Water Coming in Basement Where Walls Meet Floor [Quick Fix]

Water Coming in Basement Where Walls Meet Floor

Most people experience water coming in basement where walls meet floor, it is paramount that such problem is tackled immediately it is discovered, to prevent further damage to your home and even its foundation.

One of the most common areas prone to water seepage is the cove joint which is the place where the wall meets the floor, this type of water leak is known as a cove joint leak and it is not that difficult to fix. With some tools and a minimal level of expertise, you can get it fixed. 

A quick fix to this involves waterproofing your floor, covering of floor gaps, extending your gutter, installing a curtain drain and repairing damaged footing drains.

Water Coming in Basement Where Walls Meet Floor

Having water come into your basement through the area where the walls meet the floor is known as A cove joint leak and in order to be able to understand how to fix it correctly, you have to understand how it occurs.

How Cove Joint Leak Occurs

During the building process of your basement, a large hole was dug and its surface was then covered with poured concrete and this helps to support your foundation walls and prevents the settling or rising of your building.

To create the concrete footing, wet cement is poured into a wooden form and a specially designed board is inserted into the center of the wet cement across its entire length to create a tapered channel.

Read: How to Install Hardwood Floor on Concrete

This tapered channel is also called a keyway and it helps in the creation of a path right down the middle of the entire footing, and when the footing dries completely, another concrete form is set over it to create the foundation walls.

The newly created form is then filled with concrete and the end part fits into the keyway of the initial concrete footing. This is allowed to dry completely so that the foundation wall stays in the keyway and fit into one another perfectly.

So cove point is the point where the foundation wall enters the footing and it helps to prevent lateral movement. You have to keep in mind that the footing and foundation wall don’t merge instead they simply fit into each other like a plug into a socket.

This is where the leakage problem comes in, because of the fact that the footing and the foundation are distinct pieces, joining them still leaves some room between both for water from the basement’s surrounding soil to seep in.

When water starts to gain access into your home through the tiny space between the foundation wall and the footing in the keyway, it gets into your basement, causing what is known as a cove joint leak.

Causes of Cove Joint Leak

Drainage Problem

If you have clogged or collapsed drains, this can cause a leak in your basement and should be cleaned or repaired. Sometimes, carpet, hardwood, or laminate flooring can cover your drain and this causes the water from the backed drain to seep up from below the flooring. 

Leaking Pipes

Having water pipes in your home that is concealed behind finished walls can cause water leakage when one starts to leak and the water travels down the wall and pool below a finished basement floor thereby causing the water to seep up from the flooring.

Ground Water

When rainfall, the water is absorbed into the ground, so when there is constant rain or when the snow starts to melt to the ground after a heavy snowfall, the ground becomes saturated with water.

This water is then placed under a high amount of pressure pushing it into your home through the basement floor or walls.

Most of the time, people experiencing cove joint leaks or having water come up from their basement floor is caused by groundwater. 

The absorbed water seeps its way through the soil surrounding your homes and it begins to push up against your basement floor and walls where the hydrostatic pressure is very high.

On the occasion of high water saturation in the ground, the water gets into your home through the easiest access point which includes cracks either in your floor or wall, and because the basement floor is usually made of concrete, the porosity of the concrete allows water to soak through it.

If you are experiencing a cove joint leak due to groundwater flowing through the ground and pushing up against your basement floor and walls there’s nothing much you can do about it. 

If you suspect groundwater as the cause of the leak you should call your local waterproofing specialist right away or carry out the process yourself if you know how to.

Water damage in your basement should not be left unattended to because can not only it cause damage to the foundation of your home but it also poses health risks as well.

How to Fix a Cove Joint Leak

There are different causes of a cove joint leak and the method of repair totally depends on the cause. So before attempting to fix a leak, you should find the source/cause first.

Cover Gaps

If you notice that the water is gaining access into the basement through cracks or gaps around plumbing pipes, you can easily fix this by covering the gap or opening with hydraulic cement or polyurethane caulk that you can get for less than $20.

if the water is coming out of a hole either from the surface runoff or from wet soil, you can fix it with Plugs. However, if the water is coming up through the floor, or from the cove joint then the problem is groundwater, and plugs won’t be able to fix it.

Extend your Gutter

If you have downspouts that dump water less than 5 feet away from your house, you can extend the water farther out by adding plastic or metal gutter extensions.

however, gutter extensions aren’t the neatest or most effective long-term solution, because you’re likely to trip over them or even run them over with a lawnmower.

For a more permanent solution, you can make use of an underground drain pipe that is invisible and also able to move large quantities of gutter runoff much farther from your house.

you can get these underground drain pipes For about $10 a foot. To install them you can seek the services of a landscaper or waterproofing contractor who will help you to dig a sloping trench and install a pipe or you can do it yourself.

Replacing the Crown

If you have adequately extended gutters and you’ve plugged openings and gaps, but water still seeps into your basement or crawl space from high walls, then it is likely that the surface water isn’t draining away from the house as it should. 

You should note that your house usually sits on a “crown” of soil that slopes at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet in all directions but with time, the soil surrounding the foundation can begin to settle but you can build it back with a shovel and dirt.

You will need some water-shedding clay-loam mix, which one cubic yard of costs around $30 and you can get it from a landscape supply house.

One cubic yard of this soil mix will be enough for a 2ftwide, 3inchdeep layer along 57 feet of the foundation.

Reshape the Landscape

Because of the fact that your home’s siding slightly can overlap its foundation, building up the crown could bring soil which sometimes includes rot and termites too close to siding for comfort so you need to leave at least 6 inches.

You can simply create a mound of dirt knowns as a berm or a wide, shallow ditch known as a swale, landscape features so that the water is redirected before it reaches your house.

What you need to do depends on the size of the area, if the area is small you need a berm and you can get a landscape contractor to build one for a few hundred dollars, but if you have a bigger area, a swale will be more effective and you can dig a swale for about $1,000. Berms and swales can be an attractive feature in your yard Once landscaping grows

Repairing Damaged Footing Drains

If you notice the water is leaking into your basement through the walls or at the seams where walls meet the floor, then the culprit is likely hydrostatic pressure pushing water up from the ground.

The first thing you need to do is, check whether you have footing drains or underground pipes that were installed during the building process of the house to carry water away from the foundation.

You can find out by Looking for a manhole or drain in the basement floor or a cleanout pipe that is placed a few inches above the floor.

If you find out that the drains are clogged, you can open the cleanout and flush the pipes with a garden hose. If that doesn’t fix it, you can hire the services of a plumber with an augur and they can get it fixed for about $600.

Installing a Curtain Drain

If you find out that you don’t have working footing drains, you can install a curtain drain to redirect underground water moving toward your house.

A type of french drain you can make use of is a curtain drain that is a shallow trench that is 2 feet deep and 1.5 feet across which is filled with gravel and perforated piping that stops the water flow towards your house and redirects it down the slope a safe distance away.

If the drain will be passing through an area with trees or shrubs, you should make use of solid pipes instead to reduce the risk of roots growing into the piping thereby clogging it. You can get drain pipes for anywhere around $10 to $16 per linear foot.

Pump the Water

you will need to find a way to channel subsurface water from inside if you can’t keep it out. To create an interior drain system, you will need to open a channel point anywhere around the perimeter of the floor, remove the concrete, and lay a perforated pipe in the hole.

The pipe should be connected to a collection tank at the basement’s low spot, where a sump pump shoots out the drained water out of the house.

Although this process is a little bit more expensive than the other costing about $3,000, an interior system is the most effective and least disruptive option to use in an unfinished basement with easy access.

If you have matured landscaping that might be destroyed by digging an exterior drainage system, this is the best option.


This is another effective and long term fix for cove joint leak, in fact just Installing an interior drainage system without waterproofing won’t get the job done effectively.

To waterproof your wall, you will need an exterior system: a French drain to reduce hydrostatic pressure and exterior waterproofing in order to protect the foundation.

Read: How to Waterproof Wooden Floors

Waterproofing your wall isnt an easy task and you will need to excavate around the house, but it is the most effective solution especially if you have a foundation with numerous gaps. This helps to keep the mess and water outside, which is the best option if you don’t want to tear up a finished basement.

However waterproofing your walls can be really pricey as the price tag can reach up to $20,000, and during the process, you may need to remove decks or walkways.


A water leak or moisture damage in your basement is an issue that should be addressed immediately as it is noticed that is why knowing How to fix “water coming in basement where walls meet floor” is very important. Allowing a cove joint leak to sit unattended to can cause damage to your house’s foundation and also pose some health risks

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