Leaky Basement Floor

How to Fix a Leaky Basement Floor

By Mark J. Donovan

A leaky basement floor can cause major damage and disruption in the home, particularly if the problem is intermittent. A wet basement floor due to foundation and basement floor water leaks can destroy items stored in the basement as well as foster dangerous mold and mildew growth.

Years ago I had a major leaky basement floor problem on a brand new home that I had purchased. Ground water was seeping in between the basement foundation walls and the footings and concrete basement slab floor.

Besides the water, tar was also seeping in with the water. Tar was used as a basement waterproof sealer to prevent water penetration via the foundation walls.

However, due to the high water table the water pressure was strong enough to force water and tar underneath the foundation walls and up and in between the basement floor and interior foundation walls. The problem occurred almost every time during and after a rain storm. I typically would sop up about 5 to 10 gallons of water after every rain storm.

I evaluated a number of ways to solve my leaky basement floor problem. The solutions suggested to me were sealing the interior of the basement foundation walls and floor, sealing the exterior foundation walls, sealing both the interior and exterior foundation walls, installing gutters, and installing a French drain.

Due to the fact that the home was built during a housing boom, and every guy that could hold a hammer was becoming a builder, my home was built without a perimeter drain. As a result, I ended up choosing the more dramatic approach of installing a French drain, or perimeter drain, around the exterior of the foundation to eliminate my leaky basement floor problem. All of the other solutions, with the exception of adding gutters, were band-aid approaches by my estimations.

 Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet

I will admit today, though, that there are some excellent basement water sealing solutions, however I would highly recommend sealing the outside of the foundations walls versus the inside.

Installing a French drain required getting a backhoe in and digging around the foundation down to the footing level. In addition, a trench was dug away from the home to an area of land that sat lower than the finished grade surrounding the home.

After digging around the foundation several inches of crushed stone was poured into the trench around the foundation walls and into the runoff area. A network of perforated PVC piping was then installed around the perimeter of the home’s foundation walls and into the runoff trench. Additional crushed stone and then a landscaping mesh was installed over the PVC pipe. Finally, the trench was backfilled in. In the process of backfilling around the foundation walls, the soil was graded so that water would run off away from the home.

To ensure I eliminated my leaky basement floor problem I also installed gutters.

Basement floor with crack and moisture.

I am happy to report that my steps to resolve my leaky basement floor problem were a success. The basement stayed dry for the remaining years that we lived in the home.

So if you have a leaky basement floor consider all your waterproofing basement options, as well as your budget, before deciding upon a course of action. Though installing a French drain was the most expensive solution, it solved all of my basement water problems and allowed me to fully utilize my basement again.

For more help on Basement Additions, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your basement remodeling project is done correctly and you get the project finished on time and budget.

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