Various ways too much rain can cause basement water problems

- Thursday, November 03, 2022

In our podcast last week, we were talking about the drought. This week, the weather turned 180 and as a consequence, we have an interesting case study from Cranston RI. The CrackDaddy enlightens us.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy himself, Adam Tracy. Adam and The Crack Man Rich have over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Rich as over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcast provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: Various ways too much rain can cause basement water problems.

Narrator: So, Adam, in our podcast last week, we’re talking about the drought. This week, the weather turned 180 and as a consequence, you have an interesting case study from Cranston RI. What happened there?

Adam: Yeah, it’s been one of drought talk all summer long, been very dry and we all of a sudden got about 8 to 10 inches of rain in central Rhode Island and a lot of rain through southern New England as well. So, we actually had a customer call us from Cranston in a panic because a lot of her basement was flooding, and it wasn’t a unique call. With that much rain, we get a lot of phone calls and inquiries in, because people are in a panic and trying to figure out how to stop it and what they can do to prevent it from happening again.

Now, we’ve talked a lot about the drought causing issues with the soil and this was kind of a unique event, because it’s been so dry and the soil’s been so compacted because of how dry it is, it almost acts like concrete. Then we get about 8 to 10 inches of rain, and it actually doesn’t have to do a very good job getting into the soil very quickly. In the springtime, when the soil is already moist, it absorbs very quickly into the soil and is able to kind of act like a sponge. But if you had, like a dry sponge, it takes a little bit of water for it to actually start to absorb. And this is exactly what happened this summer, with the soil being as dry as it has been.

In Cranston, we had a phone call come in and the woman who called in, a bit in a panic, because she had so much water coming in. And I asked her to describe exactly how it’s coming in and where it was coming in, and it seemed to be coming in mostly in one area, on the front of the house, and she had a poured concrete foundation. So, unfortunately, we weren’t able to run out there and take a look at it as it was happening, so we’re helping diagnose it over the phone. And from what she describes those coming in in one area about six feet across, and it was just pouring into the foundation.

I asked her, “What do you see? And you know, describe what you see in the foundation walls.” Typically with a concrete foundation, water is going to come in in a variety of locations, it’s going to be coming in through cracks, it could be coming in through tie rods, it could be coming in through pipe penetrations, it could be coming where the floor and the wall meet, or it could be coming in in a honeycomb kind of, poorly consolidated concrete area. So this is the most typical area that we would see water coming in. But she was describing it coming all the way down from the top of the wall, and flooding the floor.

I asked her if she'd send a quick photo, so that way we could see what she was seeing during that event. And it was very clear right away what was going on, the water was actually coming up and over the top of the foundation. And we see this a lot in condominium complexes and areas where they’ve done new landscaping in the front and it was going like that. “Okay, it looks like it’s coming up and over the foundation wall, not actually through the foundation wall.” So I asked her to run outside, and in the rain, and asked her to take a picture of that area. And sure enough, there was a puddle that was about 9 to 10 inches deep that was up to the siding and just over the siding of the house, so it was actually getting in between the transition between concrete and wood.

There’s a few things that need to happen here, you know, the hardest thing is knowing who to call in this certain event. Most times the foundation repair contractor, like us, we’re dealing only from the concrete, or cinder block, or stone foundation, down, when it starts to get into the wood structure of the home, generally, you’re looking at either siding contractors, carpenters, or general contractors, depending on kind of scope of the work here. So in this case, what was needed to be done was while, one, it needed to be landscaped once it dries out to be able to create enough space between the siding and the foundation. So that way, if there is pooling up of water, or in the winter time, if there’s snow piled up there, it’s not going to get up and over the foundation wall, so that was the first thing to be told.

When this dries out, you need to deal with getting this graded, so that you have enough room of concrete, so that you have enough space for water to pool up if it does pull up. The other thing that needs to be done is it needs to be reflashed on the outside, so that transition between concrete and wood at the sill plate is supposed to be a flash area where the water won’t be able to, kind of, get underneath and up and over. And so there may have been a failed flashing and they’ve even been improperly flashed, so this one would be looking at, maybe somebody who does siding work, or potentially a carpenter in that area. So, no work for us in this particular home, but we were able to direct her into a variety of different ways to be able to prevent this from happening and make sure that, you know, water is not getting up and over the foundation while everything else is bone dry. So reality was that it was a pretty easy fix, just had to talk to a couple different people.

Narrator: Thank Adam for explaining how a deluge of water can overwhelm a foundation and cause major of water issues.                                 

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.

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A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, Inc. is a fully registered home improvement contractor. Contact us today to talk to a knowledgeable, master waterproofing professional.

Toll Free: 866-929-3171

Call Us Today at 866-929-3171

A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, Inc. is a fully registered home improvement contractor. Contact us today to talk to a knowledgeable, master waterproofing professional.