Why is Your Concrete Foundation Wet? - Causes and Fixes

September 15, 2023

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Homeowners often find themselves asking, why is my concrete foundation wet? This is a vital topic, as many property owners know that moisture is concretes #1 enemy! Ignoring moisture issues around your property can mean a weak or damaged foundation. It can also mean cracks that risk secondary damage, including wood rot and mold.

The answer to the question, why is my concrete foundation wet, might include:

  • Poor drainage around the property
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Groundwater seepage
  • Condensation
  • Surface water

Other issues can risk a wet, damaged foundation around your home. To find out more about this issue, keep reading! Also, a foundation repair contractor near you can advise on how to keep your home in good condition. This might include waterproofing and other maintenance needed for your concrete foundation.

why is my concrete foundation wet

Why Is My Concrete Foundation Wet? An In-Depth Look

There are many causes for a wet concrete foundation. Identifying the specific reason for moisture around your property is crucial! This is the first step needed to address the issue properly. Here are some common reasons why a concrete foundation may be wet:

Poor Drainage

Inadequate grading around your home can lead to water pooling near the foundation. If the ground slopes towards the foundation rather than away from it, rainwater or melting snow can seep into the soil around the foundation. In turn, it gets wet and might not dry as needed.

Leaking Plumbing

Plumbing leaks from water supply lines or drainage systems can introduce moisture into the soil beneath or around your foundation. This moisture can then permeate through the concrete.

Groundwater Seepage

A high water table or excessive groundwater in the soil can sometimes lead to hydrostatic pressure. This causes water to push its way through the foundation walls or floor. Without proper drying, the concrete then stays wet.

Foundation Cracks

Cracks in the foundation can provide a pathway for water to enter. Even small cracks can allow moisture to seep through, and these should be sealed to prevent further water infiltration. Without sealing, the moisture can remain and risk severe damage.


If the interior of your home is significantly cooler or warmer than the exterior, condensation can form on the concrete surface. This can give the appearance of a "wet" foundation, but external water sources do not cause it.

Surface Water

Rainwater runoff from roofs, gutters, or downspouts not properly directed away from the foundation can contribute to foundation moisture. Also, malfunctions or inadequate maintenance can result in water accumulation if you have a sump pump system in your basement or crawl space.

What Does Water-Damaged Concrete Look Like?

Water-damaged concrete can exhibit various signs and symptoms. Also, the extent of damage often varies. This depends on factors like the duration of exposure, the concrete type, and the water intrusion's severity. Here are some common ways water damage can manifest in concrete:

  • Water-damaged concrete often appears darker or discolored than undamaged concrete. This discoloration can be caused by water absorption and minerals leaching within the concrete.
  • Efflorescence is the white, powdery substance that can form on the surface of concrete when water evaporates and leaves behind dissolved salts. It's a common sign of water damage.
  • Prolonged exposure to water can lead to cracking in concrete. The expansion and contraction of the concrete as it absorbs and dries out from moisture can cause these cracks.
  • Spalling is the chipping or flaking of the concrete surface. It can occur when water enters the concrete and causes it to freeze and expand, breaking the surface.
  • Water damage can result in small pits or depressions on the concrete surface. These pits are often caused by concrete erosion due to water action over time.
  • Water can carry contaminants that stain the concrete. For example, rust from metal objects or organic matter can leave unsightly stains on the concrete surface.
  • Excessive moisture can create a favorable environment for algae, mold, or mildew growth on the concrete surface, leading to a green or blackish appearance.

It's important to note that not all these signs may be present in every instance of water damage. If you suspect water damage to your concrete, addressing the issue promptly is essential. This will prevent further deterioration and structural problems.

foundation waterproofing

Is It OK for a Foundation to Get Wet?

Foundations can tolerate some degree of moisture exposure without suffering significant damage. However, managing and controlling moisture levels is essential to prevent problems. These include severe deterioration, mold growth, and structural issues. Note a few added considerations about damp concrete foundations:

  • Foundations are designed to handle exposure to rain and natural groundwater to some extent. Proper grading, drainage systems, and waterproofing can help direct water away from the foundation and minimize moisture penetration.
  • Ensuring that water does not accumulate or stand around the foundation is crucial. Standing water can lead to problems like foundation settling, erosion, and infiltration.
  • Installing effective drainage systems, such as gutters, downspouts, and French drains, can help divert water away from the foundation. These systems are critical for managing moisture levels around the foundation.
  • Waterproofing measures can be applied to the foundation walls and floors in areas prone to excessive moisture or with a high water table. This includes using waterproofing membranes, coatings, or sealants to create a barrier against moisture.
  • In some climates, foundation vents can help reduce moisture levels by promoting air circulation beneath the foundation. However, these vents may need to be sealed or controlled in very humid or wet conditions to prevent excessive moisture entry.
  • In areas with frequent water intrusion, a sump pump can be installed in the basement or crawl space to remove excess water and prevent flooding.

How Do You Fix Moisture in a Foundation?

To fix moisture issues in a foundation, consider the following:

  • Start by inspecting the interior of your basement or crawl space for signs of moisture, such as damp walls, puddles, or condensation. Examine the exterior of your home for grading issues, cracks in the foundation, and areas where water might be collecting or seeping into the foundation.
  • Ensure that the ground slopes away from the foundation, directing rainwater and surface runoff away from the house. Install or repair gutters, downspouts, and extensions to divert roof water from the foundation. Consider adding French drains or exterior drain tile systems to help manage groundwater.
  • Seal any visible cracks in the foundation walls or floor using epoxy or polyurethane injection. This will prevent further moisture intrusion. For larger structural issues, consult with a professional foundation repair contractor.
  • Apply waterproof coatings or membranes to the exterior of the foundation walls to create a moisture barrier. Consider installing a drainage board or dimpled membrane along the exterior foundation to redirect water away from the walls.
  • If water intrusion is a persistent problem, consider installing an interior drainage system, such as a perimeter or French drain, to collect and redirect water to a sump pump. The collected water can then be pumped away from the foundation to prevent flooding.

A Word From Our Crew

Lansing Foundation Repair Experts is happy to answer why my concrete foundation is wet. Hopefully, we've given you a lot to think about! Also, call our Lansing foundation repair contractors when you're in the market for expert services. We offer repairs, waterproofing, and more. To get your property started, contact us today!


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