One of the telltale signs of a basement water problem is stepping into a puddle on the basement floor. Of course, any water that comes into the basement for any reason – hydrostatic or lateral pressure, gutter spillover, or oversaturated soil around the foundation – or from any source – cracks, bad mortar joints or the cove joint – ends up on the basement floor. However, there are certain types of water problems associated with the basement floor and a homeowner that wants to keep it dry is well advised to understand them.
First of all, it helps to understand what a basement floor is and what it isn’t. When a foundation is built, the first thing that is constructed after the excavation is done are the footings, broad slabs of poured concrete that describe the perimeter of the foundation and help spread the weight of the structure. After the footings have cured, the walls are built, either by pouring concrete into forms or building them from concrete blocks and mortar.
After all the structural work of the foundation is done, the soil in the middle is smoothed out even with the tops of the footings, a vapor barrier is laid on top of it and the basement floor is poured. The concrete in the basement floor is usually only two to three inches thick and the floor serves no structural purpose but is there only to provide a clean, flat surface in the basement. The floor is essentially sitting on top of the footings and butted up against the wall. The most notable place water enters through is the cove joint.
How Not to Fix a Wet Basement Floor
Another frequent cause of water in the basement is a non-structural crack in a poured concrete basement wall. These cracks are best repaired by injecting them with expanding polyurethane and many homeowners have tried the “a crack a crack” theory and asked to have floor cracks similarly injected. This doesn’t work.
Injecting a floor crack with expanding polyurethane would seal that crack but would do nothing to alleviate hydrostatic pressure that would just create more floor cracks or worsen cove seepage.
Same goes for trying to patch the cove joint with hydraulic cement or some other material. Even if the patching were successful, and it’s very difficult to force anything into the cove joint, it still wouldn’t change the hydrostatic pressure and the groundwater that creates it will simply find another way into the basement.
That old standby of DIY filling and sealing, caulk, will not solve either problem and will not adhere to floor cracks or the cove joint. Attempting to use it will just create a sticky mess and waste time that could have been used for a proper repair.
No matter what the source of seepage that creates a wet basement floor there is usually only one way to cure it permanently.
How To Stop Water From Coming Up Through The Basement Floor
The only way to stop water on the basement floor from coming up through the basement floor is by installing an interior drain tile system to collect rising moisture.
Interior drain tile style=”font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;”> – An interior drain tile system is placed underneath your basement floor around the perimeter of your foundation walls. This system uses a perforated (filled with holes) pipe laid in a bed of washed stone. This pipe collects and redirects rising groundwater to a sump pit.
Vapor barrier – A vapor barrier is a thin polyethylene sheet that’s wrapped around your foundation walls. This will prevent moisture from seeping through your basement walls, channeling any water into the drain tile system below.
Sump pump style=”font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: Arial,sans-serif;”> – A sump pump is a fixture that sits inside a sump pit. Once water is deposited into the sump pit from the drain tile system, the sump pump will eject it from your home using a discharge line. The discharge line transports water at least 20 feet from your home in order to prevent further water seepage.
Who Can Stop Water From Coming Up Through The Basement Floor?
When a homeowner discovers a wet basement floor there’s a very good chance that either cove seepage or cracks in the floor is the cause. Determining the source of seepage is a job for a trained and experienced professional and the homeowner will need the advice and services of a skilled basement waterproofing contractor to do the repair work effectively and permanently. Allow the experts at BAM Basements and Masons to help you. We are one of the most sought-after names when it comes to basement waterproofing in and around Des Moines. Our team has many years of experience and in-depth knowledge about keeping the basement free from moisture and humidity. Therefore, we can suggest the right method for your home. All our basement waterproofing techniques come at bargain basement pricing, and we ensure timely completion of each of the projects. To know more about basement waterproofing and get a free estimate, please feel free to call us!