Basement Leaks Where Wall Meets Floor [Seal Cove Joint]

In this article, we’ll be discussing water coming in the basement where walls meet the floor, the causes, and what you can do about it.

Have you heard of hydrostatic pressure? It is when standing water beneath the foundation starts to rise and pass through small cracks.

Typically, basement seepages occur where the bottom of the walls and the floors meet.

Hydrostatic pressure is a result of heavy rainfall or lots of melted snow. This might not seem like a big deal to you, but you have to take it very seriously.

Do you know why your basement leaks at floor and wall points?

Keep reading!

Water Coming in Basement Where Walls Meet Floor

One cubic foot of water weighs as heavy as 62 pounds. Now imagine the thousands of pounds of water you have to deal with after heavy rainfall.

Keep in mind that these large volumes of water are always in search of areas to flow to, and your foundation and basement are among such places.

Considering the amount of hydrostatic pressure being mounted, water will begin to seep through the cracks in the foundation and into the basement. It will then flow down and create marks where the basement walls meet the floor.

Leaking Basement Wall Meets Floor: Why The Gap?

Gaps between basement walls and floors are not uncommon in homes. This meeting point between the floor and the wall is known as the cove joint.

The major reason why gaps appear between the wall and the floor is the way the foundation was originally poured.

During the early stages of the home building, the basement is the first area to be constructed. It is first excavated to the pre-determined depth before other works follow.

The foundation footings are usually designed with a narrow channel along the to, known as a keyway. Once the footings have had adequate time to cure, the walls then get poured with concrete.

Doing this will help to ensure that the walls are perfectly aligned.

Now that the walls have cured, the basement floors get poured last. Since the walls and floors are poured separately, a cove joint will be created.

How To Stop Water Seepage In Basement Floor

Now that you have a better understanding of what a cove joint is and why there’s a leakage there, let’s take a look at what you can do to solve the problem.

  • Sealing Basement Wall Floor Joint

Your first call of action would likely be to seal the leakage. Actually, most homeowners would think along that line. And while sealing the cracks with a hydraulic cement mixture or some other waterproofer remains a great idea, it is not an effective long-term solution.

Remember, the cracks were caused by hydrostatic pressure in the first place. This type of pressure pushes water through even the tiniest cracks.

So if such pressure is pushed against your hydraulic sealant, it would only be a matter of time before it gives in and more cracks are formed. Also, some of the water can push towards other directions and find new openings to flow through.

Once again, applying sealants isn’t a bad idea, but using that as a sole approach to stop your cove joints from leaking is a bad idea.

For backup (a very strong one for that matter), your best chance at stopping water seeping through the basement floor is to install drain tiles.

The drain tile system should be embedded into washed stone found beneath the floor.

You can have the drain tile installed either on the interior or the exterior of the basement.

We have to point out that drain tile installation isn’t something you can do by yourself. You will need to hire a professional to get the job done.

It is a tedious process, so pull out the extra Dollars and pay the professionals.

Interior Drain Tile Installation

As far as basements are concerned, installing drainage systems is commonly done from the inside. This is probably because it requires a less stressful process and there won’t be too much excavation needed.

For interior drain tile installation, the contractors would have to break the floor away 18 inches from the foundation walls. This will create a trench that should span about 12 inches wide.

After this is done, the contractors will now set a layer of washed gravel into the trench. A perforated drain pipe is also installed, and it stretches throughout the total distance of the trench.

The trench is connected to the sump pump pit, from where standing water is redirected away from the basement and into the main sewer system.

Now the professionals will add some more washed gravel to cover the full length of the drain pipe. After that, they will add some poured concrete to totally hide the drainage system.

Installation of drain tiles from the inside doesn’t cause any damage to your basement or home. And it will effectively reduce hydrostatic pressure and keep cove joint moisture away.

After the system has been installed and the final concrete has been poured, you can then apply your hydraulic cement sealant to help prevent water from leaking through the cove joint.

Exterior Drain Tile Installation

Exterior drain tiles are installed to do the same job as the internal system. The major difference here is that installation is much harder!

The reason for this is that there would have to be some excavation along the perimeter which surrounds your home’s foundation. All this hard work will mean longer working hours, and of course a higher bill from the contractors.

For this process to kick off, the contractors will first have to take away anything that surrounds the perimeter of the foundation. These include gardens, porches, patios, shrubs, masonry, sections of your driveway, stairs, and even AC units.

The thought of doing all this is tiring, and homeowners are usually discouraged from taking this route. It is highly inconvenient, and it costs a lot to do.

However, if the basement has already been finished, and there are occupants down there, then exterior drain tile installation would become an unavoidable option.

The best time to install an exterior drain tile system is during the construction phase. Anything after that would mean a ton of work!

Interior Drain Tile System Cost

When it comes to stopping water seeping through the basement floor, the interior drain tile system is the more favorable approach. This is because it costs less, and you can have the entire job done in as little as two days.

So, we’ve spoken severally about how cost-effective interior drain tile installation can be. Yet, you may not have a clue how much it costs.

On average, you can expect to spend between $8,000 to $15,000 for interior drain tile installation.

This seems like a lot of money, but you’ll have second thoughts when you find out just how expensive exterior drain tile installation is.

Exterior Drain Tile System Cost

Apart from being the more expensive option, exterior drain tile installation is also the most stressful.

This involves excavating the perimeter of the entire building foundation, then installing the drain. Keep in mind that the foundation of the home may even get damaged during all this digging.

That aside, some furniture or structure around the foundation has to be removed before the installation starts.

So, just how expensive would this be for homeowners who are planning to go this route?

On average, you should expect to spend between $14,000 to $35,000 to install an exterior drain tile system. This is basically twice the amount an interior drain tile system will cost.

My House Already Has An Exterior Drain Tile System, Why Is It Leaking?

If you find that there is a leakage by the cove joint even with an exterior drain tile system installed, then the problem could be from a clogged filter fiber.

The filter fiber is a layer that sits on the top gravel of the exterior drain system, and it can collect dirt and debris over time, which will in turn not allow it to pass water away effectively.

The case may even be that there was no filter fiber added to the drain system when it was built. This would also mean that the drain system will still get clogged and water will still seep through the cove joints.

Regular inspection and servicing of your drain systems will ensure they aren’t clogged and are passing out water effectively.

Who Do You Call To Fix A Leak In The Cove Joint?

DIY enthusiasts usually assume they can do everything. And while it’s okay to give it a shot, something as serious as cove joint leakages are best left for the professionals to handle.

It takes training and practice to be able to properly install a drain system and connect it to the main outdoor sewer system. We don’t assume you have the training or knowledge required to do this.

Conclusion

If you find that your basement leaks where walls meet the floor, then it’s mainly due to hydrostatic pressure. Use the information provided here to fix the problem and prevent further leakages.

We hope this is was helpful.

Thanks for reading!

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