Basements

Published on March 26th, 2014 | by Henri

2

Puddles on basement floor after rainstorms

Q.  You have been so helpful to me in the past that I’m hoping once again for your “magic touch!”

Whenever it rains hard — 1-to 2-inches per half hour — I get puddles of water in certain spots on my basement floor. The floor is tiled and the puddles are nowhere near walls or windows. (The previous owners claimed that the puddle situation never occurred while they were in the house — they were the original owners). Do you have any idea what the problem is? How to fix it?

I am really worried that I face a major expense as I need to sell the house soon. I know that this problem needs to be disclosed to the prospective buyer.

Again, thank you for whatever help you can give.

A.    If the puddles form during or very shortly after the heavy rain started, it sounds as if there are grade problems around your foundation, combined with hydrostatic pressure that finds weaknesses in your concrete floor, perhaps in the form of cracks.

If the puddles form quite a while after the rain ended, there may be an underground spring causing a temporary rise in the water table.

In the first case, you should have any grade deficiencies corrected. If you are not able to determine if there are any and where they are, an experienced contractor, a certified home inspector or an engineer should be able to help. Any work needed can be done by a landscape or general contractor. This may not be too expensive, depending on what needs to be done.

In the second case, if it does not happen often and the leakage is manageable, it may not be worth undertaking repairs, which will be costly.

If there is a 4- to 6-inch stone bed under the concrete floor, a sump can be installed in the most appropriate corner of your basement and a submersible pump put in it. This would provide a relief for the stone bed, and it may solve the problem.

If there is not an adequate stone bed, repairs may involve the installation of an interior perimeter drainage system leading collected water to a sump pump. This will require cutting the concrete floor at the base of the foundation, excavating some gravel or soil, installing a perforated drain pipe in a stone bed in the trench, and pouring concrete over the stones to repair the cut.
A sump and a submersible pump will have to be installed in the most logical spot in your basement.

As to disclosure, it may be that the previous owners may not have been honest with you. Once you know what is causing the problem, you may decide to do nothing and show my answer to any prospective buyers.

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  • I wonder of there might be another possible explanation, since the puddles are not near the outside wall and the reader didn’t mention cracks in the floor. In our house, we had a poorly flashed plumbing vent that went through the roof. Water dripped through, gradually traveling down the edge of the pipe and dripping onto the basement floor. At least it might be worthwhile to go to the basement during a storm to see if the water is dripping from above or oozing from below!

  • I too also doubt that previous owners may not have been honest with you.Well,you need to figure out the problem and repair it ASAP.

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