guys that do both. John has given you a good description of what needs to be done. Contact some local companies, describe the scope of the work (he provided)and get a quote on the repairs and warrantee information.

You might get two or more quotes

Hope this helps


i hate to b-slap the home inspector about THIS SUBJECT and what he wrote but, he’s …lost in space. There we go again with the STUPID INCOMPETENT crap about supposed problem with drain tiles aka weeping tiles!@!@#!!!#@#

your last photo… yep sure can get water in through those above ground openings and insects and rodents as well.

hmmm, take a ride to the volunteer state? we did go to the middle of Pennsylvania so i guess it would depend on ‘how much waterproofing is actually needed there’. And i couldn’t get there until sometime in the summer, likely not what you want to hear.

that house/basement… sure, some water likely is entering through above ground openings (as in photo) and some entering through below ground/exterior cracks etc in walls. Also need to get a handle on IF there are any leaky, dripping plumbing fixtures in basement.

just about every leaky basement i have seen throughout 39 years was DUE TO, exterior cracks or cracked parging etc in basement walls and–or openings above ground. Sure, a few were due to some sort of leaky plumbing fixture or condensation problem where someone placed plastic/visqueen against basement walls (behind drywall). Not talking about those who get water UP through floor drains etc.

If you could find someone down your way who can do exterior waterproofing i would be willing to help you if you like per their contract/proposal as some of these contractors like to backfill with most or all of the existing ****ty soil, not a good idea imo. i don’t want a stinking Trump penny, only to see these jobs get done correctly.
here’s a 80+ year old woman who almost got taken to the cleaners by a different dipstick cheat contractor… they told her several lies and gave her an estimate of $11,000 JUST to do ONE wall plus pour a couple concrete slabs … she ONLY needed one small 5’ area done as there was only 1 vertical crack in a poured wall, NO reason at all to do more waterproofing, zip, zero YET they tried bs’ing her

this homeowner was told lots of lies by an interior basement system company… they gave him an estimate of $20,000…listen to him.
He ONLY was getting water on basement floor in ONE area so any honest experienced contractor would KNOW he will only need a small area done!!!
The scamming idiots in this business are plentiful

you can call my old azz if you like just know, i explain this subject in truth and passion and sometimes a few 4 letter come flying out of Bubba’s jib, sorry 586 777 7973 before 6:00 pm

I guess I’m just skeptical because interior seems like such an incorrect way to do things that I don’t know why a legitimate company would offer it. Anyway, I’ve scheduled two contractors to come out and give estimates on Thursday. One leans towards interior but does some exterior and another is very knowledgeable about exterior.

You’re very generous, John! I’m not surprised you are staying busy. I’m feeling a lot more confident in the house after you post. Maybe what we can do is try to have the sellers pay for as much repair as possible before moving in and then if there’s still problems we can pay you to come up during the summer after we have occupied the residence OR we can reduce the sale price in the house and just pay you in the summer to do it all from the beginning. I will see what these two contractors say on Thursday.

I’m concerned maybe there are other issues that I should have inspected before I buy the home, since this issue has been happening for who knows how long without it being resolved. Do you think it would be wise to do more thorough mold and/or foundation inspections? The inspector did not note any problems with either.

Also, I had no idea Tennessee was called the volunteer state, so I looked it up - interesting stuff!


you mentioned you have 2 contractors coming to give you estimates on Thursday… maybe explain to them what you want done, exterior waterproofing. You could tell them you want all cracks in walls sealed with hydraulic cement and then you want the problems areas coated (applied by hand) roofing cement/mastic (from the top of wall to bottom, end to end), and then apply a 6 mil visqueen over the roofing cement and then backfill with ALL clean gravel from the footing all the way up to within a few inches of grade… tell 'em to write it all down this way with a cost (incl’g permit fee if necessary if your city)

6th 6th 6th 6th 6th 6th paragraph… GRAVEL backfill very important

we just did 1 1/2 block walls on Friday, see the hairline horizontal cracks (both walls) and the vertical CORNER CRACK…

this was all hand dug, waterproofed and backfilled in 8 1/2 hours (1 day) so don’t let anyone try and tell you that it would take 3-5 days to waterproof 1 or 2 walls.

Also in that video, NOTICE on the side wall another moron-contractor previously dug out about 12’, they only backfilled with 2–21/2’ of gravel, MISTAKE!

The homeowner just bought this home, had a MOLD problem inside basement and was told the entire wall was PROFESSIONALLY WATERPROOFED by a reputable company just before sale… NONSENSE! loll

Ryan, does it look like any of your block walls are bowed in? The home inspector you had over, was he/she a Nachi inspector? Does the basement smell as if there’s a mold problem? I do see what appears to be at least a little mold on some blocks in one photo.