Virginia Snow Causes Leaky Basements

NVBWS operates in the state of Virginia. I think that I can say if you live in VA you got snow last weekend. If you occasionally have a leak in your basement with heavy rain, then wait for it. Thirty to 40 inches of snow is like 3-4 inches of rain, but in slow motion. Rain runs off. Snow on the other hand, will 90% sink into the ground right where it is. It is great for the water table and breaking droughts, but not good for leaky basements.

In the past 24 months I have seen more people than ever about fixing their basement before selling their home. The waterproofing we do is done outside. Snow and freezing weather makes doing the job much more dangerous for the crew and the sloppy wet yards make for seriously more damage to the yard when completing the work.

That means putting up with a wet basement for another couple of months and delaying the sale of your home. It also takes time to repair the yard and get the landscape ready for sale. That is why I stress that the time to fix the problem is when it is dry out, because everything is easier and goes faster than working in rain or snow.

We already have jobs scheduled for spring, and normally by June, we will have jobs booked 6-8 weeks out. If you are thinking that you might be selling and moving in the next couple of years, now is the time to get the estimate for getting the work done as soon as possible, so that by the time of the inspection, the yard will look its best and you can say with certainty the basement is dry and NVBWS guarantees it.

NoVa Barrier Waterproofing Systems
Northern Virginia: 703-866.0535
Winchester/Shenandoah Valley: 540.313.6361
Richmond Area: 804.859.2544

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Basement Dampness

I have in recent weeks working for NoVa Barrier Waterproofing Systems been out to look at several basements where dampness is the issue rather than water running down the walls and across the floor.

There are some ways to mitigate the problem and one way to cure it. Often times new home owners of older homes are not aware that basements were not considered living space until recently and that basements when built were expected to remain cool and damp. That is due to evaporation that occurs as moisture passes from the ground outside through the block or poured foundation wall into the relatively drier space of the basement.

Even today the basement code is not waterproof but what they call damp proof which is counter descriptive. Since when you read the code it means that you are allowing for dampness.

You may notice that in the summer your basement smells less musty and feels less humid than in the winter months and that is because your AC is acting as a dehumidifier removing moisture from the air where in the winter your HVAC may actually have a humidifier that is adding to the moisture in the basement air and when enough moisture is present you will start growing mold and mildew.

Installing a dehumidifier that runs year round is a good method for controlling excess moisture. 2 things commonly recommended that may seem to work for awhile I don’t recommend is an interior vapor barrier either plastic or waterproofing paint.

If you think of the wall as a sponge that is damp on one side and dry on the other then you can visualize the problem the sponge is evaporating moisture into the air at the dry side faster than it is coming in on the damp side. Just like although you feel the dampness in the air your wall looks and feels dry.

If you cover the sponge with a plastic bag the whole sponge will eventually become soaked. The same is true for your wall. That means once it is soaked to the top the water starts to move from the wall to the top plate and into the joist promoting rot and termites.

The only real way to prevent this would be a whole basement waterproofing system that prevents water from getting into the block in the first place and makes for a much stronger longer lasting foundation wall. That is of course our specialty. We seldom do full basement waterproofing because from a practicality stand point the best time to do that is when it is brand new and before it was back filled. The other reason is common sense.

In most cases water migrates from wet to dry and in most cases basements will have a wet side and a dry side. We know that in most cases it is unlikely that the dry side will ever become a wet side unless the water table changes drastically which sometimes happens when a large building and parking lot are build up hill from you and drains much more water faster onto your property but other wise is so rare I haven seen it happen in 10 years of construction work here in VA.

In most cases waterproofing a wall or two is all that is required. We generally run into this situation because of mold and most often in a rental property where liability is an issue or where health issues in the home have already been a problem. NVBWS doesn’t do mold remediation but we work with companies that are who can resolve the immediate effects but keeping the area dry is the only real long term solution. Mold needs moisture to live.

I hope this information is useful and you can reach me with any questions at 703.901.2792.

-Rick Steeby

The photos below shows termite damage to the joist and top plate where contact with moist concrete (in this case from outside as part of a concrete stoop was against it) that can occur from preventing the block to breath. To test your walls tape a 18″ by 18″ piece of clear plastic to the wall below grade with duct tape and leave it there fore awhile. If you have moisture coming through that wall it will begin to get wet and even collect water behind the plastic. If you seal the whole wall that way then you can see where it can become an issue.

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What is waterproofing and what is not waterproofing

Let’s get started with a definition so we are all discussing waterproofing in the same context. We went online to find an unbiased definition that you can find for yourself. We used the following link: .

Definition: wa·ter·proof  (wô t r-pr f , w t r-)


  1. Impervious to or unaffected by water.
  2. Made of or coated or treated with rubber, plastic, or a sealing agent to prevent penetration by water.


  1. A material or fabric that is impervious to water.
  2. Chiefly BritishA raincoat or other such outer garment.

tr.v. wa·ter·proofedwa·ter·proof·ingwa·ter·proofs

To make impervious to water.

That is a good definition, but what does it mean when we apply it to your wet basement problem? The definition alone does not address all the pertinent issues related to basement waterproofing. We will cover those issues as we go.

With the definition in hand, let’s try to explain WHAT IS and WHAT IS NOT waterproofing. Waterproofing IS making your basement or foundation walls “IMPERVIOUS TO WATER”, per the definition. What is NOT waterproofing is anything that does not make your foundation “IMPERVIOUS TO WATER”. It will be much easier if I use a couple of metaphors to explain what IS NOT waterproofing.

First, let’s suppose you have a leak in the roof of your house.

roof leak diagram

Would putting a bucket under the leak and putting a pump in the bucket that pumps the water up, out, and back on to the roof be waterproofing? Is that fixing the problem of the roof leak? The answer is obviously NO, yet the solution most companies sell as waterproofing is nothing more than a way to collect the water that comes into your basement with a “bucket” (of sorts) and then pump it up and outside of your house, usually about 6” from the outside of your basement wall. That IS NOT waterproofing. It is water collection and redirection. And yes, you may be aware that that same water can soak straight down and re-enter your basement.

Second, suppose you had a boat with a small hole in it. Would adding a bilge pump, or even a second and/or third bilge pump, all with battery backups, be waterproofing? Would it solve the real problem? No, that IS NOT waterproofing. Also, if you are lucky enough to have a patch handy, you apply the patch to the hole on the outside of the boat… not the inside. That way water pressure helps keep the patch in place and it cannot be “blown out” (actually blown in).

So, would these inside solutions be good waterproofing solutions for your leaky basement or crawl space? The answer is no.

None of these possible solutions stops the water from coming into the house or into the boat. REAL WATERPROOFING IS stopping the water from getting through your basement or foundation walls and into the house in the first place. REAL WATERPROOFING is keeping the water OUTSIDE OF YOUR STRUCTURE to include the foundation. If you have water intrusion of any magnitude, it is usually causing 3 major problems: 1) DESTRUCTION of your foundation and any porous construction materials it comes into contact with, 2) Causing UNHEALTHY conditions because of the growth of mold and mildew, and causing that damp musty smell, and 3) LOWERING THE RESALE VALUE of your home because you must, in most states by law, reveal water intrusion problems you have in your basement.

So how does all this begin to happen? Contact us to learn more.

Northern Virginia: 703-866-0535
Northwestern Virginia: 540-313-6361
Southern Virginia: 804-859-2544

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Peace of Mind for Homeowners


We are NVBWS and we believe in providing peace of mind for homeowners with water intrusion and foundation issues.

Since 2008, we have been working with real estate agents, property managers, and distressed homeowners, solving the worst of all real estate issues – foundation cracks and wet basements!

NVBWS has exclusive rights to market and install the Barrier Dual Drainage Waterproofing System™ from the Shenandoah Valley, across Northern VA, and all the way to Virginia Beach.

As you probably know, true waterproofing is done on the outside of the home. We are a reputable waterproofing company in the community who specializes in excavation and exterior waterproofing.

We have proven consistently how our system stands up to the tests of time and Mother Nature, and we believe so much in the Barrier Dual Drainage Waterproofing System that we provide a 25 Year, 100%, non-prorated Guarantee on all our work.

Here’s what our clients in the community have to say:

“Your wonderful work was tested severely this last couple of weeks, and the basement is still dry.  I’m so happy and I thank you again. I’ll give you as many references as you’d like :)  Thanks for everything.”
Deirdre Cochran 

 “We are quite happy with the work and you’ve accomplished exactly what I was envisioning.  While I hope it is not necessary, I wouldn’t hesitate to call you for additional work in the future.”
        – Don T.

We are here to help you as well. Just call or email and let us know how we can assist you.

Winchester Area: 540.313.6361

Northern Virginia: 703.866.0535

Richmond Area: 804.859.2544

 PS: We provide FREE consultations and estimates to current homeowners. There is, however, a $75 consultation fee for prospective buyers needing pre-buy inspections.

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Musty Basement Smell

Just because you’re not seeing water on your floors, even if your carpet is not soaking wet, you might still be dealing with water in your basement. A lot of people think that basements smell musty, period, and that smell is to be expected. Well, that’s not the case. If you have a musty smell in your basement or crawl space it could be because there’s water getting into those spaces that you can’t see. Sometimes it’s worth the trouble to remove a piece or two of drywall to see what’s going on behind the walls.

We don’t believe in trying to sell you something you don’t need. If you’re worried about a sales pitch or a pushy salesman, forget about it. We’re here to help and would love to talk with you about your water intrusion problems. Call us at 703-866-0535 or 540-313-6361 today!

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Flooded Basement?

Are you tired of mopping up water after every rainstorm? NVBWS can solve your water intrusion problems! We guarantee that treated foundation walls will remain dry! Call 540-313-6361 today to schedule your free waterproofing consultation. Visit us online at for more information.



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A Rainy Day in the Shenandoah Valley

We’re getting heavy rain in Winchester and the surrounding Shenandoah Valley areas today. Are you one of the many homeowners who dread another rainy day because it means a leaking basement or crawl space? Have you patched your cracked foundation, but continue to have water seep into your home somewhere else along the foundation wall? Until you address the water intrusion with a permanent solution, the water will keep finding its way into your basement or crawl space.

At Nova Barrier Waterproofing Systems, we prevent water from entering your home with our patented Barrier Dual Drainage Waterproofing System™.  Call 540-313-6361 today to schedule your free waterproofing estimate and eliminate your water leak forever. We guarantee that you will no longer have a wet basement or crawl space! Visit us at for more information.

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