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Cove Joints: Where Basement Leaks Happen

Puddle of water in the corner of a basement.

Water on your basement floor is never a good sign and it can lead to other problems. If you notice standing water, mostly near the walls of your basement, it’s probably leaking in through cove joints—the area where your basement floor meets the wall.

Let’s explore what a cove joint is and how to stop water from leaking through it.

What Is a Cove Joint?

Water leaking through a basement wall.

The cove joint is where the basement floor and walls meet.

During construction, builders pour the basement floor first, then construct the walls on top. Often, the freshly poured concrete for the walls doesn’t bond well with the now-dry concrete floor, leaving a small gap called the cove joint.

After rain or snow, some water drains underground and builds up next to the basement walls. Without the proper waterproofing solutions, water will leak through the cove joint.

Signs of a Leaking Cove Joint

Mold growing at the base of a block basement wall.

To check for cove joint leaks, inspect the area where your basement walls meet the floor. The cove joint looks like a straight line, not a crack. If it’s sealed, you shouldn’t have problems. However, if the bottom of your basement walls are wet, or you notice puddles of water on the floor, water is leaking in.

Sometimes, the signs are more subtle. Instead of leaking, small amounts of moisture from the ground might slowly seep into the basement. Over time, you might notice higher humidity or mold growth.

How to Fix a Leaking Cove Joint

It’s important to address cove joint leakage before it causes other damage such as mold, high utility bills, or worse. Even if these problems have already developed, addressing the cove joint is worth it to prevent further damage.

You might think about sealing the cove joint with caulk or another sealant, but this will only provide a temporary fix. Stopping the leakage for good is only possible with professional basement waterproofing solutions. Here’s what Groundworks provides to stop water from leaking through:

  • Interior Drainage System: The drain is placed under the basement floor on top of the footer. It collects water that leaks in through the cove joints and sends it to a sump pump.
  • Sump Pump: The sump pump receives water from the drainage system and pumps it away from your basement. It also stops water from leaking through the cove joint and flooding the basement.
  • Dehumidifier: The basement dehumidifier takes extra moisture out of the air. It helps stop mold growth, cuts down on musty smells, and makes the air healthier to breathe.
  • Wall Vapor Barrier: A wall vapor barrier stops moisture from getting into basement walls, helps prevent mold and damage, and seals the cove joints.

Get Professional Waterproofing From AFS

AFS crewman placing a vapor barrier onto a basement wall.

If you’re interested in waterproofing your home, contact professionals at AFS. We serve homeowners in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Schedule a free inspection today to find the best solution for your needs.

Cove Joint FAQs

It’s a good idea to inspect your cove joints every few months, especially after heavy rains. Look for signs of dampness, water stains, or mold growth where the floor meets the walls.

Hydrostatic pressure builds up when water saturates the soil around your foundation. This pressure pushes water through the path of least resistance, often the cove joint, causing seepage into your basement.

Yes, many solutions like installing interior drainage systems, sump pumps, and dehumidifiers can effectively manage and prevent cove joint seepage without major construction. Consulting with a waterproofing professional can help determine the best approach for your situation.

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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