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What Is a Cove Joint?

cove joint and basement corner

Do you dread prolonged rain and storms? Are you worried that your basement floors and walls will be wet every time Mother Nature opens the skies? Your basement may be susceptible to seepage from cove joints.

The meeting point between basement walls and floors is a common source of problems like leaks, which leads to further basement issues. This article explores footing/wall joints and offers professional basement waterproofing solutions for seepage problems.

Cove Joints and Leaks Explained 

A cove joint is the area where the basement floor and walls meet, connecting to your foundation. Here is how cove joints are created during your home’s construction:

  • Contractors first 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.

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.

Signs of Cove Joint Seepage 

Are you worried that your basement has cove joint leaks? There is a simple way to resolve this dilemma.

Go to your basement and examine the area where the walls meet the floor. Keep 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, sometimes these signs are not 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 your belongings but also cause foundation issues as well as mold growth.

Problems with Sealing the Cove Joint  

Moisture is your home’s top enemy, affecting structural stability and your family’s health and safety. That’s why it is necessary to repair cove joint seepage before things get out of hand. 

Some waterproofing companies recommend sealing cove joints to prevent water from entering your basement. However, sealing the gap can only be a short-term solution that prevents leakage for a while. 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 becomes useless, and the water enters 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 occur due to hydrostatic pressure. When water meets 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 

installing interior drainage in a basement floor

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.

Basement waterproofing specialists first drill weep holes into the bottom course of the walls to alleviate pressure and allow water to escape the walls. Then, they install a specially designed perforated pipe in trenches created around the basement’s perimeter. The drainage channels are connected to a sump pump. This allows the collected water to be pushed out and away from your home instead of leaking in through your cove joint.

Tar Heel Basement Systems Protects Your Basement Cove

The condition of cove joints can make or break your basement’s health and safety. Ensure it’s protected the right way with trusted solutions.

For help with keeping water out of your basement, contact the professionals at Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free inspection today. We’ll evaluate your home and recommend solutions tailored to your basement waterproofing needs.

Cove Joint FAQs

Water intrusion can be due to wall or floor cracks, seepage, internal leaks, inadequate landscaping, and gutters. Reach out to Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free inspection to determine the cause and the best repair solutions. 

If you want to prevent your basement from flooding after a rainstorm, you need to install effective solutions like interior drainage, a sump pump system, a wall vapor barrier, and a dehumidifier. Keep in mind, these tools should never be installed with DIY methods. Work with a professional if you want to stop basement flooding effectively.

Costs vary based on basement size and required materials. We offer complimentary assessments, upfront pricing, and financing options, ensuring clarity on expenditures. Contact us for more details. 

Related Resources

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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