I have been living in my house for about 5 years now. This is the baseboard in the basement. This just showed up this year, never had anything like this in the previous years. We have had some down pour rain in the area and since this is a 1940s house, I assume that it's not waterproofed correctly for downpours.

The rest of the baseboard in the basement is completely fine. This area also happens to be right below an egress window for the bedroom.

EDIT: Dug up the gravel in the egress window and found this crack in the foundation which lines up with where the water damage is https://imgur.com/ZSvr9mv

  • You think this is the only downpour in the last 80 years?
    – FreeMan
    Aug 1, 2023 at 15:28
  • I never said that.
    – Jay
    Aug 1, 2023 at 15:34
  • Yes it is water, but it comes from the floor, was the floor flooded
    – Traveler
    Aug 1, 2023 at 16:04
  • Floor was not flooded. I see no visible water damage anywhere else but this one area.
    – Jay
    Aug 1, 2023 at 16:24
  • @FreeMan the idea of finishing a basement was a ludicrous thought until about 30 years ago. Old builds expected basements to be humid and wet. Newer builds waterproof the basement per code.
    – AdamO
    Aug 1, 2023 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


The best bang for your buck with water penetration is not doing a root cause for the specific entry point, but ensuring that your standard water prevention is up to the highest degree, then re-evaluate your priorities. Obviously you need to fix the damaged spot but given it might happen again, that's less important.

Cracks in the foundation may let water in at a slightly higher rate, but gallons gallons of invisible water enter poured concrete basements every day in the form of humidity and hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure can cause visibly settling water to seep out of the concrete as if pressing down on a wet sponge.

The old basement technology was brilliant. The basement served as a reservoir for this humidity, and then it eventually passed through the wood floors or it settled into the concrete and left the way it came once the surrounding soil dried out. This was never intended to be a living space.

It simply may not be possible to have a finished basement in the house you're living in. It factors depending on the type of soil your house is built upon, the slope of the landscaping around it, and the type of climate you have. If you have a budget for it, you can do some simple and complex remediations:

  • Just keep a humidity monitor and check your data to know the times of year and exposures that increase humidity in your house
  • Check your gutters, extend your downspouts ALL the way out there.
  • Extend your rafters and eaves
  • You can buff up your egress by installing a shield which is allowed by (my) code as long as its operable and you can actually get out in case of a fire.
  • Grade the soil around your foundation to shed water away from the house
  • Dig trenches where applicable to divert water
  • Move plants and watering away from the foundation
  • Keep a dehumidifier running in the basement
  • Install a sump pump in/around the low point of the basement as some insurance in case of a flood (usually, this is when the sewer backs up through a basement drain.)
  • Thanks, these are all great suggestions. I dug up some gravel in the egress and noticed some cracks (imgur.com/ZSvr9mv) that I will fill with Quikrete Hydraulic Water-Stop Cement. Additionally I'm going to look into adding a cover for the egress. The grade away from the house is quite steep so I'm assuming that won't be an issue. I've checked all gutters and they are all at least 4' downspout pointing away from the house and I've recent cleaned them.
    – Jay
    Aug 1, 2023 at 17:39
  • @Jay that's a nasty crack and significantly worn. Quikrete is a great product. That's a curious finding RE: the foundation. Is this level of wear consistent in other parts of the foundation at this level? if not, the egress cover is a prudent addition. If so, this could be a frost issue.
    – AdamO
    Aug 1, 2023 at 18:17
  • From the outside, I do not know. I was only able to see this since the egress is filled with about 6" of gravel so I could just easily shovel it away to look at the foundation. The rest of the house is surrounded by soil so I can not as easily look at the rest. From the inside (most of the basement is unfinished), the walls all look good with no cracks whatsoever.
    – Jay
    Aug 1, 2023 at 18:24
  • @Jay Sounds like you have a plan and an approach. Good luck. Post updates.
    – AdamO
    Aug 1, 2023 at 18:31
  • imgur.com/a/4T4CwEZ Pulled back the baseboard, there is some mold and a bunch of sand in this area. Everywhere else looks good; there is no mold, water, or sand.
    – Jay
    Aug 1, 2023 at 21:08

It certainly looks like water damage.

Now you get the joyous task of trying to determine where the water got in. Which, with an already finished basement, is a pain in the arse.

Or you can consider cutting out the damaged section, cutting the wallboard back to an inch or two above the floor, and installing pressure-treated 1x2 boards as your baseboards. That won't do anything to keep water out, but it will keep small amounts of water from getting wicked up into the plaster, and will give you a rot-resistant area in contact with the floor.

There are other answers about how to keep water from entering in the first place, which may be expensive given where you're starting from, or how to try to catch it before it does damage (perimeter drains and the like). Searching for "basement water" should find most of them.

  • Yeah I'm thinking about cutting out the baseboard and the drywall to see where the water is coming through. However, since it is right under the egress window and no where else, I have a feeling the egress is not draining correctly and leaking into the basement.
    – Jay
    Aug 1, 2023 at 16:26
  • Possible. Or there could be a crack. Or the entry could be elsewhere and this is simply the low point where it puddled
    – keshlam
    Aug 1, 2023 at 16:29
  • I dug up some of the gravel in the egress and found this crack... I wonder if it is leaking in here. imgur.com/ZSvr9mv
    – Jay
    Aug 1, 2023 at 17:28
  • Only one way to be sure: catch it doing so. Otherwise all we can say is "could be..."
    – keshlam
    Aug 1, 2023 at 17:38

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