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aspenphoto 09-11-2009 05:25 AM

Baffled by leaky basement
I am approaching my wits end about water entering our "waterproofed" basement. We have about a 50 year old two story house. It is a twin - common to our section of Philly. the previous owners had issues with water entering the basement on the front (west) facing wall - so they had an interior drain installed along the perimeter leading to a sump pump (which pumps into the utility sink which seems quite odd to me). They said no problems after that -and finished the basement with carpet and wood paneling. About two years in - we noticed the carpet was wet on one corner - the corner that is shared with the other half of our twin. Sadly, this only subjected our cat to a vet visit as we were convinced HE was the cause of the 'wetness'. As the problem would not go away I finally ripped the carpet up to discover the water seeping from behind the paneling. Off comes that section of paneling. The cement wall had a vertical crack - not more than a 1/16 f an inch wide that would lead to a small stream of water when it rained - no need for a heavy rain. I tried to patch it with hydrostatic (?) cement - no dice. As I pondered I heard dripping near our water main shutoff at the OTHER corner - opened the access panel and boom - more dripping water. Outside I go - I plugged all visible cracks on the exterior along the soil line/stairs. Still water. I dug around the far corner about 3 feet down, no cracks visible - still put up a rubberized covering and sloped the soil away - rain this morning - more water in the basement.

The only other possiblity I can think is this...and want to know if others think I may on the right track. We have a mini-steeple over the bedroom window on the side that leeks. This effectively channels water down each side - and there is no gutter on the front of the house. SO, the water then runs down over a stone exterior (not sure if brick is behind it). Where the water is running down the house there are several small'ish holes in the mortar between the stones. I'm thinking maybe the problem was never in the ground but rather a result of the runoff from the roof - made worse now by it getting behind the stones and then channeling into the basement??

My question..and sorry for the it a plausible cause? AND if so, would installation of gutters on the front and patching the mortar be effective in stopping the leaks??

Any help is GREATLY appreciated!:confused:

Hube 09-12-2009 10:22 AM

the MAIN CAUSES for water entering a basement are;*

* no perimeter footing tiles (weepers) (This is most important)

* improper grading that will not allow water to run AWAY from building.

*lack of eavestroughing (gutter) and/or downspouts to divert any water AWAY from building.

*Lack of waterproofing on the weather side of ALL exterior walls.

Do any of these above causes exist?

aspenphoto 09-12-2009 12:39 PM


Originally Posted by Hube (Post 34602)
the MAIN CAUSES for water entering a basement are;*

* no perimeter footing tiles (weepers)

* improper grading that will not allow water to run AWAY from building.
*lack of eavestroughing (gutter) and/or downspouts to divert any water AWAY from building.

*Lack of waterproofing on the weather side of ALL exterior walls.
Do any of these above causes exist?

1) Honestly have no clue about this one - will go google search weepers now :)
2) No - there is a grade for approx 10 feet away from the house.
3) YES - none on the front as I said earlier - there is a small steeple on the front that seems to channel water in two locations.
4) I just waterproofed the exterior at one of the leak locations - it appeared to have been done earlier as well.

Nestor_Kelebay 09-12-2009 08:52 PM


Go to the Bricks, Masonry and Concrete forum and read the post entitled "Concrete basement floor drain".

It will explain what weeping tiles are, and why they're important, and why if your house's weeping tiles are all clogged up with dirt or silt, then you end up with water seepage into your basement.

Do you have a catch basin or sump pit in your basement? Or in your neighbor's basement? I'd phone some drain cleaning companies and see if they can run a camera nto your sump pit or catch basin and inspect your weeping tiles.

Nestor_Kelebay 09-12-2009 10:15 PM


Here's a picture of what weeping tiles do and stuff:

In the picture, it is raining.

The rain water percolates down into the ground. It would normally continue sinking into the ground until it hits the "water table" which can be anywhere from a few feet to a few dozen feet below the ground.

When the water table is high, then water will want to leak into any cracks in your basement foundation.

The weeping tiles allow an easier patch for the water to drain away. So, water in the water table above the weeping tiles drains into the weeping tiles, and there is no hydrostatic pressure forcing the water to flow into any cracks in your foundation.

(don't get me wrong. The ground around your foundaton will always be moist, but it will be the capillary pressure of the ground holding that moisture inside it. There won't be any excess water saturation above and beyond that which would create "free water", and create a hydrostatic pressure that would push water into your basement's foundation walls.)

Now, once water enters the weeping tiles, it will then flow to EITHER a catch basin (which is also called a "basement floor drain"), or it will flow to a sump pit. If you have a catch basin, that catch basin will have a p-trap at the bottom and that p-trap will connect to the main sewer drain pipe from your house (the one that goes to the city sewer pipe buried under the middle of the street your house is on). If you have a sump pit, then there will be a sump pump that pumps the water back outside, or into you're house's drain piping, depending on what your plumbing code required when your house was built.

If you have a duplex, then if there's no floor drain or sump pit in your half of the basement, it'll be in your neighbor's half of the basement.

Now, what happens if your weeping tiles get all clogged up with dirt? Well, then you have a situation where your weeping tiles can't do their job, and the result is that your house behaves just like there were no weeping tiles. In that case, excess water can build up in the ground around your house's foundation, and water will want to seep into your basement walls.

I'd phone around to some plumbers and see if there are any sewer inspection cameras that can be put into a floor drain or sump pit to check the condition of the weeping tiles.

handyguys 09-14-2009 07:38 AM

I know the twins that you are referring to. I grew up in the area. They have no "weeping tiles". Also I do not like the setup in that picture. I would never bring water from the outside into a sump just to pump it back out again.

The principle is to do you fixes from the outside. Hube has it right.

I suspect your lack of gutter or downspout discharge may be contributing to the issue. Another factor - many of these houses were built with stone foundations. These are very difficult to waterproof.

PM me or contact me via my site - if you are real close maybe The Handyguys could take a field trip.

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