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Question DetailsAsked on 4/28/2016

how do you fix water/rain coming in the basement rafter where the upstairs door/threshold is

I have to continuously put towels in the rafters if I know it is going to rain.

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1 Answer


I presume you mean basement ceiling joists, not rafters (rafters support the roof) - and that water is coming in near or at a main floor entry door.

If water is piling up or draining toward the doorsill outdoors - running across ground or patio or porch or such, could be going in under the door at the plate or sill (the bottom horizontal framing member that sits on the foundation) - in which case solving the flow so it goes the other way (away from the house) is the long term fix, through caulking all the cracks and openings top and bottom of the sill plate (or all you can see if sided) might help.

Otherwise, could be water is coming in around the door frame flashing (at the outside of the frame), going through the threashold if rotted, bypassing a door seal between door and frame, or there could be (in metal thresholds) drainage passages in or on the threshold that are suposed to take water coming down the outside face of the door and drain it away that have gotten blocked and are backing the water up in the threshold and leaking indoors.

If you check carefully for inside the door, GENERALLY (not always) leaks around the door or doorframe will wet the inside at or above the inside of the doorsill, and leaks in the doorsweep or weatherstrip under the door will of course run in on top of the threshold strip. If coming in UNDER the threshold generally a problem with cracked threshold or water splashing/running in under the threshold or sill from porch or deck or whatever.

If NO sign of water inside the door or at the edge of the flooring there, likely water getting in under the sill strip off the porch or deck or from buildup of water (generally roof runoff) along the foundation.

On the floor joists - if coming in high (t the top of them) so right under the door - most likley a door area / threshold leak. If coming in at the bottom of the joists, so right on top of the foundation, most likely water building up outside the foundation and commonly nothing to do with the door itself.

If you can stand on something there when there is bright daylight on that side of the house, with basement lights off, you might even be able to see light filtering through if there is an obvious leak point. Look also for staining to indicate where the water may be running down.

You may or may not be able to discover by pouring water various places outside while someone watches inside - starting low down with a point-pouring watering can or slow-running hose or such to keep the point of application small, then working up the threshold then up the door, finally around the outside of the door frame up the sides to the top. Note it takes a while for the water to flow down to the floor joists, so this can be a 10-20 minute exercise, otherwise it may start leaking after you have already moved the water on past the leak point and it may seem the leak source is other than where it really is. And of course, may be leaking in under the floor inside the door too, so using a water test risks further damage.

If not up to tracking this down yourself, handyman would likely be the vendor most willing to try to track it down.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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