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Ok guys please lend me some advice. Where's this basement water coming from THIS TIME?!

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Billbill84

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Hi guys. I've posted a while back about issues I've had when we had heavy downpour and flooding window wells, water seeping in the fully finished basement we love so much in a home we just bought last January!

Burst sump discharge line in the wall, and water settling too close to the foundation due to poor grading. House was built in 2001 so this is not a new issue, but for us it is unfortunate.

Another heavy rain and this time I go check on how things are running in the sump room which I had partly unfinished due to the broken discharge line we had about 4 months ago. So it's raining heavily, I'm sipping a cold beer after a long day at work and the pit is taking so much water that the pump is literally firing every 15-20 seconds.

Pit was rising about 1" per second! But all is operational and I come back down to check things out again before going to bed and JEZUZ..... everything running pump wise but I SEE WATER ON THE FLOOR BEHIND THE WALL STUDS!!!!!

I immediately go outside to investigate. I see a good about of standing water about 2ft from the foundation wall. It's only 2-3" deep and maybe 14" wide, but pretty long as this river-like puddle sorta wraps around that corner of the house for about 12 feet or so,(foundation walls are visible roughly 18" above grade with no cracks and in great shape from what can been seen). I do believe the surrounding soil was in fact over saturated preventing enough run off.

The window well closest to this area with water is completely flooded from the bottom up, the sides of well and top are sealed up with 75lbs of silicone! The water didn't leak in at the window though because it's sealed off with a ton of flex seal and the water didn't get up to the window but was close!

I pull the cover and removed 98% of the water and put a 10 ft downspout extension on the gutter, went back in grabbed a beer now here I am:(

Looking at my photos, you can see why it's hard to track this one down because part of that room has the drywall up still and where ever this water is seeping in at it came from behind that drywall first and then slowly seeped to where it's highly visible as shown in the pics below.

The weird thing is that its starting point is somewhere behind that drywall, yet that area outside is graded good and didn't have ANY standing water!

If I may, I'd like to conclude that I understand fully that concrete is porous, grading is key, and the only way to know for sure is to rip out more drywall.

I'm only asking for experienced guys who have dealt with situations like mine and what would you tell me to do if I was your son?

I put a fan in the room to dry that water before it runs behind the other wall and into the next room BUT I didn't fire it yet because I wanted to see if the downspout extension and sump pump extensions did the trick.

I didn't think I'd need to do that as the water was standing yet still not against the wall except for at that well and that's NOT where any water seeped in at, weird right?

My only other theory is if is not an overwhelmed drain tile because the standing water and over saturated ground soil outside the area in question, would the subsurface water be leaching down, going a little across and through the seal that's around the sewer main and seeping in through there, behind drywall and running over to the area that exposes it?

If you're still reading this I'm shaking the hell out of your hand in appreciation I know this was the longest (crap) show ever.
 
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Jeff Handy

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The penetration of the sewer through the foundation is a common leak source.
It is often patched half-assed and cracked and loose fitting.

The solution is to dig or drill and chip out all the concrete patching around it, at least several inches deep.
Deeper is better.
Clean out all loose dust and chips.
Wipe all surfaces down with a very damp cloth.
Then pack the excavation with water plug aka hydraulic cement.
It can be mixed up thick like mashed potatoes and packed in by hand, wear gloves if you want.
It sets pretty fast so work fast.
Make a small batch as a test, to practice.
It expands as it sets, very good sealer.
You can do it in several layers from the bottom up, if needed.
Shape it so each layer butts up to the next layer, or slightly tapered back, so the next layer gets locked in at the edge.

There is frequently a foundation crack at the bottom corner of basement windows.
If your well was flooded, that is also a likely source of leaking.

You need to raise the grading in that corner at least several inches, more is better.
And you might have to install a window well extension to allow higher grading around it.
Some folks put a small utility pump into the window well for big rain events.
Even if the well is perfectly sealed at the sides and has a cover, it can fill from the bottom up.

Keep your gutters clean.
If they run over, it can cause basement seepage.

Leave the sump and downspout extensions on permanently.
You can bury them, and pipe to a good surface drain outlet.
But you should change them to a winter drain on the surface, from approx Oct 1st to Apr 1st.

And ten feet is still too close to the house for the sump pump outlet, unless you have very good grading away.

You might be getting water through a crack in the wall behind the drywall.
Or just a hole.
A common source is at any of the metal bolts that used to hold the wood forms together.
They can rust out and water runs in around that penetration.

Also, sometimes a bolt or nail going through the sole plate of the stud wall will get water coming up through it.
If so, you can pull that fastener, and drill a slightly wider hole, clean the hole out dust free, and put in a bolt or lag screw, bedded in epoxy all around it.

I think more drywall has to come down on both walls, to catch the leaks in action.
 
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Jeff Handy

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Water saturating the soil on the window side can run around the corner of the foundation underground, and seep in over there.

Or water filling the window well can run over there.
Water goes sideways as well as down, especially with more water above pushing on it.

And any water getting behind the plastic sheeting on the window side can run down and eventually escape through a break at the sump pump wall area.
 

Billbill84

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The penetration of the sewer through the foundation is a common leak source.
It is often patched half-assed and cracked and loose fitting.

The solution is to dig or drill and chip out all the concrete patching around it, at least several inches deep.
Deeper is better.
Clean out all loose dust and chips.
Wipe all surfaces down with a very damp cloth.
Then pack the excavation with water plug aka hydraulic cement.
It can be mixed up thick like mashed potatoes and packed in by hand, wear gloves if you want.
It sets pretty fast so work fast.
Make a small batch as a test, to practice.
It expands as it sets, very good sealer.
You can do it in several layers from the bottom up, if needed.
Shape it so each layer butts up to the next layer, or slightly tapered back, so the next layer gets locked in at the edge.

There is frequently a foundation crack at the bottom corner of basement windows.
If your well was flooded, that is also a likely source of leaking.

You need to raise the grading in that corner at least several inches, more is better.
And you might have to install a window well extension to allow higher grading around it.
Some folks put a small utility pump into the window well for big rain events.
Even if the well is perfectly sealed at the sides and has a cover, it can fill from the bottom up.

Keep your gutters clean.
If they run over, it can cause basement seepage.

Leave the sump and downspout extensions on permanently.
You can bury them, and pipe to a good surface drain outlet.
But you should change them to a winter drain on the surface, from approx Oct 1st to Apr 1st.

And ten feet is still too close to the house for the sump pump outlet, unless you have very good grading away.

You might be getting water through a crack in the wall behind the drywall.
Or just a hole.
A common source is at any of the metal bolts that used to hold the wood forms together.
They can rust out and water runs in around that penetration.

Also, sometimes a bolt or nail going through the sole plate of the stud wall will get water coming up through it.
If so, you can pull that fastener, and drill a slightly wider hole, clean the hole out dust free, and put in a bolt or lag screw, bedded in epoxy all around it.

I think more drywall has to come down on both walls, to catch the leaks in action.
Thanks Jeff for all the pointers and advice I really appreciate it man. You're very knowledgable with all this house guff.

I think I will remove the drywall that's on the sewer main exit wall as a start. The part that has me most confused about last night's debacle is that the seepage stopped and just dried up. When I first found the water on the floor it was only up to that first 2x4 stud off the corner and 2hrs later when I came back inside after rediverting the ground water which was running back towards the house a bit, the water seeping grew to the size you see in the photos as i shot those after I came back inside. I sat and monitored it for 3 more hours and no more seeping all water quickly dried up as the heavy rain continued.

I did 3 main things when I was out there.
1) added gut down spout extension
2) discharge extension
3) and bucketed out 98% of that window well water and reinstalled cover.

After I did the work the ground still had heavy puddling and over saturated soils, I just stopped adding to it with them extensions I installed. The major exterior water removal was the window well which I believe filled up because the sump discharge and downspout were running back and saturated the ground enough to fill that well from bottom up like you said. That makes the most sense so far.

Something else dawned on me after thinking about your post for a while and I'm asking myself what's changed in my setup to lead to this?! Last crazy downpour this well didn't fill up at all. Still that a little water in the landscaping edging (where that river rock lines it). The change? The sump discharge USED to be buried so the water was carried 40+ ft away from the house! All that water was coming back saturated ground enough to fill that darn well bottom up!

Why did the seepage stop? The area outside the sewer main exit was dry no puddling (see new pics please). And the foundation wall inside all around that window well was bone dry too which is about 5 or 6ft around the corner when outside.

Theory 1) All that water run-back and over saturated soils filled that well bottom up and the water drained from there, around the corner and got in through the sewer main seal.
Theory 2) I was consulting a buddy at work who does house flipping repairs part time and he suggested that because I had so much water running back towards house it over-welmed that foundation drain tile in that area causing water to leach up through the foundation floor cove joint behind the drywall.

Either way whatever of the 3 things I did outside stopped that water and I still have some hard work to do here. Out of the theory's which seems more accurate?? And by the way, how's that for some paragraph breaks?
 
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Jeff Handy

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Hurray for paragraph breaks!

There is often a delay between rainfall and seepage.
The water has to run down through the ground, so seepage can even start hours after the rain is all finished.

Sometimes in summer, during a drought period, the soil will shrink and develop deep wide cracks.
And the soil also might pull back from the foundation.

So in that situation, if there is big rain, it can run right through the cracks and get right into the foundation right away, and start seeping almost immediately.

If the joint where the wall and floor meet is leaking, you can inject epoxy or polyurethane in there, or have a basement waterproofing company do that.
 

Billbill84

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Hurray for paragraph breaks!

There is often a delay between rainfall and seepage.
The water has to run down through the ground, so seepage can even start hours after the rain is all finished.

Sometimes in summer, during a drought period, the soil will shrink and develop deep wide cracks.
And the soil also might pull back from the foundation.

So in that situation, if there is big rain, it can run right through the cracks and get right into the foundation right away, and start seeping almost immediately.

If the joint where the wall and floor meet is leaking, you can inject epoxy or polyurethane in there, or have a basement waterproofing company do that.
Copy that, thanks Jeff.
Won't know for sure where exactly that water was seeping in at until I pull the drywall down where it was coming from and running around the inside corner of that room. If no water marks or staining up at that sewer main exit then I know it had to be at the cove joint. We shall see though.

Still sort of baffled about the seeping just completely stopping like I described earlier because still had heavy rain and standing water left over on the surface after my "adjustments" outside. Do you think that well could have seeped in at that point, went sideways in foundation wall around the corner and finally to that sewer main exit seal? That wall with the flooded well was bone dry everywhere on the inside so I'm at a loss for explanation.

Another important piece of data I should note is that prior to doing any work outside my sump pump would fire every 20 seconds! And after I did the work it was about 38 seconds. Not sure if that lends itself to something here.
 

68bucks

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My last house had a basement that liked to flood. It was mostly finished and I had 4 serious floods. You friend that mentioned the seeping at the joint of the wall and floor is what came to my mind.
I had a sump check valve fail once and water was coming in faster than it was pumping out and I had seepage at that joint all over the place. I never has water leak in through the wall at the water line or sewage line. They were 18"-24" off the floor. My sump pump used to run like crazy when we had a lot of rain.
When you have the problem is the end of the perimeter tile coming into the sump crock completely covered or only partially? If it's covered it might just be full and that would let the water accumulate along the footer and let it seep in.
I never had issues with window well filling up. Are the windows egress window or regular small basement windows, just curious.
 

Billbill84

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When you have the problem is the end of the perimeter tile coming into the sump crock completely covered or only partially?
Are you asking if the area outside where the end of the tile comes in at was covered with water? If so, I'd say there was some but most the water was just around the corner at that downspout and window well area (see pics in my last post).
One thing that stands out to me is the fact that my crock only has ONE inlet drain tile coming into it and I thought there should be TWO right? If it's a full perimeter drain I'm imagining a square with two ends that meet which should be the two ends of tile meeting in the crock! If this is correct, and I only have one end of the tile coming in to the crock, it means that one end is most likely capped and should be directly at the footer where the one end comes inside if it is a "full" perimeter drain.
Wouldn't that naturally make this a problem area?
 

Billbill84

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IMG_2183.jpg Forgot I had this pic!
This is one of my yard areas with the issue and a slight grading issue. I tried to illustrate it with the red lines showing pos and neg pitch, the blue arrow shows where the end of the temporary discharge line ends about the top of hill or just a few inches shy of the top. Now it's extended another 6ft
 
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68bucks

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My crock only had one end of the tile coming in too. What I was wondering is when you look in the crock and see that tile is the pipe is completely covered before the pump kicks on? If the end of the pipe is covered it may indicate the whole perimeter tile is full and that might let the water lay up against the foundation.
If the pump kicks on and the end of the tile is always partially above the water level that is less likely the problem. When my pump would run the tile end was always at least half or so above the water line in the crock. The pump would pump the water down to a level that the whole pipe end would be exposed/ open so you could probably assume the tile wasn't laying full of water so there shouldn't be any water up again the walls, if that makes any sense.
 

Billbill84

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My crock only had one end of the tile coming in too. What I was wondering is when you look in the crock and see that tile is the pipe is completely covered before the pump kicks on? If the end of the pipe is covered it may indicate the whole perimeter tile is full and that might let the water lay up against the foundation.
If the pump kicks on and the end of the tile is always partially above the water level that is less likely the problem. When my pump would run the tile end was always at least half or so above the water line in the crock. The pump would pump the water down to a level that the whole pipe end would be exposed/ open so you could probably assume the tile wasn't laying full of water so there shouldn't be any water up again the walls, if that makes any sense.
Yes that makes sense I see what you're saying now. The water level is still about 4 or 5" below the tile when the pump fires. Thanks for sharing your thoughts I appreciate it that's definitely something to keep in mind for the future
 

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