Water seepage in corner of garage and driveway

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Old 07-04-20, 07:15 AM
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Water seepage in corner of garage and driveway

Hello DIY Community -

I'm looking for remediation help on solving a water seepage issue that is coming up from the ground and effecting the corner of my home and driveway.

The water seems to come up over night / early mornings and I've confirmed it's not related to any rain run-off, gutters or the sorts as we haven't had rain now in over 10 days and I've been monitoring very closely each day.

I've also been running fans and have really reduced the original build-up of water, but the area is visibly dark/wet each morning where by the end of the day it has mostly dried due to direct sun as I've been leaving the garage door open to help dry it out.

So, I don't really know what the next steps are to fix this issue. Not even sure what type of contractor would even handle this kind of problem, both in keeping the water out & repairing the concrete and corner of garage and bottom wall framing plate as it has been effected in small areas with the seepage. The total area effected is around 3x3 feet, so not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I'd say the height of the seepage is only 1/4" above the garage level in that corner.

I appreciate any help the community can provide. Many thanks. I will also post photos shortly.




 
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  #2  
Old 07-04-20, 07:35 AM
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Dig a hole about 12 inches deep just outside the garage. Observe early in the morning to see if water magically appears in this hole corresponding to the times the garage floor corner gets wet and magically disappears from this hole corresponding to the time when the floor starts to dry out.

You may need to regrade the land around the side of the garage so rain water and water from the driveway drains away from the garage and in particular does not go inside..

You may want to instsall a short French drain at about the level of the foundation footings on the side of the garage up to that corner and collect the water in a dry well further back with a sump pump inside in case the dry well overflows.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 08:05 AM
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Do you have city water? If so make sure nothing in the house is using water. Then note the reading on the meter. Don't use any water and check the meter again in half an hour. If the reading has changed you may have a plumbing leak.

Do you have an air conditioning air handler in the attic? If so inspect it's drain system to make sure it is not clogged.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 08:57 AM
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Thank you for the suggestions!

Attic HVAC - Yes, we do have one and I just went up there and checked. Everything is dry and it's running full tilt on a pretty hot day today. The house is shaped like this from above _| with the garage being on the north west tip. The attic HVAC would be located dead center on the southern horizontal bar, fwiw.

City Water - Yes, in fact, I just went outside and I don't believe we even have a water meter on our home - maybe it's up the street at a grouping of meters somewhere. Unless it's in the crawl space, but that seems unlikely to me. Did find the city gas and electric meters, but no water one.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 10:43 AM
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The problem is no doubt related to the downspout or drain pipe and the way it's currently connected. Checking to see if it is clogged should be #1 on the list of things to check.

The grade outside the garage is also problematic. Not much of a dropoff from the garage to the blacktop, and the grade of the landscaping and mulch is higher on the corner (and around the corner of the garage that is not pictured) than the level of the pad that the bricks sit on, and where the stain is the worst... right behind the downspout elbow. Brick is not waterproof. This is a typical problem that most homeowners dont think about, and eventually the grade outside becomes higher than the grade inside due to dumping on more and more mulch.

Finally, the way the downspout is connected to the drain pipe is substandard. Typically you want to have the drain pipe oriented vertically, (not at an angle) with the adapter on top. That way the downspout can go right into the adapter without the need for an elbow. Water is then not prone to backwash out of the adapter. Often, the top of that vertical drain pipe and adapter should be at least 12" above grade if you do not want it to overflow during heavy rains. (Or at least it should be buried deep enough that it can have a vertical run before it elbows and turns horizontal). Gravity then assists that vertical column of water to drain down the pipe.

I've got a buddy who does gutters and drainage professionally, and I've picked up a few tips from him over the years.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 11:00 AM
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What happened that required the new cut-and-patch section of driveway? New water line by any chance?

I'd call the local water company and ask them to check their lines for leaks near your house. I'd ALSO ask whether you are located along the main that connects their wells and the storage tank, AND ask whether they've checked the pressure reducers.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 11:03 AM
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Kind of looks like a shadow of the house on the driveway to me.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 11:12 AM
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we haven't had rain now in over 10 days and I've been monitoring very closely each day.
So that kills the downspout and grade as a culprit for now.

As mentioned, dig a hole in the woodchip area and tell us what you see!
 
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Old 07-04-20, 11:21 AM
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Sprinkler systems often have popups in the landscaping.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by XSleeper
Kind of looks like a shadow of the house on the driveway to me.
Nope. Driveway by the garage is newish shiny black asphalt.
The rest is dull gray and looks like it's several years old.


My guess is that there's a water supply pipe nearby, either it cracked and caused the damage that required the repaving, OR the repaving cracked a water line when somebody ran a steam roller over a buried water line.
As to leaks only in the morning, I'll wager that the municipality waits until early morning to get the off-peak discount for electricity, then pumps water up to re-fill storage tanks up on the hill that maintain pressure through the day.
If the house is along a main that connects a big pump and a water storage tank, a water hammer or pressure spike might cause an intermittent leak. I can imagine a municipal water authority increasing service pressure at night to fill the water tanks before the cheap off-peak power goes back to full price.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 11:52 AM
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If that's not a shadow I will eat my shorts. LOL
 
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Old 07-04-20, 12:30 PM
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All thank you again for all the ideas.

We recently sealed our driveway, which is why it is very dark in color compared to the concrete on the garage entrance. The gap between the 2 has always been there, I'm not really sure why it was never all 1 piece or maybe it has separated over time. We are the original owners (built in 04') and there was never a re-do on any of the driveway.

I like the idea about the water main, I'm going to contact our city water on Monday and see if they can come rule out if there is a line under there and go from there.

We don't have a sprinkler or landscaping system.

I did dig a nice deep hole all along the much side of the brick and there is no water over there. The water seems to be coming from underneath. The only area I saw that was damp was the darker asphalt touches the mulch, the hole I dug there it was damp along the asphalt side. It wasn't enough though to do anymore than make the mulch damp, but it does appear to be coming from the asphalt direction towards the mulch and corner of garage and from underground.

I also checked the gutters, downspout and black drainage hose for leaks, blocks etc.. and it's fine. I dug up the black drain pipe and inspected the area and it's dry. No holes or anything on the black drainage pipe. I also did a test and ran my garden hose from the gutter above all the way through and there's no leakage etc.. The water source is definitely from underneath, and seeping upward or through the area. I'll post some more photos soon to depict how the land sits.



 

Last edited by diy_100; 07-04-20 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 07-04-20, 03:30 PM
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I would suggest that right now you carve away all of the dirt, soil, and mulch along the garage so the surface outside is (first trial) one to 1-1/2 inches below the level of the garage floor. In addition to sloping the ground away from the garage for rain water and driveway runoff to flow away.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 03:33 PM
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I like the blue cars. You must be a Tar Heels Fan.
 
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Old 07-05-20, 12:17 AM
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The water source is definitely from underneath, and seeping upward or through the area.
Underneath and through what?

 
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Old 07-05-20, 06:04 AM
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Hi, do you have an irrigation system? Your saying the water seems to come up over night and early morning, does this happen on any kind of schedule?
Geo
 
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Old 07-05-20, 06:47 AM
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Since it sounds like your water meter is at the street if it was a mainline leak I would think that your water bill would be very high.
 
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Old 07-05-20, 07:53 AM
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I did find my water meter, which was near the driveway under a frisbee sized black lid.

We made sure we weren't using any water in the house, and I took a reading. It was also reassuring that the flow meter was not on when I was reading the meter. Either way, I'll check in a half hour or so to see if the total gallons used changed.

Also, after inspecting our water bills, nothing has changed for years. So I'm beginning to think I can rule out a water main leak under the garage, unless it's one to the home next door or something unusual. We do have a fire hydrant 2 houses down from us, so I may call our water company either way to rule that out.
 
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Old 07-05-20, 08:05 AM
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Do you or your neighbor have a sump pump? If so can you verify where they discharge?

Where does the condensate from your neighbor's air conditioner go?
 
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Old 07-05-20, 09:30 AM
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Just did a meter check on our city water line and we're fine. Went half an hour without any movement.

I am going to call the water company tomorrow either way to rule out other homes lines running on our property, or the fire hydrant 2 houses down's line running under our property.

 
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Old 07-05-20, 10:51 AM
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So is this a correct summary?

No water line leak, no sprinklers, no rain for 12 days, you dug a hole and nothing filled up yet every night you find water/dampness inside the garage in that corner?

I can not believe that there is any sump pump discharge, condensate, or fire hydrant line that would surface in that spot.

Lets think outside of the box, what is upstairs above the garage, any bathrooms or water lines where a water leak might work it's way down the wall?

In your picture, is that effervescent on the block just below the drywall?
 
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Old 07-06-20, 03:55 PM
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County ruled out other water lines on the property today. They are sending out a team to check for a natural spring.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 04:06 AM
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They are sending out a team to check for a natural spring.
But you already confirmed that by digging the hole in the bed, if there was no water there then how could a spring be dumping water into the garage!
 
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Old 07-07-20, 04:33 AM
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Extend your trench all the way to the front corner of the garage. It should be at ;east 12 inches deep except not carving below the bottoms of the foundation footings.

Observe for water welling up (magically appearing) in the trench in the morning and a little before when you are seeing water on the garage floor.

Your trench would be acting a little like a French drain, collecting ground water from as low as the trench bottom.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 07-07-20 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 07-07-20, 04:34 AM
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Since it is only happening at night I wonder if it could be condensation draining down from somewhere above.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 04:41 AM
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Why not try shooting water up onto the roof using a garden hose to drain down via the gutters and through the downspouts? See if some mysteriously ends up just inside, on the floor in the corner?
 
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Old 07-07-20, 05:07 AM
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Lets think outside of the box, what is upstairs above the garage, any bathrooms or water lines where a water leak might work it's way down the wall?
That's my point but OP has not confirmed.

Water happens at night, sort of sounds like a water softener cycling!

Ground water comes and goes in the seasons, nightly never!

using a garden hose to drain down via the gutters and through the downspouts?
He has stated no rain for 12 days yet water still present, cant be rain/gutters!
 
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Old 07-07-20, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane
Since it is only happening at night I wonder if it could be condensation draining down from somewhere above.
That sounds like the best answer so far - I know in the early morning, I get a significant amount of condensation running off our garage roof, and the east coast has had hot humid days and cool nights

It look like it COULD be condensation from the 2nd floor front roof coming through the downspout (just to the left at the top of the corner clump of arbor vitae) and then getting under the garage shingles.

ALSO, I see what looks like a circular attic vent in the gable face of the main 2nd floor roof above the front roof. If you have warm attic air venting out at night over the front roof, that warm moist air s going to hit dew point and dump the house moisture out onto the roof as condensation.

ALSO, I noticed that the garage has a low pitch "bump out" that appears to be below the one-story roofline?
If that's not flashed and sealed, I could see heavy dew easily getting under the roof there.


 
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Old 07-07-20, 08:30 AM
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@Hal_S - Thank you for that information. I'm going to place some buckets etc.. on the areas of the driveway just outside the entrance to the garage that have large wet spots when i check early morning. That will help confirm coming from above or ground. Maybe it is a lot of dripping that's bypassing the gutter system? I've added a number of new photos below that may help with the points you made. you can see the darker patches on the driveway near the left of the garage entrance. This is typically what is wet either way late early and is nearly dry except for the left most area by day's end (even after 14 days no rain). We finally got a rain storm last night, so everything is a lot more damp looking than the initial problem area, but you can see the darker spots on the driveway which is there even in the dry days (a lot smaller area though). I think it really might be condensation from the attic as it is crazy hot up there and that vent like you mentioned could be trickling moisture as the hot air escapes through the evening. Might have some pin holes in the gutters up there or enough for constant dripping. More to check!






@Marq1 - There is nothing above. Not even living space above this part of the garage, I've inspected and nothing is coming internally down the wall. It is either external dew / moisture coming down like Hal suggests, or it's coming from a spring.

@
AllanJ - Already mentioned this earlier, but thoroughly tested the gutters and drains.
 

Last edited by diy_100; 07-07-20 at 08:50 AM.
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