We built a new house last year and it was completed in June. Ever since we’ve lived here I notice the basement block walls seem to look damp in areas, especially after a rain storm. I’m certain there is a tar barrier on the outside and footer drains as well as french drains tied to a sump crock. The sump pump runs maybe 2-3 times per hour for about 15 seconds on a regular day. We’ve never had any standing water even after days of the worse rain storms I’ve ever seen earlier this year.

My question is if his is normal or if I need to be contacting the builder about this issue? The block isn’t sealed inside and I plan to paint/seal it soon to begin finishing the basement but I want to make sure everything is correct before I proceed.

  • it normal for sure. i don't think i've ever been in house that didn't have some of that going on, many even seep, but then again my town was basically built on a swamp. if that was a big rainstorm, you're actually looking pretty good. make sure the gutters are working. if you do finish the basement, be sure to run a dehumidifier and provide breathing room between the drywall and cinder block. you can spend a fortune to remedy the "problem", but it won't hurt much if you keep the humidity under control.
    – dandavis
    Jan 14, 2018 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


You can see from the second picture that the water originates at ground level. It permeates into the hollow cores and then follows the cores down.

It could be a grading problem, where the soil doesn't slope enough away from the house (initial settlement of the backfill), and/or downspouts that discharge too close to the house.

Make sure the rain gutter system isn't clogged and use downspout extensions to discharge the water 10' away from the foundation.

The backfill settles, so you may have to improve the grade for the first 6 to 10 feet around the foundation. Put heavy plastic sheeting against the foundation up to the height that additional fill will be added, and extending over the current soil going out 6-8 feet. Then put new soil on top of it to create a good grade away from the house.

  • +1, just as a mention, the OP needs to check if the grade is covering over the waterproofing. If the water that is at grade does not have the waterproofing there to stop it, it will still seep in.
    – Jack
    Jan 15, 2018 at 18:49

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