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Why Is Water Coming In My Basement Where The Walls Meet The Floor?

Why Is Water Coming In My Basement Where The Walls Meet The Floor_
Why Is Water Coming In My Basement Where The Walls Meet The Floor_
If you’ve asked, “why is water coming in my basement where the walls meet the floor,” chances are your foundation is experiencing hydrostatic pressure. In this article, you’ll learn why your basement is leaking water, what this could lead to, how to stop it, and how to prevent it from happening again.

Why Is Water Coming In My Basement Where The Walls Meet The Floor?

The answer is hydrostatic pressure. This is when water builds up in the soil surrounding your foundation and pushes against your walls, seeping through any openings. Water can weigh about 60 pounds per cubic foot, making it extremely heavy. If your basement is acting as a floodwall, sooner or later, it’ll break. The American Society Of Home Inspectors found that over 60% of basements have moisture seepage. They also found that 38% of basements experience mold and fungus growth due to an elevated moisture level.
water in basement
Concrete is a porous material, meaning water can still seep through your foundation walls. But the most common place that leaks water is where your basement walls meet your floor. This is called a cove joint, and it exists because your walls and floors were poured separately during construction. When hydrostatic pressure builds in the soil around your foundation, it tends to seep through the cove joint first. The only way to counter this is by installing an interior or exterior drain tile system.
cove joint seepage graphic

What Could This Lead To?

Water seepage is not something you want happening in your basement. It could lead to,
  • Mold – Once humidity levels reach 70% in your basement, mold, and fungus can grow on your walls, floors, and anything else stored below your home.
  • Musty odors – If your basement is damp and filled with mold, chances are it smells musty too.
  • Wet floors – If your basement is too damp or humid, condensation can stick on your floors, leading to a potential slip and fall.
mold growing on basement walls
  • Water damage or wood rot – If rot eats away at the wooden beams under your home, you could be looking at bigger problems than just a wet basement.
  • Warped hardwood floors – If the floor above your basement is made of hardwood, there’s a possibility it can start to warp and bend due to rising moisture.
  • Increased energy bills – When humidity builds up in your basement, it can rise into the rest of your home. This will force your air conditioning to work harder, leading to an increase in your utility bills.
  • Increase in humidity – As we mentioned, the air below you will travel into the rest of your home. If your home is already humid during the summer months, chances are you don’t want it worsening due to a poorly sealed basement.


How Do I Stop Water Coming In Basement Where Walls Meet Floor?

The only way to stop water from coming into your basement where your walls meet your floor is by installing a drain tile system. There’s no way to prevent water from soaking the soil near your foundation completely, but you can catch that built-up moisture and send it somewhere else. This is how a complete basement waterproofing system works.
  1. The vapor barrier – The first part of a complete basement waterproofing system, the vapor catches water seeping through your walls. When the moisture hits the vapor barrier, it drips down to the drain tile below.
  2. The drain tile – The second part involves a perforated pipe laid in a bed of washed stone. This pipe will collect moisture that’s dropped down from the vapor barrier and any water rising from the soil below it, preventing it from seeping through your cove joint.
  3. The sump pump – Once your drain tile collects the built-up moisture, it sends it to a sump pit (a hole in your basement floor). Inside this hole is a sump pump. This device detects when water reaches a certain level in the pit and ejects it away from your home.
These three waterproofing methods are the best solution to keeping water out of your basement.
sump pump in closet

How Do I Prevent Water Coming In Basement Where Walls Meet Floor?

In order to prevent moisture from coming into your basement, you need to minimize how much saturates the soil outside your foundation. Here’s how.
  1. Your gutters – There’s no way to stop rain from pouring onto your house. That’s why your gutters are there. Their job is to prevent rain from dripping directly over the side of your home and eroding or seeping into the soil. By cleaning them regularly, you’ll prevent water from pouring over the sides. Professional waterproofing experts also recommend extending any downspouts, so they are at least 20 feet away from your home.
  2. Your grading – If your property is graded (sloped) toward your home, water could be draining into the soil outside your foundation. You can make minor adjustments yourself with a shovel and wheelbarrow, but we recommend calling a professional landscaper.
  3. Your yard – If your yard is very flat, chances are, during the rainy seasons, it turns into a swamp. If that’s the case, you might need a French drain. This perforated pipe works like a drain tile system and collects water that builds up in your yard, channeling it away from your home.

Who Can Help You?

If you have water coming into your Chicagoland basement, call The Real Seal. We’ve been sealing and waterproofing thousands of basements, crawlspaces, and other types of foundations since 2011. Reach out to us today and schedule your free inspection, where we’ll find out why your basement is seeping water. We also provide foundation repair, concrete leveling, and more.


Austin Werner

Austin Werner is the Owner of The Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company. Austin believes that having a highly trained and happy team is the key to success. This is reflected through hundreds of 5 star customer reviews his company has received online.

24 Responses

      1. Hi Austin, my prob is basement under porch floor water goes under exterior wall then down via basement ceiling.
        Floor is 3/4″tongue n groove. Wife and I spend every summer vaca caulking seams.
        We’ve tried about all caulking, gorilla banana and,flex seal
        Would like to find something that lasts longer or a true way to fix
        Without explosions or chainsaws would be really appreciated.
        Thanks for doing what you do.
        God bless

        1. Hi Ron! Well you went and had to take all the fun out of it by removing chainsaws and explosions.

          So the water coming down the exterior wall can be coming from 2 main places. The first being where the top of the foundation wall meets the rest of the house. There is a seal that can be placed there that will stop water from coming over the top of the foundation.

          The second place would be from through the ceiling itself. If the ceiling is leaking, you’ll need to remove the porch floor above and apply an epoxy sealer to stop the water from coming through the ceiling. You can then replace the flooring from there.

  1. I’ve got a rock they left in the basement floor that couldn’t be removed and water is seeping through there. And you can see water on the cove joints too. We have 3 sides because the rear is open and yet water is still seeping. We have tiles and paint and all are well done. Yard is pitched and gutters run away and down.

    1. Hi Ramsey!

      Unfortunately some of the basement finishings are going to need to be removed, as it sounds like you need a Drain Tile System. Cove Joint Seepage as well as water coming through the basement floor is a tell-tale sign that you need to install a drainage system around the perimeter of the foundation. Even if it’s a walk-out basement, Drain Tile is still necessary to keep the 3 walls against dirt protected from seepage.

    1. Hi Lisa, unfortunately we do not. But we do know 2 great contractors out that way! Bay Area Underpinning in the Sacramento area, and Dalinghaus Construction in the Los Angeles area. Are either of those close to you?

  2. Hi
    We have water coming in through the top of the frame of our window on the main floor as well as just below the window in the basement . I’m thinking it’s running down from the window and now running onto the basement door. Do you know what the problem might be?

    1. Hi Jeannine!

      It’s hard to diagnose without eyes-on, but if you are dealing with the same issue on both windows above and below the foundation, it would point more towards a siding/tuck pointing issue. You may need to re-do the flashing/seals of the windows as well. This would be the first step.

  3. Hello, if you ever want to stay for free in a country side French house an jour and a half from Paris, i’ll let you stay for a defined période of time in échange for repairing my leaky basement.

  4. Hello, we have water coming in at the seam between wall and floor, no rain for weeks and pump not running so can’t be a pipe. We’ve contacted the city as they have water lines near. They said its our downspouts, but again no rain for weeks.

    1. Hi Manny!

      Did the city come out to listen to the water line? Sometimes, a water line can burst/break outside your foundation and allow continuous water to seep in. They would have to make a physical inspection, and although it sounds weird, they take a stethoscope and listen to hear any leaking.

      If they did that and the water line is not leaking, you may just be dealing with a high water table in the area. But it sounds more like a water line break.

      1. They did not bring any stethoscope, they did not have one. There was not enough depth for them to collect a vial either, they have not been very helpful at all.

        1. I’m sorry to hear that, Manny. If you go get one, it’s fairly easy to hear. But the village should really come out and get this taken care of for you.

    1. Hi Debra!

      Unfortunately we do not have anyone we know and trust up in Milwaukee. Best bet is to read reviews across all review sites (Yelp, Google, BBB, Angie’s) and go with the most consistent positive company. Be sure to read the negative reviews as well, they help you to see how a company will respond to an issue.

  5. Hello Austin!
    The article sheds lift on my issue. I own an old gas station building, turned into a deli and the cove leaking is horrible, sometimes up to 3 inches of water throughout the store. I know you are no where close to Pennsylvania, but can you recommend anyone in Eastern PA that does your kind of work to fix my seepage issue here in Milford, PA?

    1. Hi Jennifer!

      For Eastern PA, we recommend Worthington Waterproofing. A family owned business, and they truly care about their customers.

  6. Hi, sewer water is seeping through my basement walls and eventually mixing with sump water which ends up in my bathroom and kitchen taps. How safe is it?

    1. Hi Abhishek,

      Are you sure your sump pump water goes to your bathroom and kitchen taps? That does not seem correct. If it is, you need to change that right away.

      Any sewage coming into your basement is not good. You have a sewer break somewhere outside or under the foundation that is allowing the sewer water to mix with the storm water, and that needs to be fixed.

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