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Question DetailsAsked on 9/12/2013

What is best way to fix waterleakagein basement wall, excavation outside or French drain / watermanagement inside?

Water leak in basement wall.

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2 Answers


In my opinion there is no best way. It depends on where the leak is and what is causing it.The best bet is to eliminate the source if at all possible. If it is surface water running towards the foundation I have installed a perimeter drain in the yard to catch the water before it can run down next to the foundation. Depending on the topography of the site it can be done fairly cheaply especially if the yard has a slope to it. Quite often I see that it is just a problem that quite often can be solved directing the downspouts away from the house. I see so many that are dumping right next to the house or into underground pipes that are clogged. One way to check this is to look at where your leader pipes are and make a note of it and then look inside the basement to see if there is a pattern similar to that. The hardest one to deal with is ground water. For that you will have to rely on perimeter drains around the foundation wall and have sump with a pump that can keep up with the water while the water table is high And if that is the case a backup battery sump pump would be a good idea in case of power failures. My own home had a water problem that no one could fix, you could just manage it. Turns out it was a concrete water tank the town had on the hill behind my house that leaked. I actually had a frog living in the sump pit because even in a drought there was water in it. Once they emptied the tank and went to a steel tank because of state regulations it dried up.

There is no one size fits all and I don't care what a salesman tells you!

Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


As Don said, each case needs its own assessment.

Click the Home > Basement Waterproofing link right below your question and you will find quite a few in-depth discussions about diagnosing the source of your water problem, and possible remedies - at leat 80% of such problems that I have run across were solved for about $1000 or less.

It is always best, cost aside, to cut off the source of the water outside the home if possible - first by diverting runoff (ground and roof) away from the house, second by removing water from the house area quickly through swales, french drains, etc, third by waterproofing the exterior of the foundation, and lastly (and only if last resort) by measures inside the house.

Basically, unless the area groundwater table commonly lies above about 1 foot below the level of the base of your slab AND your topography is such that you cannot reasonably drain water from around the foundation to a lower elevation at the ground surface (you live in a depression or perfectly level swampy or floodplain area, say), then technically using french drains leading to a lower surface elevation exit is always going to be more secure and effective (though not necessarily cheapest), unless your problem is caused by spring snowmelt and the drains could not reasonably be kept ice-free.

Interior underslab drainage and sump pumps should be a last resort, especially if your basement is finished more than painted walls, because of the risk of pump or power failure and flooding.

Read the prior questions and answers, and if you want to give more detail about your situation, how localized the leak is, your general groundwater height situation, type of basement foundation (concrete, concrete block, brick, wood, etc) use the Submit Answer button below to detail it, and perhaps we can give you a response more directly pertinent to your specific issue.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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