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marriomi 07-08-2012 08:53 PM

Stumped where basement leak is from
I have noticed a small amount of water seeping into my side room of the basement and can't figure out where it is coming from. As you can see in the pics, it looks like a small leak about 18 inches from my main drain line. This leak is directly below my kitchen sink, however I see no visible signs of leakage from the water lines. I had installed a new purifier to the sink, and had a leak before, which became very visible (wet rafters and such) There is no such moisture now (rafters bone dry, no pipe drips, and no leaks under sink).

The wall touches the outside, but is at least 20 feet away from the AC unit and outside water faucet. The line for the faucet does run past this spot, but again no visible leaks.

The water seems to be coming from the corner where the wall and floor meet. There is a internal drain system in the floor directly below where the leak is on the floor. There is no additional visible leaks in the basement, and the weather for the past couple weeks have been very dry, with only a couple spots of rain in the past weeks.

Any thoughts on what it could be? Do I take a chisel and chip out that area of the corner and re-mortar it? Is it from the super high temps and my basement being rather cool yet accessible to the outside (garage goes into basement)? I'm stumped. I've run the sink and watched for drips and dried the area only to find more moisture within the hour.


user1007 07-08-2012 09:51 PM

Gutters and downspout in that corner are clear?

marriomi 07-08-2012 09:54 PM

I do need to check the DS that is closest there, it goes underground so it probably ties into that area perhaps. I didn't think to check it because like I had mentioned, we had no appreciable rain lately, which makes me wonder why it is seeping at the moment

Pianolady 07-09-2012 07:58 AM


Originally Posted by marriomi (Post 961227)
I do need to check the DS that is closest there, it goes underground so it probably ties into that area perhaps. I didn't think to check it because like I had mentioned, we had no appreciable rain lately, which makes me wonder why it is seeping at the moment

This is exactly the problem our house had when we purchased it. The downspout that ran under the house was clay pipe that had been filled with mud was totally useless. If it's clogged, the water could have been sitting in the pipe for some time, you wouldn't have to have a recent rain. It's like a water delivery system to your foundation. Once we diverted the downspout away from the house, our problem stopped and never returned.

marriomi 07-09-2012 08:20 AM

In the process of cleaning the gutters now. They were about 1/2 filled with gunk so there a possibility there is clogs down the downspout. Gonna try to clear it out. Are there any options short of diverting this spout? It is on the far side of the house and in a area that already is moist from a underground stream. I think just spitting it out there would cause issues. Is there a "Drano" type product for a downspout?

user1007 07-09-2012 08:45 AM

Last thing you want to do is start adding caustic chemicals to a downspout. They will not work, will likely eat the material the downspouts are made of, most probably toss the Ph of your soil off, and could get you a nasty fine for polluting runoff and ground water if you get caught.

Where I am and most places I have lived you cannot have downspouts draining into underground pipes because of the load on the sewer system. They have to drain over the landscape.

Maybe now is the time to invest in some rain barrels?

The good news is I think we found your basement leak problem!

Pianolady 07-09-2012 09:35 AM

How old is your house? Have you dug down a bit to see what your pipe running under your house is made of? Our's was clay and it was crushed to oblivion. No hope of rescue there. I'd check before running any more water down that downspout, or disconnect it and run a temporary tube away from the house while you are cleaning the gutters.

Without pics of your landscape, it's hard to recommend a re-route of your downspout. What's your soil like? Easy to dig, or do you hit rock 6" down? It's hard to recommend anything without more information. Where I live you just grab a shovel and dig, it's that easy. So keep that in mind when I tell you what we did.

If you have a downhill landscape away from the house of any kind, or a ditch of any kind, that's where it needs to go. We have a ranch with a walkout basement, so the front of our property is much higher than the back, so naturally we try to have everything go to the back away from the house. One of our front downspouts travels 20 feet along the side of the house, just bury it if you want it to look nice.

This is our most recent downspout just installed after we had our retaining wall put in. Hanging an ugly downspout in front of the new retaining was not an option. Had to dig the trench down quite a ways to get a downward slope. This is how we get all our downspouts where we want them to go. We went this route since putting it in the retaining wall ended up not being an option. I prefer this anyway, as it's easier to access if there ever is a problem. It actually exits in the middle of a garden. Once things grow back, you won't even see it.

If you can find a lower elevation for your downspout to drain to, you can create a downward slope to your destination by digging a trench, laying your tube, and covering it up. I may create a dry bed in this area for the drainage off the wall too, or just plant low ground covers. Have to build our deck before I do anything more here.

marriomi 07-09-2012 10:07 AM

The house is around 50 years old. I am pretty sure it is clay underground because where the downspout meets ground there is a clay pipe that takes the metal downspout. I cleaned the area out and ran some water down it. No immediate backups, but there still is a trickle of water seeping into the basement. Might consider getting the drain scoped perhaps? I will try to post pics, but I don't think that downspout has many places to go, other than doing a small run to the edge of my porch,, which has a gutter that leads to a new undergound pipe.

One thing I do notice in the basement is the walls are dry-locked and the join between the floor and wall seem to be caulked with a grey substance, however the spot that is where I believe the water to be coming from seems to be void of any caulk and feels more or less like concrete.

Obviously putting a patch over that area won't solve whatever is causing the seepage, but should I patch the area anyways? There is a interior french drain or whatever that was installed before we got the house, I am wondering if that area was patched, would the interior drain take care of the seepage?

marriomi 07-09-2012 02:26 PM

So this is the gutter that goes underground. As a point of reference, the leak in the basement is under the first window sill behind that downspout.

I want to think that that downspout would run towards the camera and join with the downspout you see in the upper right. That spout runs about 15 ft to the right, and down into a black plastic pipe which runs another 30-40 ft to the driveway. I think that because it seems like it would be a really odd angle for that pipe to make the corner of the house and then run towards the AC unit.

If you guys still think it to be the possible issue, can I put a 90 degree in that spout and then run a straight run to the spout in the upper right?. Not sure if there is enough angle. Maybe put the down part of the gutter closer to the porch, then run it along the edge?

Pianolady 07-10-2012 02:07 PM

Your photo is a dead link. Can you try again?

marriomi 07-10-2012 02:25 PM

Updated the link and providing here for reference

Pianolady 07-10-2012 02:39 PM

Well if it were me, I'd disconnect the downspout from the clay pipe and run a temporary black tube out into the yard in the meantime capping off the clay pipe, especially if rain is in the forecast. It won't be pretty for a bit, but will give it a chance to dry out until you find the problem. I assume a plumber could come in and check out the pipe for you. Someone else with more knowledge on this subject will hopefully chime in here for you.

marriomi 07-14-2012 03:07 PM

I have a theory and would like to know if it sounds reasonable as to why my wall has been leaking. I noticed that my concrete blocks in the basement are staggered and I believe hollow because in another room there had been electrical run down the hollow blocks and a outlet cut into the block.

The spot that has been seeping water was directly below the area where when I installed my water purifier and caused the sink to leak for at least 30 min or so in the rafters, that water flowed into the concrete block, which seems open on top and touching the wood that holds the 1st floor up.

I believe that water flowed into the gaps between the blocks to the base of the floor and began to seep out of this hole.

Does that seem reasonable? It seems to fit the time frame of noticing this seep after installing and causing the initial leak.

I have cleaned the gutter outside and upon more searching, that downspout in the pic above runs away from the house and ties into the downspout off of my back porch, which is away from this leak area.

GutterGuy 07-17-2012 11:21 AM

I have seen sils rotted out due to overflowing gutters which would definitely cause water to seep in between the cinder blocks. I saw it on a house that had some solid hood covers on the gutter to protect from clogs. The house had to be put on jacks and the sil had to be replaced which was quite costly. If the over flow is something that could happen during heavy flow then I would look into some gutter guards. The solid hood type seems to cause more bad than good but I found these Raindrop gutter guards and they've worked quite well for me.

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