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cove joint

Foundation Repair: Facing a basement leak where the wall meets the floor?


basement leak

It may seem like a low priority problem to fix now, but in the future, your losses can be big.

Know why it happens and how to solve it!

During rains or after the rain stops, the snow melts and the sun starts to shine, many people suffer from the same problem, a wet basement!

Basement leaks that occur where the wall meets the floor (called the cove joint) are quite common, and many people simply dry the basement without looking for solutions or consulting an expert to help. It’s important for you to know that this is a risky choice. In the long run, you may be putting the value of your property at stake, devaluing it in the market since the foundation will be at risk.

A damp basement is a serious warning sign. Today, it can be a little problem to you, but if you don’t repair it, it can bring a lot of headaches. Moisture from basements spreads through the house, ie, basement moisture can ruin floors and walls, encourage mold in other rooms, degrading the quality of the air you breath and gradually spoiling the beauty of your home. When the symptoms are ignored, the wall can crack due to the pressure of the water and wet soil.  Cracks are simply signs of a broken foundation wall.

When houses are built with a basement, a hole is dug in the ground like a giant bathtub and a foundation is built in the hole.  Footings are at the base of the walls to keep the walls from sinking and a perforated pipe wrapped in a sock is placed along the outside edge of the footing, encased in gravel to drain the water that percolates through the soil to a sump pump and removed.  Typically the problem is caused by the failure of the footing drains after 25-30 years as they fill with mud and this can be exacerbated by an unusually high water table or a saturated foundation soil from rainwater or snow melt.


Some things you can do by yourself:

  • There are products you can use on the inside of your walls like dry-lock, however, for most cases, without addressing outside failures, the inside will still get wet.
  • Create a downward slope of the soil away from the house.  Roll out plastic, overlap, and tape any seams and seal the plastic against the top of the outside wall as best you can and lay it on the soil.  Cover the plastic with a protective layer of mulch or decorative stone. This will direct water away from the foundation is severe rainstorms.  Simply adding dirt and sloping it away from the house is like laying a screen against the house in a rainstorm.  Fresh soil allows water to percolate right through it down the foundation wall to the cove joint.
  • Make sure your gutters are large enough for the size of your roof and your downspouts are large enough to allow quite an evacuation of water in the gutter.  Make sure water is directed at least 8 feet away from the foundation wall.
  • If the mortar in your stone foundation is falling out or just plain missing, repoint it. If there’s a great deal of water pressure on the other side of the wall, this won’t solve the problem. But if the source of the moisture is merely damp earth, it will help.


The long-term solution is to install an interior perimeter under floor drainage system in your basement attached to a sump pump replacing those old failed exterior drain so that these problems won’t come back to bother you. Get an estimate, it is entirely free! If you can’t afford the repair now, at least, our assessment of your basement can give more specific tips for you to manage your moisture problems in the short term.

Foundation Repair Kansas City. Foundation Repair Overland Park. Foundation Repair Prairie Village.


About John
Basement Expert