When I purchased my Baton Rouge home last year - all the walls were covered with fresh paint. This year - however - brown stains have appeared on my basement walls. The stains seem to come from small amounts of water that are seeping through pockmarks in the walls. I've never seen this before and I don't know what to do about it. Can you help?
Hope T. ~ Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Hi Hope, One of the problems of basement waterleaks or dampness is that correcting the problem is sometimes a matter of trial and error. If you have had some decent rains over the past year you have lived in the home, but this is the first you have noticed any water stains, then it could be a new issue with the house. If might be that the guttering is clogged up, and you are having a lot of overflow against the foundation. It could also be that something has disturbed the grade around the home, which is causing water to remain against the home. Sometimes adding a deck, or even planting trees, can disturb the natural drainage.
If this is the first that you have had significant rain since moving in, or you have seen the stains previously, than I would suspect a problem with the waterproofing on the foundation. If you have a poured concrete foundation, the pockmarks you are seeing may be where the wall ties go through the concrete to hold the wall forms in place. When the forms are removed, the ties are snapped off, and waterproofing is supposed to be applied at each tie location on the exterior of the foundation, prior to the entire foundation being waterproofed. If this is the issue, it might require sections of your foundation to be exposed and additional waterproofing to be applied.
I suggest you get a local contractor involved, someone with experience in foundation leaking. I suspect the water table of the soil is pretty high in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so it is pretty important to get it corrected before the issue escalates. If this has been going on since you moved in, or this is the first significant rain since moving in, I would also get your Realtor involved before spending any money.