What Is Happening to Cause Water in My Basement Cove?

The sight of water in your basement cove can definitely be worrying, even more so because it’s common not to know why you’re having water in your basement cove in the first place. These are some of the most common reasons you might have water buildup in a basement cove.

Hydrostatic Pressure  

One of the biggest problems basements deal with is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is the weight of water at rest, and it’s a problem because water is incredibly heavy, even though you might not notice it. The water that’s always resting in the earth, especially if you live at or under the water table, is one of the things that will cause hydrostatic pressure against your basement walls.

Home designers and constructors know about hydrostatic pressure, and they construct your home to be able to rise against this pressure and stay straight whenever possible. However, if there’s more hydrostatic pressure than your basement walls can handle, this hydrostatic pressure may cause cracks in your home walls, which can easily let in the water from the outside.

Flooding and Other External Water Issues  

If there’s recently been a lot of rain or flooding after not much water in the area, it’s possible for you to have water leakage unrelated to regular function. For example, if you have ground-level windows in your basement, the flooding may overwhelm the window and cause water to leak in, or open windows and crawl space vents may have let this external water in.

However, it’s important to realize that this could be an ongoing problem or a one-time problem. If the problem was that you had open vents, you can easily add vent covers to the vents to avoid this problem. On the other hand, if the problem was that the windows were overwhelmed by the hydrostatic pressure, you may need to fix the window sealant to avoid that happening in the future.

Leaks and Other Internal Water Issues  

Alternately, if this water didn’t come from outside your home, it’s possible it may have come from inside your home. Sometimes, basement cove water seepage can come from leaks and internal water issues.

This may include a pipe that burst, a sump pump that backed up, or any other method of ending up with water in your cove from your home water system. 

If this is the real problem, it’s important to fix the problem as quickly and thoroughly as you can. That may mean calling in a plumber to fix a broken pipe, calling in a basement waterproofing expert to fix a broken sump pump, or adding insulation to a cold pipe so you no longer deal with condensation.  

Clogged Footing Drains 

A footing drain isn’t a drain you can see from the inside of your home. Rather, it’s an exterior foundation drainage system. This footing drain isn’t intended to be the only source of drainage for the water around your home, but it’s often a useful part of a functioning home. At least, it can be as long as it’s clear and draining water properly.

The problem here is that footing drains clog very easily. These clogs can cause hydrostatic pressure to build up around the home because the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. Cleaning the footing drain requires that you excavate the ground next to the foundation. Instead, most basement waterproofing experts will suggest waterproofing the basement and leaving the footing drain alone.

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