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Help! There’s Water in My Basement – Who Should I Call?

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No matter how level-headed you are, it is normal to panic at least a little bit when you first notice water seeping into your basement.

If that water is gushing, panic is a given.

You want to fix it right away, yet it can be hard to know what type of professional to call. So you stand there, phone in hand, arguing with yourself about whether a plumber, basement waterproofing specialist or remediation expert is the right choice.

How can you know who to call if you don’t even know where that water leak is coming from? Read on to learn what each professional does and how to choose the right one for your needs.

First, Size Up the Situation

Before you start dialling, the first step is to size up the water situation as best as you can.

Ask these questions and jot down your thoughts:

  • Where do you see or feel moisture – ceiling, walls, floor, pooling in corners?

  • Is that water near any appliances such as your sump pump, washer or hot water heater?

  • Does your basement or crawl space have an odour to it, and if so, what kind?

  • If you see exposed pipes or fixtures, do you see leaks or condensation?

  • Have you ever detected any moisture, damp or water in those areas in the past?

Answering these questions can help you identify some clues as to what may be causing the leak. They will also prepare you to answer questions when you phone for help with repairs.

Next, Understand What Different Professionals Fix

When you find water or damp in your basement or crawl space, chances are good you will need to contact one of three types of professionals who work on these types of problems: a plumber, a remediation expert or a basement waterproofing specialist.

But in order to choose the right professional, you need to understand what each one does.


When most people hear the word “plumber,” their first thought is “toilet.” This isn’t far off. A plumber works on leaking fixtures, pipes, drains and appliance connectors.

If the water is coming from a specific appliance, such as the hot water heater, washing machine or sump pump, you may need to contact the manufacturer of that appliance directly to arrange for repairs.

Otherwise, you would want to call a plumber whenever the water or damp is associated with your home’s plumbing pipes, drains, fixtures and/or faucets.

Remediation expert

A remediation expert may work specifically with mould and mildew cleanup or specialize in home restoration after significant damages, including major leaks and floods. Sometimes a remediation expert will work in both areas.

Whenever you suspect the presence of black mould, always stop what you are doing and contact a remediation expert for a home assessment, even if you do not see any mould growing visibly.

The most common warning sign of a mould or mildew problem is a strange odour. Many homeowners describe this odour as grassy, musty, like old gym socks, wet dog or damp swimwear.

Even if you do not have a mould or mildew issue, you may still need to work with a remediation expert if any part of your home, crawl space or basement has been significantly water damaged.

Wet wood, drywall, flooring and furnishings may be salvageable through the use of powerful dehumidifiers, air movers, air conditioners or heaters brought in to pull out moisture and dry out the space in preparation to restore it to usefulness.

Basement waterproofing specialist

It is not uncommon to see a plumber, remediation expert and basement waterproofing specialist working together to repair and restore homes with complex water-related damages.

For example, a burst pipe that led to mould or soggy drywall would need a plumber to make pipe repairs, a remediation expert to dry out the space and replace damaged structures, and a basement waterproofing specialist to encapsulate or waterproof the space against future threats.

For more minor issues with water or damp inside your basement or crawl space that are not related to leaking fixtures or pipes, a basement waterproofing specialist may be the only call you need to make.

The process of basement waterproofing begins with identifying the source(s) of the damp, moisture or water leak. From there, a basement waterproofing specialist is able to make the appropriate repairs and/or upgrades before permanently waterproofing the space.

Common Basement Waterproofing Repair Needs

Once you have ruled out a burst pipe, leaking faucet or faulty appliance as the potential water source, you know you do not need a plumber. When you determine mildew, mould or significant water damage is absent, you know you do not need a remediation expert.

So now it is time to bring in a basement waterproofing specialist to assess your space, make the necessary repairs and install permanent interior basement waterproofing.

Tend to any basement repair needs

The most common repairs or upgrades that may need to be done before your space can be permanently waterproofed include:

  • Repairing fissures and cracks

  • Cleaning out and repairing window wells and drains

  • Adding gutter guards and downspout extensions

  • Regrading your home’s landscaping

  • Installing moisture-resistant insulation

  • Adding a backup sump pump (or standby generator)

  • Installing or upgrading the drainage system

These repairs and modifications will help ensure moisture cannot continue to find its way in and build up behind the waterproofing treatment.

Apply the interior basement waterproofing treatment

Modern technology has made it fast and easy to install affordable basement waterproofing in your basement. Typically this service takes less than a day and can be done on either an unfinished or a finished basement space.

If you have a crawl space, encapsulation is the equivalent service.

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