How to Protect Damaged Basement Walls

Moisture in the basement can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, leading to air quality problems in the home. It can also lead to structural damage to the foundation, resulting in expensive repairs.

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How to Protect Damaged Basement Walls
5 Min Read February 3rd, 2023

When you have a basement, you want to ensure it is protected. 

There are many different ways that you can do this, but one of the most important is to repair and seal damaged basement walls. This will ensure that your walls are not only sealed but will prevent any moisture from coming inside.

Repair Cracks 

If you have a basement, you probably already know that there is a great deal of pressure exerted on the foundation walls from the outside. This hydrostatic pressure can lead to cracks.

A foundation is a series of concrete walls that surround a home's crawl space. These walls are designed to resist moisture and keep the house in a stable environment. Cracks in the walls can cause moisture to enter the basement and promote mold growth.

Foundation wall cracks can occur in poured or masonry walls. They typically form diagonally, from the corners to the center.

Vertical foundation cracks can be quite large. These can be a sign of a major structural problem. You may need to waterproof the walls or add an elastomeric membrane.

Use Epoxy Sealant

Structural cracks can be repaired with an epoxy sealant. The material is injected into the crack and cured for 24 hours.

Use Caulk

Another method is to use caulk. There are several types of caulk available, including latex and silicone. Some are able to fill a crack deeper than the hairline.

Apply a Waterproof Sealant to the Walls

If you are experiencing damp basements, you might want to consider a waterproof sealant. 

A damp basement can cause mold to grow and pests to be attracted to your home. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that over 60% of basements in the United States have some level of moisture.

There are many different types of waterproofing sealants. It is important to make sure that you select a product specifically made for basement walls.

Remove Old Mortar

Before applying any waterproofing sealant to your walls, it is a good idea to remove any old mortar. This can be done with a wire brush or a sandblaster. Removing the old mortar is important because it can interfere with the bond between the new sealant and the concrete.

Fill Cracked Walls

If your walls are a little cracked or have holes in them, you can fill them with epoxy and latex cement. Once they are cured, paint the walls over.

Waterproof Your Walls

If your walls are not in good condition, you might need to hire a contractor to get them waterproofed. These professionals can determine the root cause of your damp basement.

Basement Knee Wall

Building a basement knee wall is one of the best ways to protect your damaged basement walls from further damage. 

A knee wall is a low wall, typically built out of wood, that is installed along the wall perpendicular to the floor. The knee wall will provide extra support for the damaged walls while also serving as a barrier to water and pests. 

Prepare the Space

Before you begin installing your basement knee wall, make sure your area is clean and prepared for construction. This includes removing any debris from the area and taking measures to protect your flooring. 

How to Build Knee Wall

Once you have prepped the space, it's time to start building the wall. Lay out two-by-fours along the floor, cut to size for the height of the wall. Secure each two-by-four with braces and screws at either end. Now, you're ready to attach the first layer of wallboard. Cut it to size and attach it to the two-by-fours with screws or nails every 16 inches. 

Once the first layer is in place, add a second layer of wallboard on top for extra protection. Fill any gaps between the wallboard and the two-by-fours with caulk or foam insulation. You may also need to add an extra layer of flashing around any window openings for added protection against water damage. 

Paint It with Waterproof Sealant

Finish off your wall by painting it with a waterproof sealant. Make sure you follow the instructions on the product's label for the best results. 

Ventilate the Basement 

Proper ventilation in the basement will protect the structure of your home. It will also reduce moisture levels and improve the life of your appliances.

A poorly ventilated basement is a haven for mold. These molds produce harmful and dangerous substances that can trigger allergies and asthma, and also, high humidity can cause unsightly discoloration of the ceiling.

A poorly-ventilated basement can have unpleasant odors and is prone to mildew. Molds grow faster in humid environments. Therefore, controlling them will reduce your risk of toxic exposure.

The EPA recommends that homes have an environment with a relative humidity below 60 percent. This will prevent mold and mildew from growing.

Proper ventilation in a basement is important to help prevent moisture damage and improve indoor air quality. Here are a few ways to ventilate a basement:

Use Exhaust Fans

Install exhaust fans in the basement to remove moisture and stale air. These fans can be connected to a duct system to vent the air outside.

Install Vents

Install vents in the foundation or walls to allow fresh air to enter the basement. These vents can be opened or closed as needed to control the airflow.

Use Dehumidifiers

A dehumidifier can be used to remove excess moisture from the air in the basement. It's important to regularly empty the water tank and clean the filters to ensure the dehumidifier is working effectively.

Use Window Fans

Window fans can be installed in basement windows to bring fresh air into the space while expelling stale air.

Use a Ventilating Fan

Consider installing a ventilating fan to help remove moisture and stale air from the basement. These fans are specifically designed to vent the air outside.

Install a Sump Pump

If you want to protect your basement from the consequences of water damage, consider installing a sump pump. A sump pump can help mitigate water and other related issues, such as mildew and mold.

Water damage to your basement can be costly. It can cause damage to walls, floors, furniture, and even appliances. Excessive moisture can lead to mold growth, which can be detrimental to your health.

Sump pumps can save you money in the long run. They can also protect your family. Many homeowners have discovered that their sump pumps have been able to prevent their basements from flooding and causing structural damage.

Sump pumps work by sending out an alert when water levels in the drainage system rise. This is especially helpful when there are heavy rains, which can send large amounts of moisture to your basement.

Installing a sump pump is the easiest way to waterproof a wet basement. The best time to do it is during the spring and summer seasons. You can find plumbers that offer recommendations for installation based on your needs.


It is important to understand the causes of damage to basement walls, such as water leakages and cracks. There are a few simple ways to protect your basement walls from further damage. These methods include waterproofing, repairing cracks and openings, and insulating the walls.

These steps will help to ensure that you have a safe and dry basement for many years to come. With the right preventive measures in place, you can prevent costly repairs down the line and keep your basement walls in good condition. 

If you are unsure of how to proceed, reach out to a professional contractor who can provide you with the right guidance and advice.

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