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Restoration Contractor, Plumber, or Waterproofer: Who to Call When

A wet basement floor after a water heater leak

A plumbing leak, a failed sump pump, or a leaky foundation crack can leave you unsure of who to call for help with your wet basement or crawl space.

If you have a water problem in your basement or crawl space, knowing who to call when you need help can save you time and can potentially save you money on repairs.

The source of the water in your basement or crawl space might be obvious, like a burst pipe. But sometimes, it's hard or even impossible for a homeowner to tell where the water is coming from. No matter what’s left your basement or crawl space wet, it’s important to evaluate and fix the water problem as soon as possible in order to prevent mold growth.

Water can find its way in through cracks and holes in foundation walls. Heavy rain, poor drainage around the foundation, and a faulty sump pump can all lead to flooding. Water in the basement or crawl space leads to mold and a musty odor. In a finished basement, water can damage drywall, flooring, and stored belongings.

Who to Call When You Have a Wet Basement or Crawl Space

Determining who to call for help when you have water in your basement or crawl space depends on the specific symptoms you're experiencing. Below are general descriptions of what each type of contractor does, along with symptoms you might check for before deciding when and who to call.

Restoration Contractor

A restoration contractor repairs damage to homes after a flood, fire, or storm. When it comes to water damage mitigation specifically, they use special equipment like air movers and dehumidifiers to dry the basement quickly. They also take care of mold and find hidden structural damage. A restoration contractor is also familiar with the insurance claims process.

Call a restoration contractor if you notice...

Mold: Water and moisture can lead to wet or damp drywall, insulation, and wood. When these materials become wet, it doesn’t take long for mold to grow. And airborne mold spores can lead to serious health issues.


A plumber installs, maintains, and repairs water supply and drainage systems in a home. This includes installing faucets and fixtures, unclogging drains, and fixing a leaking or burst pipe, a dripping faucet, and running toilet.

Call a plumber if you notice...

Plumbing leaks: A plumbing leak, such as from a pipe, faucet, toilet, washing machine or water heater. It could be as obvious as looking up and seeing water leaking from a pipe or you might see a puddle of water near the water heater or washer or below where the pipe is leaking.


A waterproofer keeps water out of the basement or crawl space and away from the foundation. They primarily fix leaky cracks in basement walls and install drainage systems and sump pumps. Some waterproofing contractors also install dehumidifiers and encapsulate crawl spaces. They can also help control water around the foundation by installing downspout extensions.

Call a waterproofer if you notice...

Cracks in the basement walls and/or floor: The weight of water in the soil around the house creates hydrostatic pressure that pushes against the foundation. This pressure, along with changes in the soil can cause cracks that allow the water to get in. A waterproofing contractor can examine the cracks and either fix the problem or recommend a foundation repair professional who can.

Exterior drainage: Rainwater that flows over the gutters or pools next to the foundation can easily end up inside the basement or crawl space. Clean gutters and extended downspouts can help prevent this. Soil should slope away from the house to allow water to drain away from the basement or crawl space.

Window leaks: Because basement windows aren’t waterproof, they tend to leak. Window wells can help keep water away, as long as they are kept clean. If you have window wells that leak, learn what to do to stop window wells from filling with water.

Sump pump problems: A tripped electrical breaker, clogged drain, or stuck float switch can cause a sump pump to suddenly stop working. Read these tips for troubleshooting sump pump problems to help prevent a wet basement or crawl space.

Excess humidity: Water in the basement or crawl space adds humidity. Damp outside air can also enter through basement windows or crawl space vents. Mold, mildew, and a musty odor can all be signs of a humidity problem (and likely a plumbing leak or water seepage problem) in the basement or crawl space.

A quick overview of who to call when:

  Restoration Contractor Plumber Waterproofer
Visible mold yes no yes
Plumbing leaks no yes yes
Sump pump issues no no yes
Cracks in foundation walls and/or floor no no yes
Exterior drainage issues Restoration Contractor, Plumber, or Waterproofer: Who to Call When - Image 14 Restoration Contractor, Plumber, or Waterproofer: Who to Call When - Image 15 green checkmark
Basement window leaks no no yes
Excess humidity/moisture no no yes


A plumber will fix any plumbing leaks, such as a leaking pipe, appliance, or fixture. A basement waterproofing contractor can fix foundation leaks and provide solutions to keep the basement dry, such as drainage, a sump pump, and a dehumidifier. A disaster restoration contractor will remove the water, deal with mold and mildew, and repair any water damage to restore your basement or crawl space to a healthy and safe condition.

If you have water in your basement or crawl space and you’re not sure where it’s coming from, contact Basement Systems to schedule a waterproofing evaluation and estimate with a waterproofer near you. They will evaluate your situation and recommend the best solution. They can also recommend an experienced plumber or restoration contractor if needed.

About the author

Kristina McGovern
Content Specialist
After nearly a decade writing about home improvement, Kristina realizes the importance of having a dry, clean crawl space. Born and raised in Connecticut, she has made it her mission to find good pizza in the South. She enjoys spending time on her 13-acre property with her husband (and high school sweetheart), energetic toddler and rescued Labrador mix.

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