Basement leaks can be the nightmare of many homeowners. Water seeping through cracks in concrete and leaking walls are not just a nuisance, they can cause severe damage to your floors and ceilings. If you have a basement that is prone to leaks and moisture, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent this problem from occurring.
Basement waterproofing is a major project that requires careful planning, which means that you need to know where the pitfalls are and how to avoid them. Some parts of your basement will require special attention (like the footings) if you want to properly waterproof your basement. On top of that, you’ll need to be sure that areas like utility rooms are perfectly sealed off, otherwise your basement could end up with more moisture than when it began.
Basement moisture leaks are a problem that plagues homeowners all over. The majority of issues stem from the walls and floor not being sealed properly, but there are plenty of other problems that can lead to a leaky basement. If you’re worried about your home’s waterproofing, here are some of the most common causes of Basement Leaks Where Wall Meets Floor, as well as how to fix them.
Leaky basements are a common problem in households, and arise from a variety of reasons such as flooding, heavy snowfall, and leaks from the foundation or drainpipes.
The majority of these cases can be attributed to hydrostatic pressure. When water accumulates below the foundation wall or around pipes, it can build up and force its way through small cracks in the concrete or between walls and floors.
Hydrostatic pressure is the substantial force that standing water creates when it’s pushed up against solid objects and surfaces. When a property is under this pressure, it can damage building foundations, foundation walls and houses themselves. A single cubic foot of water weighs 62 pounds, so you can imagine the pressure that hundreds or thousands of cubic feet of water creates.
Basements Leak Where Wall Meets Floor – Troubleshoot And Diagnosis
Your home’s basement is the most likely room to have a leaky foundation. If you have a finished basement, even worse. Water can seep through several different places, so make sure you pay attention to where it might be entering your home.
When inspecting your foundation, look at the floor and walls for moisture damage – stains or mold.
Basements can leak when the footings for your house are not properly fused to the walls. For example, concrete blocks or poured concrete basement walls are not fused to the footings (footings are poured separately from your basement walls). This means that water can seep beneath them and cause problems.
Exterior or interior waterproofing is a crucial detail to get right in order to ensure that your basement is safe and dry.
1. No Interior or Exterior Waterproofing
If you live in a home that isn’t new, chances are it’s not waterproofed. Old homes have either red or black tar paper on their basement walls, and the paint wears away over time — leading to damp conditions and mold.
It’s common for old homes to have block walls with an outdated waterproofing layer. This can cause water to seep through the walls and into your basement, which can lead to an ugly mold problem.
Water seepage can cause serious damage to your home. Water can easily ruin drywall, flooring, and carpeting — which costs homeowners thousands of dollars to replace. Even more costly is the damage to the foundation and framing of a home.
In many homes, poorly sealed walls are an entry point for water damage. As water is less dense than soil, it has a tendency to flow from the ground into the wall cavity until it reaches the footing and meets resistance.
The waterproofing membrane on the outside of a house prevents water from entering the basement or crawlspace from below the flooring or at the top of walls.
Even if you have a solid concrete footing and a concrete block wall, there will still be tiny gaps where water can enter your home. That’s because there is still a gap between the mortar and the footing of your home, and there are also tiny cracks in your block walls that create gaps.
These small holes aren’t big enough for you to see with the naked eye, but water can easily get through them and cause serious damage where it doesn’t belong.
2. Poor Floor Drainage System
If the earth beneath your basement floor is the type that doesn’t allow water to drain, you could be in for some trouble. Clay and mud are two common types of heavy soils, and development on these can lead to flooding if you don’t do something about it.
If you’re sitting on your bathroom floor in a puddle of water, it’s likely because the earth beneath your basement floor does not have adequate drainage.
If your basement floods, you need to install a sump pump. This will keep water from building up in the floor and getting into your house. You should also consider installing a backup power source for the pump in the event of a power outage.
The sump pump should be connected to your interior or exterior drain line and have at least one hole leading to the earth beneath your house so that it can drain completely.
If water enters your home from underneath, it might enter through the floor. If there is no path for the water to exit, it will find a way up, whether that be through your basement slab or the joint between the floor and walls.
3. Basement Waterproofing Is Damaged
If there’s water damage in your basement, you may have a problem with an exterior or interior waterproofing layer.
The main cause of basement leaks is poor waterproofing. According to building code, only the very bottom section of foundation walls needs a waterproof membrane. Water can leak in from below, through the concrete footing.
If the waterproofing of your home’s foundation is intact, there’s a chance that your sump pump isn’t running. This is an easy check and fix that can save you a lot of pain and money in the long run. If it doesn’t run, water doesn’t drain around your home’s perimeter, which can lead to pooling water beneath the walls.
4. No Sump Pump
Good waterproofing is essential in construction – sump pumps are especially important for homeowners.
Waterproofing is an essential step for a sturdy foundation. All the water around your home needs to be properly drained out; otherwise, your basement will become a pool and structural integrity will be compromised. A sump pump is a crucial component of a waterproofing system that works by drawing out water and pumping it away from your home.
Not only do they prevent expensive damage to structures, but they also decrease the possibility of mold or mildew.
If you don’t have a sump pump, then you have water problems. That’s because a sump pump is the only way to move standing water away from your house and prevent flooding. With basement waterproofing, installing a sump pit or sump pump isn’t an option — it’s a necessity. After all, no home waterproofing is complete without a pump to take water away from your house.
Fortunately, a new sump pump and pit installation can be done without digging the exterior of the home.
5. Weeping Tile Is Clogged
Weeping tile is a simple way to deal with basement flooding. This is a tube filled with sand (we suggest using EcoSand which is made from recycled glass bottles) attached to the side of your house and partially buried. If water starts to flood your home, a sump pump connected to the weeping tile will move the water out and away from your home.
It’s easy to set up a weeping tile system using a few different parts, including the actual pipe weeping tile, an interior sump pump, and the exterior components.
Weeping tile is an excellent product that can be an effective solution for basement water issues. However, it does take a bit of maintenance to keep it functioning properly, as well as ensuring that it’s properly sealed and that you’re replacing any parts that may need installing.
It’s important to work with a professional plumber when working with weeping tile so that you’re getting the best quality possible — both in your installation and in your future product assistance.
If you have weeping tile in your basement, there is a possibility of it getting clogged. This can be easily resolved with the use of a mesh sleeve that is installed inside the pipe. The mesh sleeve will prevent any kind of material from collecting at the bottom of the pipe, and is an inexpensive way to combat future clogs.
When you have a weeping tile clogged by leaves, you can use pressurized jets of water to unclog it or you can dig up the pipe and replace it with a new tile that resists clogging.
If you’ve got a weeping tile that won’t stop weeping, some sources suggest using pressurized jets of water to remove the clog — a hassle if you’re dealing with an already water-logged basement. Of course, it’s far better to dig up the pipe and replace it with a new anti-weeping tile.
Why is There a Gap Between Basement Wall and Floor?
Generally speaking, the flooring in a basement or any room with a foundation is going to have gaps around the perimeter of the foundation. They’re called cove joints, and they’re common because a poured foundation means concrete work is happening at the bottom of the structure before you can even build up from there.
When it’s time for flooring installation or repair, though, cove joints are going to be tougher to deal with than any other issue you might face.
In the foundation of a house, footings are the first things to be laid. They’re made by excavating the ground and digging them out. This way, the concrete doesn’t just sit on the ground. Instead it’s in its own trench, cut specifically for the purpose. The footings are then covered with a thick layer of sand to fill in any gaps or unevenness in their surface.
When pouring concrete basement walls, the floor is usually poured first. Why? It’s easier to move the forms out from under the floor after the floor has cured, and you can pour two forms at once. Once the concrete for the walls has cured, you can pour the rest of the floor and create a cove joint at the wall-floor intersection.
How to Waterproof The Cove Joint
If you’re wondering what the heck a cove joint is and why you have a leak coming from it, you’re not alone. Many homeowners would do the same thing and try to fix the problem by sealing up the leak with some kind of waterproofing sealant. This is not how you would fix the problem, well not for the long term that is.
Now that you know what a cove joint is and why you have a leak coming from it, your first instinct might be to seal it up with hydraulic cement or some other waterproofing sealant. But this will only stop the problem from getting worse rather than fixing it for the long term.
Homeowners are at the mercy of leaks; they can come at any time and place. The most common leaks that homeowners experience are caused by water seepage because water is always present inside homes. The most common locations for water leaks are in the bathroom, ceiling, and under the sink. For example, a leaky sink could be caused by a damaged rubber gasket around its base or a crack or hole in the sink basin.
It helps to waterproof the cove joint by installing a drain tile system. The drain tile system could either get installed on the interior or the exterior of the basement for all the flooring materials.
1. Exterior Waterproofing
Basement waterproofing is an invasive process and can take more than a week to complete. The process starts with excavation down to the basement footings. This allows for thorough cleaning of the walls, as well as installing a waterproof membrane that adheres to the basement walls themselves. This layer is protected with another layer of “dimpled” waterproof membrane, which is then nailed or screwed into place.
The system relies on a sump pump – which is usually located in the basement. When water is detected, the pump activates and pumps the water outside. The base of the system is filled with gravel, which allows for proper water drainage and prevents mold growth. The weep tile connects to a sump pump on the interior of your home and routes to your exterior where the sump pump is located.
After the tile is installed, fill in with ¾” of clear gravel to make sure the ground level is at about 8” from your desired grade. Then top it off with soil, grading the soil away from your home’s foundation. This method can prevent seepage from entering your basement walls, as well as keeping rainwater from collecting around your home.
2. Interior Waterproofing
Basement waterproofing prevents leaks and water seepage (and mold) from destroying your basement, it protects your home from foundation damage, and it ensures that you’ll be able to keep living there for years to come. A waterproofer will dig along the perimeter of the entire basement and remove concrete up to 18 inches away from the walls. They’ll dig down 8 inches or so, fill the bottom with pea gravel, and install a weeping tile drain pipe.
The drainage pipe will be covered with gravel, which will then be covered with a waterproofing membrane. The concrete will cover the perimeter of the drain pipe and gravel, surrounding it completely.
When your basement waterproofing project is complete, you can rest easy knowing that the job was done right. It’s virtually impossible to spot our work after it’s done. In fact, we can leave behind a wall as it was originally constructed — no one will have any idea that it has been waterproofed .
3. Low-Cost Interior Waterproofing
The cheapest way to fix a basement leak — that doesn’t involve digging up and tearing apart your walls or floor — is with a plastic drain channel. These flexible pipes sit directly against the perimeter of your basement walls and stop leaks from seeping in. They’re simple to install yourself, often costing less than $30 for one channel.
Epoxy-sealed floor drains are the best way to ensure that water entering the basement walls is quickly and safely drained away. Avoid the dangers of standing water by installing floor drains in your basement — they’re a tremendously effective, efficient, and affordable way to prevent flooding.
Should I Seal The Gap Between My Basement Floor And Wall?
Sealing the joist to the basement wall does not provide a long-term solution to water infiltration issues. Water enters basements and crawlspaces in many ways, so sealing one area without addressing the sources of water is bound to create more damage in another area. The best way to correct this problem is by using a sump pump as part of an integrated solution.
Whenever you seal up the joint around your basement wall, water will leak into your home through another pathway. This is why sealing isn’t enough. The only way to solve this problem is by addressing the source of the leak, which means installing a new waterproofing membrane and removing your old sump pump.
So you think that by sealing your joint that’s causing water to leak into your basement, you will be stopping the problem. This is not the case, water is only finding another way in. Now you have more damage that needs to be fixed as this is taking away from the structural integrity of your slab. If left untreated it could lead to mold, black rot and structural damage. A proper repair involves a structural engineer and most likely an insurance claim.
How Long Does a Drain Tile System Last?
Drain tile systems are built to last — so you can relax! With proper care, a drain tile system will keep your home dry for decades, withstanding the test of time against waterlogging and wet spots in your basement.
With today’s advanced materials and designs, you can rest assured that the drain tile system installed by our team of experts will stand up to anything the world throws at it.
At the top of your list when it comes to eliminating water leaks to your basement should be waterproofing. There are several types of waterproofing, including exterior and interior solutions. Exterior solutions are significantly more expensive but still have trouble stopping leaks in areas where the foundation is weak. Interior solutions cost less but will allow water to seep into your basement walls due to inadequate wall protection.
If you can, wait a year – perhaps even two – before replacing the joint. Many DIY fixes don’t stand up to wear and tear over time, so do your best to give it a little while and see how things go.
Hi there! I’m Sam Hendricks, and I’m a repair technician and expert. I created this website to help people like you save money and time by fixing your own appliances.
Over the years, I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on unnecessary repairs or replacements. That’s why I decided to share my expertise and create easy-to-follow guides for fixing appliances on your own.