Fixing Old Homes Leaking Basement Walls

Meg and I (Team Howlett) had the pleasure to help a wonderful client sell her house in southern Tippecanoe County.  Beautiful country farm house with charm, acreage views, and lots of potential.  Of course, there are issues with older farm houses.

One of the biggest issues with older homes built with block foundations is weeping basements.  The appraisal identified an issue with the weeping foundation.  Sellers had a structural engineer review the basement.  He noted that the foundation was structurally sound but soil grading and downspout drainage near the weepage would reduce the water in the basement.

With the review from the home inspector, it was noted there were low spots next to the house and the downspout discharged right next to the house.  These contributed to the weepage in the basement.  It was an appraisal issue so it needed to be addressed.

The seller agreed to address the drainage / water weepage issues.  Now, here comes the issue.  How to address?  The engineer identified 2 issues: lot level and downspout drainage.  Sellers agreed to address the issue.  A big issue.  No.  This is a DIY project.

Need to clear vegetation and underbrush from any area to be graded.

Grading the dirt away from the house is a relatively easy process.  In this project, we used Wrede Rocks.  They have an online tool to calculate the dirt needed.  Then, they have a rental truck with dump back for easy delivery.

All you need to do is grade the dirt so it slopes 3-4′ away from the low spots.  I used a 4′ plastic level to ensure the grade sloped away.  Recommend tamping down or walking over the dirt to ensure the ground is sloping away.

Now, add the downspout extensions to move water away from the house.  With the grading and downspout extensions, you will have addressed most of any old house basement water weepage issues.  Do it now.

We added a basement casement to reduce any water penetration.  Approx cost $20.

Repairs were done by the seller, the appraisal issues were addressed and we closed. Done!  If you would like free consultation about any homeowner issues, please call Meg at 765-414-6531.

Meg Howlett and Eric Howlett, Realtors, with 2018 Angies List Super Service Award

Winterize Your House. Hose Bibs and Crawl Space Vents.

Most of the leaves have fallen.  The sky is dreary. Some houses have Christmas

Hose still attached?

decorations; yet pumpkins still exist.  And, yes, the city has put salt brine on the roads for tomorrow’s snow.  Winter is coming!  No, the dead are not attacking from north of the wall, but have you prepared your house for the cold weather.  Here are two common problems I have found looking at so many houses with buyers and sellers. 1) Not removing your garden hoses from the outside spigots and

Vents still open?

2) Not closing the vents/access to the crawlspace.




Remove Your Garden Hoses or Risk Broken Pipes!

You may or may not have used the garden hose the whole year and forgotten it hidden

Remove hoses from Spigots

behind the bushes.  But, it is about to become a means to burst your pipes in the cold weather.  A garden hose filled with frozen water becomes a heat sink to freeze the water inside the faucet pipes and cause them to burst!   Ahh, but I have anti-freeze spigots and this does not affect me.  Wrong!  Anti-freeze spigots do not work if the hose is still attached.  An anti-freeze spigot is designed to have the shutoff valve inside the house (or basement / crawlspace) to prevent water from being exposed to freezing temperatures.  But if the hose is still attached then frozen water will extend from the hose into the spigot.  The frozen water then has a chance to burst the pipes inside.  Remove your garden hoses and allow the anti-freeze spigot to work.

Anti-freeze hose bibs have the valve inside to prevent frozen water from bursting pipes.

If you leave hoses attached, the water inside the spigot can freeze and burst pipes.

Shut the Crawlspace Vents and Make Sure the Access is Shut!

Close the crawlspace vents.

If you have a crawlspace, then you have openings to keep the space ventilated in the summer to prevent stagnant air during the warm months.  Now, during the winter months, these vents and openings should be shut to prevent freezing temperatures in the crawlspace.  Similar to the hose bib issue, we do not want any pipes to freeze and we want you to spend less on winter heating bills.


Consider adding optional vent covers.


Make Sure the Crawlspace Access is Shut






Cheers, Eric.

Team Howlett Residential Real Estate,

Day after blog. It’s never too late!