Fixes for a Leaky Basement
LESLIE: Jeremy in Pennsylvania is dealing with a leaky basement. What can we do for you?
JEREMY: I have a finished basement that has blocked foundation. And I have a small leak that – it’s not pulling up water or anything like that; it just kind of causes me some moisture problems.
JEREMY: And it smells kind of musty and damp and things like that.
TOM: Where is the leak?
JEREMY: The leak is in that – whenever I – before I finished it, it was at the corner of the slab and the block wall.
JEREMY: And it seemed like it was coming up from underneath. I sealed it, I think, inadvertently with DRYLOK and I don’t think that that necessarily did the trick. And I didn’t know if there was another thing that I could do without gutting the basement completely, because I have laminate floor down and drywall up, if there is anything I can do from the outside.
TOM: Jeremy, when – does it get worse after a heavy rain?
JEREMY: It has before. It hasn’t gotten much worse, no.
TOM: But it seems somewhat consistent with how much rainfall you get outside?
TOM: Yeah, OK. So, listen, the good news is there’s nothing you need to do inside to fix this. The problem is outside.
I would suspect, because this is in a corner, you may even have a downspout near that area of the house. But generally, if you have a leak against a foundation wall like that, it’s caused more by drainage than it is by anything like a rising water table.
So if you look outside at the foundation in that area, you’re going to probably see that you’ve got a blocked gutter that need to be cleaned or you have a gutter that doesn’t have enough downspouts or you’ve got downspouts that are discharging too close to the house. When you have a moisture problem, you want to – really want to extend those downspouts out 4 to 6 feet. Or perhaps you could have some grading that’s too flat and not sort of allowing water to run away.
When it comes to water and moisture, the first 4 to 6 feet around the house foundation perimeter is really the most critical. And if the water is allowed to sit and collect that close to the house, what’s going to happen is you’re going to get that moisture come right back down into the basement. So the solution is to fix the drainage outside and the inside will fix itself.
JEREMY: Yeah, I think it’s probably a combination of the two. I have a gutter right there in that corner and then I think my grading is – I think it actually comes towards the house, as opposed to running away from the house.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s a double whammy.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a recipe for a flood right there.
TOM: Yeah, start by getting the downspout out. Just put an extension on that leader and you may see an instant result.
JEREMY: OK. Terrific. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jeremy. Good luck with that project.