What can we do about water build up on our basement floor? We had a french drain put in and it worked for the first 3-4 years.

Asked by LuAnn Jenkins
Nicholson, PA

Our basement floor (previously our family room) takes on water in one corner. We had a french drain put in and it worked for the first 3-4 years. Now after heavy rains we have a small amount of water build up. We had carpeting but I was always pulling it back to let the floor and carpet dry out. So now we are back to concrete. What would be a good floor covering? Also when we had the french drain put in we had the exterier wall tarred. Very frustrated at this point. Thank you . LuAnn Jenkins


Edward Wright

Answered by Edward Wright

Cincinnati, OH

Wright Design, LLC

August 22, 2012


Before taking further and costly measures, such as adding a membrane foundation water proofing or reworking the french drain -- let's be sure water is flowing away from the home.

  • Do you have positive drainage away from the home - at least 1/2" per foot? If not, adding 2" of soil 4 feet wide against the foundation and reseeding will help.
  • Reconnect any loose or unsealed downspout pipes. Connect downspouts to any underground pipes (also check for pipe leaks via camera).
  • Extend downspouts that discharge 12" or so from the home to 4 feet.
  • Check for gutters that overflow in a heavy rain.
  • Also, if you have a foundation drain, check to see that its outflow is clear.

Once the water issue is resolved has some greener concrete floor sealing solutions that may work for you such as DRYCRETE which is a zero-VOC deep penetrating sealer.

Good luck with the investigation and reclaiming your basement.



For more information:

Read "How can I improve my outdoor area to avoid getting water in my basement and near-flooding in my backyard?" a Q&A answered by Ryan Flegal.

Tagged In: basement moisture

Do you have a question about greening your home? GreenHomeGuide invites you to Ask A Pro. Let our network of experienced green building professionals – architects, designers, contractors, electricians, energy experts, landscapers, tile & stone specialists, and more – help you find the right solution.