Foundation wet floor

Published on February 19th, 2018 | by Henri


Water on family room floor

Q.    I live in a tri-level home built about 1956. For the past 20 years I have had water in the center of the finished lower level family room. My neighbors on the north and south have the same issue. There is a small creek about a half block away. The floor of the family room is three inches above the gravel crawlspace that contains the furnace and sump pump. If the sump pump comes on during a rain storm, I will have water in the family room.

This family room can have water and the sump pump is not even on. I have had waterproofing companies come out and they have no suggestions.  I can’t sell because of the water; there must be some way to stop this. French drains have been suggested but they are installed around the edge and the water is in the middle. They are also extremely expensive. I still say the water table is too high, caused by this creek that overruns the road during rains. The neighbor on the north has a sump pump that runs even during a drought.

Would this creek cause this? Any suggestions? Thank you.

A.    A foundation drain is not the answer unless there is a way to have it drain by daylight to lower ground or to a sump equipped with a submersible sump pump of adequate capacity.

Yes, it’s quite possible that the creek is responsible, aggravating what already seems like a high water table. When water appears in the middle of the family room, which is 3-inches higher than the crawlspace, the crawlspace should be full of water. Have you checked that?

And it certainly should be full of water when you see water in the family room while the pump is not activated.

It is possible that, if you have a submersible pump, its float may get stuck at times if it is in a cramped sump or that, if you have a pedestal pump, it does not have the capacity to keep up with the amount of water entering your crawlspace.

And since you still have water in the family room when the pump is working, it may be that the pump is not powerful enough. You may need to replace your pump with one of greater capacity or install a second one to handle the hydrostatic pressure you are suffering from.

Look into the offerings from Zoeller Pumps ( You may also want to consider having an hydrologist investigate.

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