5 stains you should look out for on your basement walls | Foundation Repair Company in OR and WA | Terrafirma

5 stains you should look out for on your basement walls

5 stains you should be looking out for on your basement walls (Portland Oregon)

homeowner tips

5 Stains You Should Look Out for On Your Basement Walls

Unfinished basements can be an eyesore, but for those of us who use basements for laundry and storage, looks aren’t important. That is, except for when ugly and suspicious stains begin to appear on our basement walls.

In this two-part blog series, we’ll examine what every stain means in your basement.

Chipping and flaking materials

Many basement walls have coatings such as paint, waterproofing coats, sealants, or hydraulic cement, usually applied to either seal the basement walls or spruce them up. These coatings can and will eventually cave in as groundwater infiltrates the wall and the pressure builds underneath. When that happens, the coatings will bubble up, flake, or peel off of the walls – making for a very ugly and very messy basement with chips of paint all over the floor.

Paint and sealants should never be applied to basement walls. They all tend to fail over time, and when they do the cleanup is neither easy nor cheap and may involve messy or labor-intensive procedures such as scraping, sanding, and power washing.


Spalling occurs when the surface of the concrete itself, and not just the paint or the sealant, begins to crumble and flake. While it may appear similar to a chipping wall coat, spalling is often a much more extensive problem. The good news is, a complete concrete replacement will not be necessary if the spalling is caught early enough.

Just like the other four problems we’ve discussed, spalling is due to water intrusion and the salts that it carries. When these salts expand, the concrete breaks and begin to flake away. The result is a bubbly, peeling wall surface.

Keep your basement dry

Once again, remember that these five common basement wall-stains are all symptoms of a more significant problem. It’s very important to fix the common source before you do anything else, so take action to stop the water intrusion into your basement before you tackle those ugly stains.

If you’ve noticed any of the above problems in your own basement, call TerraFirma and let us show you how to correct them once and for all! We can get rid of those ugly basement wall stains, and we can do it the right way so that they never come back. 

Schedule your free estimate with TerraFirma today!