Water intrusion

How would you explain this condition in your report & to your client.

It looks like a problem with the drainage system.



79806 Parma 021 (Small).jpg

79806 Parma 014 (Small).jpg

79806 Parma 016 (Small).jpg

The pictures do not show water intrusion from the walls itself. It would seem to me that the perimeter is not draining properly. Does the home have a perimeter drain system along with a sump pump?

Water is being forced between the slab floor and the basement wall and is due to hydrostatic pressure from the ground. The drain system, if any, around the basement is obviosly posing the problem. The white stain marks are probably from the “latex” paint the homeowner used to brighten up the basement.

This is water intrusion on a $430,000 home. I presume the foundation drainage tiles were clogged since the two sump pumps were not cycling during the time I was there. The builder said there was nothing wrong. They havent even sodded the yard yet!!! The white substance in the previous picture appears to be efflouresence which is minerals weeping from the concrete.

P8030009 (Small) (2).JPG

What did the grading around the home look like. Flat? Negitive toward the structure? No gutters? No plash blocks? All could be contributing factors.

“Inspector noted evidence of previous water penetration into the basment at the time of inspection. (depending on the exterior issues) Recommend a qualified trades-person review for repair and corrective measure to prevent water infiltration and further damage”

Good luck

Everything on the exterior looked good ie. slope away from home, gutters etc. 1 year new home waranty applies but homeowner may have to bring in the legal guns to move this along. It’s ashame the contractor is slow to respond.

Mr Macy,

if it were my azz i`d run a hose/water test on the outside, at ground level, directed towards basement wall, couple inches away.

run water/soak ground along wall-problem areas for up to about 45 minutes or, until water begins to enter.

IF…water enters then there is a problem/opening(s) in basement wall.
IF…No water enters then the problem/opening(s) allowing water in will most likely be above ground in the form of open mortar joint(s),loose-cracked-porous bricks,openings around basement window(s),new or old first floor or bsmt windows that have screens,openings around doors,flashings or where ANY service line enters etc.

IF…No openings above ground and no cracks/other openings in basement wall then about 10% of the time, there can be a blockage under the bsmt floor which can often be freed by snaking through storm trap.Yes, on longer-heavy rains water could accumulate,back up, rise up through openings/cracks in bsmt floor.

It`s quite difficult for me to tell in pics, block wall or poured?

As always, it would be best to SEE these parts of bsmt wall, easier to detect/define problem(s).

IF it`s poured the problem/opening(s) could just be rod holes which, if done/packed correctly, can be fixed from inside.

Block Walls often-not always have cracks on the OUTSIDE of the hollow block wall and NO crack(s) is visible from inside. This IS OFTEN where water FIRST enters a block wall, it stays inside the hollow blocks and falls/travels down to bottom courses where, it enters ONTO the floor at/along cove,cold joint. MANY assume/think this is a problem w/drain tiles but im trying to explain to you good folks, it isnt!

The Outside drain tiles have Nothing to do with WHY a basement wall leaks or why water enters at-along cove,cold joint. Sorry, thats the truth.

Drain tiles are laid/placed along the footing which is, below the cold joint,cove. I just explained why water Enters onto floors at cove, no matter what kinda bsmt wall. When there is paneling etc against walls one can`t see whether or not water is running down the wall from up high which would mean the problem/opening is near ground level and/or ABOVE ground level.

If there is a crack,seam,rod hole etc where water/moisture/mold/efflorescence/paint peeling etc has come through then THAT is the problem and so on. Its just a bit more difficult to detect cracks in/on outside of block walls, thus the reason and pain in the butt for doing hose/water test.

Back to the problem w/drain tile theory…if and when there is a problem w/water backing up under the floor it often, like i say, can be freed by snaking through storm trap.The water that accumulates under the floor has nothing to do w/supposed problem with outside drain tiles. Itll take a long time trying to postn explain all of this,lolol, but when water backs up under floor, yes it can be a problem and will enter onto floor THROUGH openings in floor inclg gaps along cold joint. Snake FIRST, if this doesnt solve problem under floor then theyll need a sump pump or 2 depending on size of basement and if home was built in high water table area-below sea level, like New Orleansn others.

On the other hand, there will be no need to snake etc IF and when the problems/water entry is due to cracks/openings in basement wall and/or above bsmt wall,know what i mean?

Then there are those 2-3 times a year when i run an estimate and basement wall has plastic/visqueen right up against it. This can cause quite a bit of condensation and if there is paneling up then the homeowner will only see the water at/near cold joint.

Are there times when a homeonwer/basement has 2 or 3 things/problems? Yes indeedy, sometimes water is entering through a crack in the bsmt wall and through openings around bsmt window/mortar joints/loose siding/stucco probs and/or blockage under the floor, hahaha, so, water,seepage,mold etc in basements are not always simply explainedn solved. Takes a lil time, care, patience. I`ll say it again, the outside drain tiles have NOTHING to do w/problem in basement.

nother way to look at things, some will follown some won`t:mrgreen:

Ya own a boat ok, and your out there on the lake, whats the only way that boat is going to take on water? :-k 

Yeah, a crack-opening in the Mayflower, Minnow, sure. Where is the Professor when ya need him? prolly w/Maryann;-) 

 Well, unless your in middle of hurricane.

 Now let me ask ya`s :-k .....are there drain tiles out in the lake? Did anyone put tiles out there? Will painting the boat help keep water out? :mrgreen:  If you answer yes here you popped too many pills and most likely just finished a gallon of scotch.

So with basements, other than having alot of water under a horizontal floor-a back up/blockage and water has no place to go under that horizontal floor but up through floor cracks/gaps ,then most often water is entering from the Outside through cracks `n other direct openings on the outside of the house. Find all openings `n fix `em correctly, got milk?:-k


Regarding repairs of really small vertical cracks in poured foundation walls, what products get the job done? Anything off the shelf? Cracks are so small it does not seem that you could inject anything with a syringe. I’ve seen some hard rubbery patch material that fans out on either side of the crack. I was in a house the other day when it was raining hard and there was some water coming through those small cracks.


i can`t seem to answer much in a paragraph or 2, sorry.:mrgreen:

There are times when some hairline cracks in poured walls are/appear hairline on Inside of basement yet, on outside they are a bit WIDER. Sometimes they can be wider at/near top of wall, in middle or lower.

Then other times, especially with lil-thin-shrinkage cracks, they dont go all the way through the wall. Some of these & some hairline vertical cracks can appear to bleed moisture/water on inside of basementn this bleeding happens quite often when these lil thin cracks run next to/through an open rod hole. It`s through the rod hole that is just beginning to give way, the cork inside and/or the lil thin damproofing outside is not enough to keep the water out.

Sometimes the rod holes are difficult to see on inside, theyve been painted over or maybe slightly patched over but will begin to give way if not sealed/packed correctly which happens alot. And so, anytime a lil thin crack is next to/nearby a rod hole thats giving way it can look like water/moisture is coming through a crack that doesnt actually go-through to the outside, know what i mean?

Then there have been a handful of times over the decades where there is a vertical crack that shows, you can see on inside and yet, on outside weve seen a diagonal hairline crack that is NOT visible on inside, doesnt go all the way through wall BUT, on outside lolol, the diagonal runs INTO the vertical crack :-k …yeah. They BOTH need to be sealed/waterproofed on outside because water-moisture will get INTO this diagonal crack and then, feed water into the vertical crack even though the vertical crack was waterproofed and backfilled w/peastone. hahahha, crazy stuff.

Your right, pretty darn hard to force anything into and through these tiny lil cracks, i dont go looking for products that can be applied on inside, cant help ya there much, sorry. We have seen many different types of things tried though and sooner or later when the crack widens due to soil pressure,roots,settling etc theyve leaked. Not saying all cracks will widen, no! Especially those shrinkage cracks, they dont seem to be much of a problem.

To me, if someone wants to play around on inside to try n seal a hairline crack then id try and open the crack up a bit, vee into it. If the wall is 12" thick then try to open it up 2-4" and then use hydraulic cement to fill. Some try and patch over cracks w/hydrualic cement n other things but if ya dont get it IN the wall a bit, it`ll just crack up and leak. Have seen the resins,epoxies,urethane etc and 50% of the time they do indeed re-leak due to the crack widening from expanding-contracting soil pressure,settling etc.

Another thing on some thin vertical cracks is that they can run UP to top of bsmt wall and NOT go-through the width of wall and so, on these what can happen is water/moisture that enters through ABOVE ground openings can land on TOP on the bsmt wall and then fall into/travel through the top of crack and appear 1-3’ or so down. :mrgreen: Those above ground openings imo account for about 20-25% of ALL water entry problems…open mortar joints,loose-cracked-porous bricks, openings around basement windows, around doors, and any other direct entryways.

Remember, most basement walls are NOT Waterproofed when built, they are most likely damproofed or parged AND, they are Not backfilled with all peastone/gravel/sand, they are backfilled with most-all of whatever soil was excavated from site…all this is not good and why problem/leaks etc can occur.

Along with the soil from site that is backfilled against basement walls is OFTEN pieces of concrete, full or broken bricks and blocks, wood and cans, and even BIG rocks/boulders are sometimes pushed in. All this CRAP along with the soil will pull down alot of/most of the damproofing that was applied to the bsmt wall AND as it all compacts and settles can `n often will cause cracks in basement walls, leaks etc.

I would explain the condition as their is evidence of moisture intrusion(s) along the perimeter of the basement walls and recommend an additional inspection by a professional who specializes in basement drainage/ waterproofing. If the gutters have in ground drain lines they can perform a dye test to see if there are leaks in the system and other drain tiles. Granted if there are other obvious contributing factors such as faulty gutter drainage, and/ or grading and exterior drainage concerns. The recommendation would be to address those also.

Unlike Bubber recommends…I would not turn the garden hose on for 45 minutes on the exterior and see if I could duplicate the problem. It is not the home inspectors place to try to flood the basement.
Besides if I were the seller and found that someone performed such a test without my consent I would be torqued. Just some common sense. …and asking for trouble.

I know up here 45 minutes of a hose is not much water when compaired to a 15 minute rain .
Even then the leak might not show for many hours or even days as the water slowly gets to the lower foundation .
Also we have lots that are on a well and 45 minutes just might run the well dry .
I agree no hose testing for me . Roy Cooke


Duh, if one really wants to DEFINE what/where the problems could be, this is a dang good way, sheesh!

Of course one will have the homeowners consent, gommie a freakin` break, what a wimpy response.

See, quite a few HIs would rather just fluff it off-recommend raising the grade and bunch of other nonsense and hey, thats fine, fine w/me :mrgreen: Just be aware that when you charge to inspect basement walls/leaks etc and you recommend to HO to raise grade and other crap(no water in basement day of inspection-haha) instead of defining the problem(s) and the buyer moves in and has problem/leak, just know that i and other contractors will be backing these buyers who got screwed, sure they did, from the seller AND from those of you who keep pullin this shtt. Yeah, see ya in court!

I posted the water-test crap to try n help ANYONE, hey, the homeowners can do this themselves if they want, i didnt say it had-to-be you. You ‘supposedly’ THOROUGHLY-INSPECT the basement walls, no?:shock:

See, some of you on one hand say you do all these great things when inspecting homes, you take your TIME because you supposedly CARE and that your very thorough. Well, ya certainly don`t care & are NOT thorough if you are not going to explain this to them or help them w/it.

Yeah, ive seen/know the game some of you play, and so have others. Youd rather not spend the TIME, its much EASIER for YOU to state on yer dumb inspection sheet that you couldn`t inspect walls-leak due to paneling etc. Am i right or am i right? :mrgreen: i said ‘quite a few’ not all. Help the homeowners for krist sake, at least, be more informative about these situations.

Do you people charge the homeowners to fully-thoroughly inspect the basement walls/leaks or Not? Which is it? If not, FINE but then you shouldn`t be charging them for something that your really not inspecting.Get your rear end completely OUT of these situations which sometimes wind up in court.

How much do ya like me now, huh? :mrgreen:

My state’s standard of practice specifically states: “Home inspectors are NOT required to report on: [FONT=Verdana]the causes of the need for a repair.” We have to identify the problem, not the cause or solution. That’s what’s so wonderful about our job.

You endear yourself to many with your comments, I’m sure.

Well said without all the ranting!!!:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

Whoa whoa whoa Johnny, back the train up!

It seems that you have a few glarring misconceptions about home inspection.

First off, we are GENERALISTS who inspect the overall conditions of the home’s systems. A home inspector definately is obligated to report on such conditions and report on the causes IF KNOWN WITHIN THEIR EXPERTISE (keyword: expertise). As a home inspector, I am knowledgable about the construction, conditions and threats to the various foundation systems of a house but I am not a FRAUD and pretend to be a foundation EXPERT. Therefore, I defer inspection of such conditions as this one to a real EXPERT. It’s a shame that there are ignorant contractors out there who see such situations as the opportunity for a fruitless lawsuit instead of a business opportunity.

Second, contray to popular believe, we DON’T claim to have the God-like powers of observation, time management and resourcefulness pertaining to houses. How would I have the time, knowledge and tools to diagnose ALL the problems with a house during an inspection? Do I simply book one inspection a day to play expert when the real experts have the goods to get the job done? Gee, I thought the value of my job was to DETECT problems. Afterall, that is what I make clear BEFORE every inspection I do (funny, customers are satisfied with that).

Third, should I risk further damage to a property in the name of “thoroughness”; either as the guy holding the hose or the guy who recommended it? Wouldn’t further flooding the basement and possibly worsening the facilitating conditions open me up to a lawsuit that would be very difficult to defend? I guess the courts would think that property damage is just A-Okay if it were done in good faith by a non-expert.

Last, whomever simply recommends regrading and drainage correction without inspection by a foundation expert in this situation DOES deserve to get sued but who are you talking about? I doubt any of them are NACHI members.

So I may wind up in court, huh? I’ve heard of a new fangled thing in the legal system called counter-suits. Somehow, it seems that filing such a lawsuit against me qualifies as slander that would have high costs in the form of lost business.

I guess I should book only one inspection per day to satisfy the “thoroughness” that Johnny deems necessary. Afterall, who knows when I’ll have to find the exact causes of a leaking finished foundation wall, an long electrical circuit with high line impedance concealed behind finished walls, moisture stains on a finished wall that are not near any plumbing, a patio that slopes into a house and various other conditions that I must properly diagnose to satisfy my newly found obligations. I bet my clients wouldn’t mind paying me over a thousand per inspection for such service, even if it may be cheaper for an expert to diagnose (don’t bids usually include a free evaluation?).

Since mr. bubber is so thorough in his inspection and diagnosis of the foundation, perhaps he could explain how he inspects the HVAC system equally as thoroughly?

Report the condition, defer to an expert.

Maybe I’ll check the distribution ducting of forced air systems by flooding the plenum with chemical smoke. Hopefully I’ll have the conditioning to sprint around the entire duct run to document all of the leaks and the overall distribution balance.

And while I’m at it, I’ll buy one of those $10,000 Craftsman tool kits so that I can do a complete tear down and rebuild of the furnace. Who knows when I’ll find a dirty heat exchanger or an improperly tuned blower fan!