If you have noticed that your basement floors and walls become wet every time there is a storm or a prolonged rain, you may have an issue with seepage from cove joints. This area where the basement walls and floor meet is called a cove joint and oftentimes it is a source of problems. Every time it rains, the levels of water in the soil next to the foundation walls and below the basement rise. These changes in the soil can put a lot of pressure on your foundation walls and the moisture will find the path of least resistance to enter the basement. This path of least resistance is often the cove joint. Let’s take a closer look at this footing/wall joint and ways you can solve the problem with seepage.
What Is a Cove Joint?
A cove joint is a link between your foundation walls and the basement floor. To understand why your basement can leak right in this area, we have to go back to when your home was built. When contractors are building a house, first they pour a concrete footer and let it dry. Next, they build the walls on the top of the dried footing. Finally, they pour the basement floor on the top of the base and against the basement wall. Since the fresh concrete doesn’t bind to the dry one, the footing and the walls do not form one cohesive piece, but they end up being two separate pieces. The space between them is called the cove joint. Unfortunately, due to water pressure, moisture can pass to the inside of the foundation wall. This is called cove seepage.
Signs of Cove Joint Seepage
Are you worried that you have cove joint leaks in your basement? There is a simple way you can resolve this dilemma. Go down to your basement and examine the area where the walls meet the floor. Bear in mind that the cove joint doesn’t look like a crack, but more like a straight line. As long as it stays compressed, the joint won’t cause structural problems.
If you notice that water is entering through the gap, you have a problem with cove seepage. However, keep in mind that sometimes these signs are not that visible. You might just have minor signs of leaks that appear after heavy rain. On the other hand, the problem could escalate and you will have water pooling on your basement floor. This is bad news since moisture can not only ruin the possessions you have stored in your basement but also cause foundation issues as well as mold infestation.
So, why don’t contractors just seal this joint? Let’s find out!
Problems with Sealing the Cove Joint
As a homeowner, you are surely aware of all the problems moisture can cause. Not only can it affect the health of your home, but it can impact the wellbeing of your loved ones as well. Therefore, it is necessary to repair cove joint seepage before things get out of hand.
Some waterproofing companies recommend sealing cove joints. After all, sealing the joint seems like an obvious solution. This way you will prevent water from entering your basement. However, things are more complicated than this. Sealing the gap can only be a short-term solution. Applying a sealant along the gap will prevent leakage for a while. However, in the long run, it is not a great solution. Eventually, the sealant will fail in one of these ways:
- When you seal the cove joint, the hydrostatic pressure doesn’t go away. In fact, during a storm when the water causes the pressure to increase, your walls won’t be able to contain it anymore and will give in. Your foundation walls will crack, and the water will infiltrate your home.
- The sealant won’t be able to keep the water out anymore. It will be completely removed or penetrated by water due to the hydrostatic pressure. When this happens, the sealant will become useless and the water will enter your basement, causing damage. What is even worse, believing that you have solved the seepage problem, you won’t control the state of the cove joint and the problems could quickly escalate.
Both of these events would happen due to the hydrostatic pressure. When water meets with resistance, it will work its way around the obstacle or through it to enter your basement.
What’s the Best Way to Fix Cove Joint Seepage?
Although sealing the gap is not the best option, there are several other solutions to help protect your home from water damage. However, this is the most reliable one:
Comprehensive Interior Drainage System
The best way to fix a cove seepage issue is to reduce the hydrostatic pressure and direct water away from the basement. One of the best ways to do this is with an interior drainage system. Contractors will install a specially designed perforated pipe under your basement floor and attach it to a sump pump. This way, the collected water will be pushed out and away from your home instead of leaking in through your cove joint.
One of the reasons why contractors in North Carolina recommend this solution is because the chances are low that it will get damaged by the elements or roots. In addition, it can be installed without disrupting your landscaping and it is more affordable than other options.
If you wish to keep the water from leaking into your basement, contact professional contractors in your area. Call the experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems and schedule a free inspection today.