Water Coming Through Floor: What Does It Mean And How To Stop It

If you’re finding water coming through the floor, especially in your basement, it’s a sign that something has gone wrong.

Random wet spots and water seepage are signs that your home’s waterproofing has failed in some way and will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. There are immediate steps to take which will deal with the puddles and long-term solutions which will stop it happening again in the future.

Before we get into the solutions, we should try and understand the likely problems which have caused water to come through the floor in the first place.

Why Is Water Coming Through Your Basement Floor?

Finding a wet floor in the basement is never a happy discovery, but what has caused water to come up through the floor in the first place?

The answer is almost always hydrostatic pressure.

The walls and floors of our basements are under constant pressure from the earth around them. This earth contains a certain level of groundwater and when it gets saturated, it pushes on the concrete or blocks that form your basement.

Sometimes, it finds its way through tiny cracks. Sometimes it can be strong enough to shift whole blocks. Either way, it’s a problem that needs dealing with before it causes serious structural damage.

Understanding the Causes

There are three major causes of hydrostatic pressure on your basement floor:

High groundwater levels

While there is always some pressure from groundwater in the soil surrounding your home, sometimes heavy rain will make this rise, creating what is known as a false water table.

If your basement wasn’t designed to withstand these sudden and often unexpected rises in groundwater levels, it can find its way in, resulting in a wet basement floor.

Poor Drainage

There’s no way to stop the rain from hitting your house and the ground surrounding it. The solution is to help the water flow away from our homes to where it can’t bother us.

Sometimes poor drainage will allow water to pool or build up around the walls of your basement and eventually find its way in.

When looking at drainage, it’s not just the ground you need to consider. Guttering and windows also play a vital role in making sure the wet stuff goes where it should.

Plumbing Leaks

Of course, it’s not always groundwater that causes water to come through your basement floor.

Plumbing pipes, both supply and drains, are often located in the floor to save on space and minimize the risk of damage. Unfortunately, this puts them in prime position to cause all kinds of issues when they do go wrong and can make them tricky to access.

Immediate Actions To Take

When you find a random puddle of water on your basement floor, there are a few actions you should take straightaway to minimize the risk of serious damage.

Water Control

Just like when you spill something, a random wet spot on the floor needs mopping up as soon as it’s noticed

Use towels, mops and buckets- anything to remove the water and allow you to assess the cause of the water seeping from your floor.

If the water seems to be flowing rather than seeping from under your floor, you can use towels to try and prevent the spread as much as possible while you consider your options.

 Shutting Off The Water

If you suspect that the water coming through your floor may be emanating from your plumbing, the first thing to do is to shut it off at the source.

Depending on exactly how your system has been plumbed and where the water is coming through your floor this may be as simple as turning the main control valve.

It could, however, require finding the main supply valve for your property. This is usually located outside, sunk into the ground under a grate. It may be just outside your property line on a path or road.

Sometimes the outside stop-valve will be unique to your property but if you live in an older home, it may be shared between you and your neighbors. It’s a good idea to leave this step to professionals.


Once you’ve gotten the source of the water under control, you need to start thinking about ventilation.

As air flows around our homes, it moves humidity from inside to outside. If you’ve discovered water seepage, it’s important to let evaporation and ventilation do their jobs to avoid musty smells and long-term damage occurring in your basement.

Open the windows and doors and turn on any dehumidifiers (if safe to do so) and consider which long term solutions may be the best for the water under your floor.

Long-Term Solutions

Once the immediate panic has subsided, it’s time to start thinking long-term. Depending on the cause of the water seeping through the floor, you have a few options which are worth considering.

Talk to a professional who will be able to offer expert advice and help develop solutions tailored to your particular needs.

French Drain Installation

If you’re often finding random wet spots on your basement floor, a French drain could go a long way to help stop the water seepage.

A French drain is effectively a horizontal drainpipe which provides an easy route from a problem area to one where it can do no harm. They can be installed internally or externally, depending on where the water is tending to pool.

Sump Pumps

If you live in an area where groundwater regularly rises and you’re finding wet floors after heavy rain, a sump pump could be the solution you require.

Sump pumps work by moving water away before it can come through your floor. They sit in a pit (the sump) under your basement floor and are activated when the water level in the pit rises enough to activate a float switch.

The pump spins an impellor which creates an area of low pressure, forcing the water down a discharge line and away from your basement floor.

Repairing Leaks

It goes without saying that if a leaking pipe was the cause of water coming through your floor that will need repairing as quickly as possible.

It may require specialist knowledge or tools or be particularly tricky to access. In these cases, a plumber will be more than happy to help. Make sure that you find a reputable company and if it’s not urgent, shop around for quotes.

Your home insurance will also be happier if you take the professional route, should something go wrong.

Improving drainage

Drainage solutions come in all shapes and sizes and aren’t always just a pipe which leads from one place to another (though those work too). Some things to consider if you’re finding wet patches on the floor are:

  • Guttering and Downspouts: these ensure that water from your roof is safely carried away. Making sure they’re up to the job can go a long way towards boosting your home’s waterproofing.

  • Installing a French Drain: an external French drain can act like guttering for your garden and ensure that water can’t pool where it shouldn’t and seep through walls and floors but instead drains harmlessly away.

  • Soil Treatment: consider things like raised beds or enriching your soil with components that promote easy drainage. Not only is this great for your garden’s aesthetics, it can provide a surprising boost to how waterproof your home is too.

  • Grading Your Property: because water flows downhill, your home should be positioned on the highest possible part of the property. If it’s not, this can be rectified through some fairly heavy-duty landscaping. While this is a major undertaking, it can work wonders on how effective your basement waterproofing is and allow an opportunity to undertake other exterior work at the same time.

When you find water coming through the floor, the tendency is to panic, but with a cool head and a little detective work, you’ll be able to get it under control before you consider options in regards to long-term solutions to your water seepage problems.