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Basement Wall Leaks - Broken Water Pipes or something else?

Basement Wall Leaks - Broken Water Pipes or something else?

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  #1  
Old 01-17-21, 09:14 AM
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Basement Wall Leaks - Broken Water Pipes or something else?

Hi, first off let me be honest and say I am pretty damn ignorant when it comes to home repair, construction, plumbing etc so please bear with me. I have a flooding/leak problem in my basement and I'm trying to figure out what's going on and who I should call first to come check it out. I can't tell if it's a pipe leak in the wall or seeping through the soil into the foundation wall. I just moved into this house a few months ago and a couple weeks back I found water leaking onto the basement floor from a few small round holes in the rock walls. The holes were under a basement window and it was raining hard all day so I assumed it was leaking in since the window probably needs resealing, etc. Not sure if this matters but I should also mention that I recently just had the drive way repaved on that side of the house and had them pave it all the way to the foundation wall (it used to be a couple feet of grass in between the driveway and the house).

Fast forward to a few nights ago, I find the basement floor flooded worse than the first time and it's coming out of another small hole in the same wall about 4 feet away from the window. Only this time it isn't raining and hasn't for probably a week or so. The next day it did it again. Not sure if it's a coincidence but the water has been discovered after doing long loads of dishes so it makes me wonder if could it be a leaking water pipe in the foundation wall? If so, how come it doesn't when we take showers?

We've also been dealing with a bad drain fly (aka moth fly) problem in the basement/house that is surely stemming from this.

I'm not sure who my first call should be to since I don't know what's causing it...a regular plumber or some kind of basement waterproofing contractor company?

I've included a few pics including the hole(s) where it's currently leaking out of (it's behind a washing machine so it's hard to get a good angle) as well as pics of that wall from the outside where the new paved driveway is.
You can't tell in the pics but the driveway is slightly sloped going to the road.



 

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01-17-21, 11:52 AM
2john02458
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The water is coming through the stone foundation from outside either from above ground (driveway, downspouts, etc.) or underground (seepage or high ground water). A stone foundation CANNOT be waterproofed from the inside, no matter what anyone tells you. The usual result of an inside coating is what you see and are experiencing at the wall behind your washer.

Routing above ground water away from the wall is the first step to take. If you want to waterproof a foundation you need to excavate outside, apply a waterproof membrane on the wall, and a french drain (perforated pipe in gravel) at the bottom of the wall. The french drain needs somewhere for the water it collects to go (downhill, drywell, storm sewer.)

Yours is a cut stone foundation so waterproofing as described above may be possible. Old fieldstone foundations that have been laid into cellar excavations from the inside are more difficult because the outer surface is not uniform ("smooth").

I have a fieldstone foundation (built 1912) and a situation similar to yours. In order to control water that comes in on the uphill side of my house I have resorted to creating a channel along the bottom of the wall (inside) that contains the water and routes it to a sump pit. The basement is not finished space but is usable for laundry, storage and workshop as well as the heating boiler.
 

Last edited by 2john02458; 01-17-21 at 11:53 AM. Reason: typo
  #2  
Old 01-17-21, 11:19 AM
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a leaking water pipe in the foundation wall?
You dont have pipes in foundation walls.

I recently just had the drive way repaved on that side of the house and had them pave it all the way to the foundation wall
That is the most likely issue, have you checked the slope? Does water run toward the house?
 
  #3  
Old 01-17-21, 11:52 AM
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The water is coming through the stone foundation from outside either from above ground (driveway, downspouts, etc.) or underground (seepage or high ground water). A stone foundation CANNOT be waterproofed from the inside, no matter what anyone tells you. The usual result of an inside coating is what you see and are experiencing at the wall behind your washer.

Routing above ground water away from the wall is the first step to take. If you want to waterproof a foundation you need to excavate outside, apply a waterproof membrane on the wall, and a french drain (perforated pipe in gravel) at the bottom of the wall. The french drain needs somewhere for the water it collects to go (downhill, drywell, storm sewer.)

Yours is a cut stone foundation so waterproofing as described above may be possible. Old fieldstone foundations that have been laid into cellar excavations from the inside are more difficult because the outer surface is not uniform ("smooth").

I have a fieldstone foundation (built 1912) and a situation similar to yours. In order to control water that comes in on the uphill side of my house I have resorted to creating a channel along the bottom of the wall (inside) that contains the water and routes it to a sump pit. The basement is not finished space but is usable for laundry, storage and workshop as well as the heating boiler.
 
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Last edited by 2john02458; 01-17-21 at 11:53 AM. Reason: typo
  #4  
Old 01-17-21, 01:21 PM
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Whomever you call, do not let them know you are ignorant of the issue at hand-your estimate to repair will be very high anyway.

You said the slope is slightly toward the road, that is good. I would consider getting some polyetelene sheeting and cover the area next time is rains to see if that might stop the inflow. Did you have the problem before the paying work was done?

Your round holes are possibly drill holes for termite control. If so, putting cement in them might stop a minor problem and allow the water to remain in the soil. Or maybe you jam a small flexible hose into the holes and drain away the water to a location where a sump pump could be installed.

Since you are new to this home, do you have a disclosure statement and was there any reference to a water problem in the basement?

Do you know where your sewer and water lines are located? If nearby they could be the source of the problem but I would think if its sewage you would know by the smell.
 
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  #5  
Old 01-18-21, 05:43 PM
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Lakeseed, the thing is this past two times it has leaked and flooded the basement it hasn't even been raining (and hasn't rained for over a week). Since originally posting this I've rain several dish loads, laundry and showers and nothing has happened. No leaking in the past 3 days. Trying to figure out what makes it aggressively seep through the wall and flood the floor (with no rain) one day...dry up..and then do it again the next day...and then nothing for these past 3 days?

No, didn't have a problem with this before repaving the driveway and extending it up against the foundation but I had seen a few Psychodidae moth flies here n there which means there was water leaking/sitting issues somewhere. The first time I saw the wall leaking/flooding happen was maybe 2 weeks after the driveway was paved.

No, there was no reference to any water problem in the basement, just a recent ceiling leak in a corner of a bedroom 2 floors up on the other side of the house. A new roof was put on last year due to it.

Not sure where the sewer and water lines are located unfortunately and no, have never smelt any bad sewage smells anywhere.
 
  #6  
Old 01-18-21, 05:47 PM
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I just went outside and threw 2 buckets of water going parallel with the driveway at the base of the wall (starting to the right of the window, see pics). It rolled down just past the window and stopped. At least it didn't immediately puddle up in the base of the window like I kinda thought it would. Of course if it's a heavy rain I'm sure it could.




 
  #7  
Old 01-18-21, 06:34 PM
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I don;t know what to tell you but the ground floor window looks suspect. I would get some strips of wood and some plastic sheeting and temporarily fasten the plastic over the window and allow it to extend onto the drive a couple of feet and weight it down. Blowing rain would affect the window in a different way than your water bucket experiment.

Good luck.

BTW You might want to chat up your new neighbors to see if they were well acquainted with the prior resident and may have some knowledge of the problem. If they know of the problem from such discussions and the disclosure statement does not reference the leak you may have some recourse to the prior owner.

Now for a real stretch: If your house is quite close to the neighbors it could (remotely) be possible that something happening next door could affect your house.
 
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  #8  
Old 01-18-21, 09:59 PM
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The first time I saw the wall leaking/flooding happen was maybe 2 weeks after the driveway was paved.
Something with the paving, may not be right at the location of the leak, but it has to be part of the problem!
 
  #9  
Old 01-19-21, 05:44 AM
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Maybe a crushed water pipe to an outdoor spigot? But that would seem to present a continuous leak rather than intermittent flow. If you have a shut-off valve in your basement for any exterior faucets it would be good to turn it off to see if the problem reoccurs.

I think the tubing jammed into the holes, grouted in place, allowing flow to a sump would be worthwhile.
 
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  #10  
Old 01-19-21, 05:53 AM
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I agree with Lakeseed that the window looks suspect. The grade slopes from the window to the entry point, so water would flow from the window to the water entry point inside your home. The water may be pooling at the window with the addition of the driveway.
 
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  #11  
Old 01-19-21, 06:45 AM
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If you previously had a strip of ground a couple of feet wide or so between the house and the paved driveway I would guess it was able to absorb the water coming off the wall of the house and allow it to drain into the ground and harmlessly disappear. Now the water drains down that exterior wall and slips into the crack between the drive and the wall. Then it finds its way through the wall below grade and into your basement. Plus any water from the drive that does not drain away from the house also finds that crack and exacerbates the issue.

As a way of explaining picture pouring water onto your kitchen counter near the edge. Enough water and it will start dripping over the edge. It will slowly drain away the water spill and drip down toward the floor. Since there is usually an overhang or lip where the countertop overhangs the cabinet the water will just drip toward the floor. However, if no lip 5en the water would drip down the side of the cabinet and be drawn into any drawers below. Now if you put an absorbent towel or sponge at the opposite edge of the water it will start to draw the water away from the edge. This is what the width of dirt of grass did with the water that shed off the house wall and driveway. It drew the water into to the soil below where it slowly dispersed and spread throughout the soil rather than being directed toward the foundation wall.

You need to to do something so the water on the driveway moves away from the edge next to the house. And you need to do something so the water shedding off the house does not merely continue down that wall to the foundation wall below. Similarly you need to make sure the water from the wall, window, and door does not enter that space and continue down the foundation wall.

Others smarter than me can explain how to accomplish keeping water from entering this crack between the house and the driveway. I am guessing it will include some flashing.
 
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Old 01-19-21, 05:46 PM
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Lot's of good suggestions and info everyone. Thank you. The thing that's confusing me is why/how is the water just coming in and leaking at at random short times? I know I mentioned it a few times before but Dec 24th we had a TON of rain and that's the first time I found the leaking/puddling under the window in the basement. Made sense. Window must be leaking in from the outside. Fast forward a few weeks of really no rain and all the sudden I find that it has been leaking and flooding even worse but at a different place on the wall (4 feet over) and then again the next day.

There is a double utility sink just to the left of the latest leaks (corner of basement) and I see it's staying dampest underneath it. It's slowest to dry up in the corner (still damp now actually from the last leak 4 days ago) . That very well could just be that's where the water collects because the basement is sloped and it's in a corner but then I wonder is there a leak or seepage coming up from the drainage of the sinks underneath the basement floor? As I mentioned earlier I did notice that the left sink is backing up when the washing machine is emptying into the right sink.
 
  #13  
Old 01-20-21, 12:32 AM
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Only this time it isn't raining and hasn't for probably a week or so. The next day it did it again.
we had a TON of rain and that's the first time I found the leaking/puddling
I see conflicting descriptions so Im still not sure what the actual rain condition was but ultimately you altered the flow of water, water will always take the path of least resistance and just because the leak is at point A may not be where the water is entering the soil which is now different than what it was!

Your going to have to get out there in a rain and look around the entire area to see what is going on, a couple buckets of water is not going to be sufficient!
 
  #14  
Old 01-20-21, 05:35 AM
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Sorry for the confusion. I've discovered it leaking/flooding 3 times:

1. Coming out of holes under the window on Dec 24th during a very hard rain
2. Coming out of different hole(s) on the same wall on Jan 12th (this time no rain since Dec 24th)
3. Third time on Jan 13th and assumed it came out of the same hole(s) as the day before.

That's what I'm confused about. It hadn't rained in weeks when #2 and #3 leaks happened and they were the worse than #1 (when it actually was raining hard all day and night).
 
  #15  
Old 01-20-21, 05:51 AM
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I think you need to do a close inspection during a rain to see if any water is being directed somewhere where it is causing it to pool/drain/collect against the foundation which could be the source. Water could be entering far away and migrating toward the spot of the leak!
 
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Old 01-20-21, 07:11 AM
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Have you done what was suggested the last time you asked this question?

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/b...y-repaved.html

If its leaking even when its not raining your plumbing may be backing up, Tree roots are sometimes to blame. If its happening around a sink.
 
  #17  
Old 01-20-21, 08:54 AM
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touche'. OK, adding more words just to make the site take my response.
 

Last edited by XSleeper; 01-20-21 at 09:14 AM. Reason: Unnecessary
  #18  
Old 01-20-21, 09:01 AM
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One thing I've done to locate the source of difficult leaks is to use dye. Anything can be used from milk to food coloring, to Cool Aid though but I like food coloring best. In non finished areas you can use RIT fabric dye or the blue stuff for toilet tanks but you may get permenant staining. I mix up a batch of dyed water and dump it on one suspect area. If the leak doesn't appear in a day mix up a new batch of water a different color and test another suspect area. I like using non-natural colors. Milk works surprisingly well for white. Then I like red, yellow and blue so it's very easy to tell the difference in colors or if they've mixed. If you've run out of colors and want to test another area then cola or caramel food coloring is good for brown but you really can't tell if it's mixed with any of the other colors.

 
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Old 01-21-21, 04:18 PM
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Well we hadn't had any leaking/flooding down there for a week or so and then today it did it again after my wife did a load of dishes in the sink (about 20 min long). We've noticed that when she runs the water for a long time in the kitchen sink it sometimes starts leaking out of the J-bend. I thought it was because the the rubber washer was old and disintegrating so I replaced it a month ago or so. It had been doing pretty good but I we keep a bowl under it just in case. The bowl has been dry but after discovering the flooding while ago I found that there's a little bit of water in the bowl. I'm now back on the "it has to be the plumbing" theory. I'm going to stop up the sink, fill it up, then let all the water go through and see if it makes the basement leak. I can see that it's still leaking out of the same hole in the basement wall near the floor (about 4 ft from the utility sink drain plumbing).
 
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Old 01-21-21, 05:22 PM
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it sometimes starts leaking out of the J-bend
OK, so there is proof that seeking out the root cause is always the best solution!
 
 

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