Skip to Main Content

How Long Does It Take for Water to Damage a Foundation?

Cracks can impair the aesthetic of your home, but it’s the water that seeps through that can damage your foundation. Sadly, there are a range of things that can lead to foundations damaged by water such as plumbing leaks, extreme weather, and basement leaks. Discover how you can reduce the risk of water damage to the foundation of your home.

Time Frame for Water Damage

If you’re wondering “how long does it take for water to damage foundations,” it is important to remember that it depends on certain factors. This is because water damage to your foundation can be a gradual process of months or even years. It starts with small cracks in the concrete, which expand over time, letting in more and more water. However, a substantial enough crack can speed up this process, causing permanent damage to your foundations in as little as three days (72 hours).

The scary thing is it only takes a tiny amount of water to cause damage to your property’s concrete foundations. For instance, a small consistent leak can result in flooding, which causes erosion of the materials your foundation is made from, compromising its structural integrity.

Several factors can influence the speed of the damage done to your property’s foundation.

cracked garage floor

Factors That Influence the Speed of Water Damage

Soil Type

The first is whether the soil your property is built on is permeable. The issue here is that if the soil is less permeable like clay, water can more easily collect and then infiltrate your foundations causing problems. More permeable soil such as sand allows the water to drain away, wicking it from your foundations and resulting in fewer damage issues.

For reference, Texas soils can be Blackland or yellow clay, sandy loam (made of sand and clay), or just sand, meaning that soil can play a large factor in how well your foundation handles water.

brown soil


This one might seem obvious, but weather will have a huge factor in how quickly water damages a foundation. Texas is far from the rainiest state, but did you know that heat can play a role? Texas is known for an arid climate and droughts are common, but severe heat over the past few years has worsened these droughts.

Droughts cause expansive soils— like the ones mentioned above— to shrink, making your foundation settle. Then when it rains, those soils expand. The quick movement of the foundation can cause cracks that seem to appear over a few days!

Size of Foundation Crack

A large foundation crack lets in more water and hastens the rate foundation water damage occurs. Many believe that you don’t need to worry about foundation cracks if they’re smaller than 1/4 inch. However, cracks wider than 1/8 inch are classified as structural and need repair as soon as possible.

Understanding Water Damage

Foundations with water damage are no joke. Water damage is a severe problem that threatens your home’s structural integrity, making it an unsafe place to live.

Looking out for the early signs of water damage to your foundations can help you deal with it before it becomes a serious threat. Such signs include:

  • Sloping or uneven floors,
  • Spaces between exterior walls and the foundations
  • Warped walls
  • Mold
  • Windows and doors that either don’t close properly or that stick when you try to open them.
  • Ceiling, floor, or wall cracks of over ¼ inch. (Diagonal cracks in particular)

Can Water Damage Concrete Foundations?

Yes, water can damage concrete foundations. This can surprise many people as concrete has a reputation for being robust. However, because it is a porous material, water can seep into concrete and weaken it over time. This is especially dangerous for slab foundations.

Can Standing Water Damage Foundations?

Yes, standing water can damage your property’s foundation. It pools around your foundation, causing hydrostatic pressure and increasing the weight of the soil around your foundation, placing extra strain on them.

How To Prevent Foundation Water Damage

Even though concrete foundations can be particularly susceptible to water damage there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk for your property.

1.   Waterproof your foundations

A pier and beam foundation will definitely need encapsulation and waterproofing. While slab foundations are

2.   Regularly maintain your foundations and property

Frequently inspecting your foundations for signs of water damage can help you catch it early and deal with it before it becomes a major structural problem. Be sure to repair any foundations that are damaged quickly.

3.   Install proper drainage

Drainage is crucial when it comes to preventing water damage to concrete foundations. Be sure to put in proper guttering to direct water away from your foundations. Drainage can help prevent standing water damage to your foundations.

4.   Install a sump pump

Use a sump pump to effectively remove water from around the foundations, ensuring it does not pool.

Choose FSS for Water Damage Prevention! 

inspector touching concrete floor

Now you know just how damaging water can be to your home’s foundations, it’s time to take action to protect them. If you are concerned about water damage to the foundation of your property, contact our friendly and expert team for a 100% free inspection to get peace of mind on the structural integrity of your home today!

Related Resources

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

FSS Service area map.

Our Locations


11615 Angus Rd
Suite 104B
Austin, TX 78758


1945 W. Walnut Hill Ln.
Irving, TX  75038


6422 Lozano Dr.
Houston, TX 77041

San Antonio

18630 Goll St.
San Antonio, TX 78266