Water Leaking Through Baseboard – Causes, Drying Out & Repairing

Noticed Water leaking through your Baseboards? Not sure why or where the water is coming from?

In this guide you will learn:

  • What Causes Water Leaks From baseboards,
  • How To Dry out your Wet Basebords,
  • How to Repair Water Damaged Baseboards,
  • Causes for water leaks ABOVE baseboards.

This article will list common issues surrounding wet baseboards, while also compiling solutions.

What Causes Water to Leak From Baseboards?

There are a few reasons why your baseboards might be leaking. Here are the most common ones:

  • Water leak from behind the wall: Certain incidents such as burst or leaking pipes may cause water to leak from behind the wall through baseboards. Other signs of this can include bubbling or warping paint on the walls. You may also discover mold on the baseboards or walls.
  • Surrounding leaks: If the leaking baseboards are located in a bathroom, then surrounding appliances, such as a toilet, shower or sink may be leaking. Common signs of this are water in the bathroom and visible leaking, mold growth or swelling around the above-mentioned appliances.
  • Water leaking in the basement: Once again, there are many reasons why baseboards may be leaking in the basement.

Oftentimes, appliances such as boilers, heaters or piping are stored in the basement, and all of these have the potential for leaks. In such a scenario, the leaking will be focused around the appliance areas. Other signs will include swelling, bubbling or molding in said area.

Another common cause of water in the basement is ground water rising. This type of flooding may resemble leaking baseboards. Some telltale signs will be more significant flooding, musty smells or dirty looking water.

  • Rain damage: After heavy rainfall or snow melting, you may notice a significant amount of water seemingly coming from the baseboards.

This may, in fact, be ground water rising through the basement walls or improperly insulated areas and penetrating your walls and baseboards.

Other signs of this may include excessive amounts of water, musty smells or dirty looking water in your home.

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How to Dry Water Under Baseboards

First and foremost, it is important to discover the source of the water. If the leak is produced by something akin to a burst pipe or a flood, then it will need to be professionally fixed before attempting any repairs on the baseboards.

Once the source of the water leak is taken care of, you may choose to dry or replace the baseboards. It is, however, best advised to replace baseboards.

If your baseboard appears intact – that means no swelling, bubbling, warping or peeling of any kind – then it may be safe to begin drying it using the following steps.

These steps only work for real wood or vinyl baseboards. MDF or other types of synthetic wood water damaged baseboards will need to be replaced.

  • First, using a blade, make a cut separating the baseboard from the paint or glue sealing it to the wall. Do not cut the drywall or the baseboard.
  • Insert a thin pry bar or flat pry bar in between the drywall and the baseboards.
  • Gently pry the baseboards away from the drywall. Be careful not to rip or damage the board or the wall.
  • If you’ve broken any of the baseboards, be sure to scrape any remains off the walls before continuing on.
  • When the weather is dry, open as many windows as possible.Using a dehumidifier will also help.
  • Place ventilation fans pointing near the water damaged area on the wall, then place more fans directed toward the wet baseboards.
  • Wait until the baseboard is thoroughly dried out.

How Long Does it Take For Wet Baseboards to Dry?

A multitude of factors come into play when determining the amount of time it takes for wet baseboards to dry.

These include, but are not limited to, the extent of water damage (remember, though, that drying baseboards should only be used for minor damage), the drying method and the air humidity.

The best way to tell if your baseboards are dry will be by using a non-penetrative moisture meter.

Once you have obtained a normal reading, your baseboards will be ready to go.

How to Fix Water Damaged Baseboards

Once your baseboard is thoroughly dry, you may then choose to re-apply the same boards. You can do so by using the following instructions:

  • If needed, start by finishing your baseboards. You can do this by sanding and painting them as desired.
  • Using a piece of the baseboard as a measure, mark its height on the wall every few feet where you wish to replace the baseboard.
  • Once this is done, you may choose to snap a chalk line on these markings. This will mark where the top edge of the baseboard should be installed.
  • Place the appropriate piece of baseboard against an inside corner and secure it to the wall. You can do so by using nails or glue. Be sure to push the boards down, flush to the floor and pressed tight against the wall.
  • Every time you install a corner, you will need to glue the edges of the meeting baseboards together.
  • Using a colour-appropriate wood filler, fill in the joints and nail holes as needed.

If you cannot reuse the old water damaged baseboards, you will need to add these steps before instalment.

  • Obtain new baseboards. Finish the baseboards by sanding and painting them as desired.
  • Measure the wall starting from the inside corners, then make a line at the obtained distance on a piece of baseboard.
  • Mark every piece of baseboard at the appropriate length according to where you wish to place it on the wall. You can do so by measuring the wall from inside corners.
  • For inside corners, use a compound miter saw to make cuts removing 45 degrees from your baseboard.
  • For inside corners, use a compound miter saw to add 45 degrees to your baseboards.
  • Once the baseboards have been cut, nail or glue them to the wall using the above method.

Water Leak Above Baseboard

There can sometimes be instances where water leaks from above the baseboards.

As mentioned above, common causes of this may include burst piping from behind the wall, leaks from adjacent appliances or flooding in the basement that has seeped through insulation.

When to Call a Professional?

When in doubt, it is safest to call an expert. It is, however, explicitly recommended in situations involving mold growth, warping of the walls or dirty flood water.

You will also need to call an expert if you are unable to locate the source of the water under your leaking baseboards

Overall, if you feel confident in your skills and no hazardous substances are in play, then you will be able to successfully replace your baseboards.


We have Water Damage Restoration Technicians that can help Find the Source of the Leak & Restore your Walls / Baseboards

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