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Sforza 10-27-2009 12:58 PM

Water seeping though bottom of basement stairs

I have bilco doors that lead to concrete stairs. We we get a lot of rain, water seeps through the bottom step into my unfinished basement. It is a cinder block basement, with a concrete floor and gravel under the concrete.

I made some grading changes outside, and installed wider gutters. This helped a little, but I still get water.

I am sure it is entering from the where the bottom step meets the floor. The water puddles there first, then spreads. This area happens to be the lowest point of the basement floor.

I am considering installing a sump pump in the corner closest to the stairs. Do you think this will solve the problem?

I had a 'pro' come in and take a look. He suggested digging a trench around the parameter of the basement and installing a sump ($3000 quoted price). I feel like that might be over kill considering I only get enough water to coat the floor, and only once has it spread to the other side of my basement. What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance,



Ron6519 10-27-2009 03:11 PM

If there some sort of landing at the bottom of the stairs or does the bottom step land right at the door entrance?
If there's some space there, I would dig out the area as deep as you can and fill it with gravel. That should keep a sporatic leak from entering the house. If you have enough room and the water issue is more evident, you might try a sump pump with a pipe to dispose of the water. the solution depends on how severe the water issue is.

Sforza 10-28-2009 07:50 PM

Sforza 10-28-2009 07:52 PM

The second to last photo shows where I plan on installing the sump.

You can see that the stairs get wet, but the water is not dripping in, it is seeping through where the bottom step meets the floor.

Thanks again

gregzoll 10-28-2009 08:30 PM

Appears that there may be nothing sealing the door from the concrete. that would be one reason you are getting water seepage. Another would be that the door is smaller then the block frame that it is sitting on, and causing water to find the weakest point. Take a photo from the outside, preferably showing close, but not so close that you cannot tell what you are looking at.

Ebbo 10-28-2009 09:00 PM

As gregzoll said, take some exterior photos. Most likely the problem has to be improper seal of Bilco doors to concrete. Also does your home have siding? Could be that flashing was not installed before J channel.

Sforza 10-28-2009 09:38 PM

I will tomorrow morning, please come back and ffer your advice.


Sforza 10-29-2009 07:45 AM

Ron6519 10-29-2009 10:38 AM

It looks like you have two issues. You have concrete over the side of the exterior so water is leaking in through the space. I would caulk all three sides after it was both clean and dry.
The base issue might be remedied with cutting a groove into the three sides of the bottom step at the floor interface and putting in hydraulic cement to seal the perimeter.
To minimize the water next to the bilco door, I would make sure there were no leaders emptying in the area and the ground was graded properly.
If you really want the sump, you can install a grate at the stair botton that empties into the sump in the corner. This way you avoid water on the floor entirely.

gregzoll 10-29-2009 12:25 PM

If you can get someone to help you, I would pull the door off, clean & caulk the frame before placing back down. As for how it is mounted inside, are there bolts, or was it placed down when the concrete was poured?

If not removable, you will have to wire brush, and place a good Silicon, not Latex caulk around the outside perimeter, and then inside, do the same.

Sforza 10-29-2009 12:40 PM

so you guys think i should try to reseal where the bilco door meets the concrete?

It's connected with bolts.

You think the sump is excessive?

How should i patch up the cracks on the exterior concrete?

Ron6519 10-29-2009 01:18 PM


Originally Posted by Sforza (Post 346951)
so you guys think i should try to reseal where the bilco door meets the concrete?

It's connected with bolts.

You think the sump is excessive?

How should i patch up the cracks on the exterior concrete?

You can do the repairs in stages.
Caulk the exterior
Fill in the concrete cracks with hydraulic cement.
Grade the exterior away from the staircase.
Extend the leader at least 6 ft away.

See what happens. If water still gets in, install the sump system.

gregzoll 10-29-2009 07:27 PM

What you can do around the 3 sides, is put in place a trench with a drain, but use rock over it. The drain pipe will have to have the sock on it to keep dirt and debris from filling it up. I would make it around 16" deep, by 12-14 wide.

Sforza 10-30-2009 01:39 PM

so I caulked the exterior and filled in the concrete cracks with hydraulic cement.
The leader does go 6ft away, and for the most part the ground is graded away from stairs.

Guess we'll see where that takes us, waiting for the next rain.

AllanJ 11-01-2009 07:30 AM

All of the rain falling on the bulkhead door itself may be going down where the top of
the basement stairs is, at ground level. The water pools at the bottom of the stairs
(underneath; outside) and doesn't perc into the ground fast enough so it seeps up
to where you see it at the bottom of the stairs inside.

You may need to pack in more dirt at the top of the stairs just outside as if to "seal
the concrete to the lawn" and make sure that (test with a garden hose) water poured
on the bulkhead door flows away from the house. Nowhere should water accumulate
within 3 feet of the foundation.

If I were going to put in a sump pump I would do it first and do/redo a perimeter drain
as a separate project later.

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