My garage has such excessive moisture that I am often replacing pliers and other tools due to the constant rust that forms on their surface.

It is not currently thermally regulated, but I have considered a dehumidifier (though, with such a large opening for the door, I feel like it would be moot).

The bottom floor is built out of cinder block, and is built into the grade of the hill. It appears as if they may have tarred the outside of the building, however I still get water weeping through the wall.

I've read that some people apply some sort of water-blocking paint to the inside, however that seems like it would invite frost-jacking when it freezes out.

  • What would be a good way to control the moisture, and prevent the intrusion short of excavating the entire perimeter of the building?
  • I have a "whole house" fan on the top of the building, not sure if this will invite more moisture or help remove it.
  • Since I've had this issue for a while now, I tend to leave the windows open to help it "breathe"... Again, this may not help either. I can't decide if making it air tight is better (condensing the moisture inside), or having openings (inviting the moisture to exit) is better.

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  • How are you connecting waterproof paint with frost jacking?
    – isherwood
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 20:27
  • @isherwood -- My assumption is, that if water is able to navigate through the brick, that painting the inside of the structure will allow the water to get in, but not weep out... Since that water is just "parked" there, it gives an opportunity for it to freeze a larger quantity -- therefore creating a larger crack.
    – user61305
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 20:31
  • I don't believe you'd have significantly more water in the block after sealing. Right now it's probably nearly saturated anyway.
    – isherwood
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 21:04
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2 Answers 2


The problem is obvious from the picture. The water sheds down that hill right where the house is. There is a house near me that is at the base of a hill and it floods regularly even though mine does not. It is because he is at the base of the hill.

To solve the problem, you need to dig a trench between the house and the hill that is deeper than your foundation and put a drainage pipe in the bottom of the trench to drain the water somewhere else.

  • Do you think that would help with normal groundwater seeping through as well? Or do you think the french drain should mitigate that? Even without flowing water I tend to have a high moisture level :/
    – user61305
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 17:16
  • 1
    @RobertLerner It is likely that 95% of the water is coming down that hill. The water is like in a "table" or underground river that flows around the house. You need to divert that river. Water that is falling as rain just on the surrounding ground is probably trivial compared to the water that is coming down the hill. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 17:45
  • Thanks Tyler, I'll give running some french drains along the building a shot!
    – user61305
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 16:30
  • 1
    The question asks about solutions "short of excavating the entire perimeter of the building". Strange that you've accepted exactly that as your answer.
    – isherwood
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 16:31
  • @isherwood - I meant from the scope of digging down to the bottom of the foundation, and tarring up the brick. Digging out a trench seems like less work than that, and I have to accept that my "ideal" solution may not be the right one. I have up-voted your response regardless because it was helpful, but obviously I can only accept one, and I didn't want to be a "newb" and leave the answer open forever.
    – user61305
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 17:17

You'll see a huge improvement by 1) sealing the concrete, even from the inside, and 2) ventilating well.

You're right that moisture is wicking through the block, and you can stop most of it with a sealer. Ventilation will almost always help the situation, and will not draw significant additional moisture out of the walls.

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