View Full Version : Where is this leak coming from?

John Twesten IV
03-10-2009, 6:44 PM
I was away on vacation and came back to a leak in a newly finished basement bathroom. We had about a 10" of snow that was thawing when I returned. I did not get to see any snow piled up on the house but I can't seem to figure out how that much water would get in. All the trim & 2 x 4's around the window were soaking wet. I ripped off all the wood trim in and around the window.


Any idea how it could be coming in where the floor joists & the foundation meet? My only guess is that it was coming in behind the steps and running down towards the window? I'm thinking the joist is about the same height as the top step. The framed wall in front of the window is about 6" away from the foundation to bump out from the french drain I had installed.
Lastly, any idea how to fix this problem?

Chris Padilla
03-10-2009, 6:50 PM

Your pics did not come through but I have a guess nonetheless. Do you have any underground pipes (for electrical or plumbing) entering this area?

John Twesten IV
03-10-2009, 8:21 PM
There are not any pipes or electrical entering this area. I hope that you will be able to check out the pics later because the pictures explain a lot. I can see them on my end, but I will look into the issue.

Brian Effinger
03-10-2009, 9:46 PM
My first thought is that it is the window, but until you can get the pictures up, it is hard to say.

John Twesten IV
03-11-2009, 10:59 AM





Alrighty, here we go.

John Fricke
03-11-2009, 5:49 PM
We had a major rainstorm after we moved into our new house a few years ago. I didn't have the final grade done on the exterior yet. I also didn't have the gutters installed yet. The rain came off the roof, around the corner of the house and filled the shallow egress window well. Needless to say those things don't hold water very effectively. We had a river coming in through the closed and latched window. A little grading and landscaping and we've had no problem since.

Corey Wilcox
03-11-2009, 9:46 PM

In the second photo there's a copper pipe that is all tarnished green. Was it like that before you noticed the problem in the new bathroom? If so, I would check out the next fitting up on that pipe. It might be that a fitting "uphill" from it is leaking and the water is flowing over to the block wall and down around your window. Does that by any chance supply water to your dishwasher or your refrigerator? Both are notorious for leaking. Hope you figure it out.

John Twesten IV
03-12-2009, 7:16 AM

I did not really take notice to the pipe prior to framing out / finishing the bathroom. You make a great point about checking out that pipe which supplies the dishwasher ( only ). I was thinking if there was a leaking pipe that it would constantly be leaking. It was very cold when I was away as I had the heat turned down, maybe this amplified the problem if the pipe shrunk a little bit due to the temperature in the basement.

David G Baker
03-12-2009, 7:26 AM
There could be a hair line crack in the copper pipe due to expansion of the pipe if the pipe actually froze.

Corey Wilcox
03-12-2009, 8:06 AM

David makes a good point. Your dishwasher line is very close to the block wall and there doesn't appear to be any insulation between the pipe and the block wall. If you left for a few days and the temperature fell enough for it to snow that line could very well have frozen and split. Especially if you turned the temperature down in the house before you left. I would still check the fittings and see if they were leaking though. With that much tarnishing it wouldn't surprise me if you had incompatible metal fittings touching each other somewhere above the floor. If there is, one will rob metal from the other and eventually you'll end up with a leak. Whatever the situation turns out to be I would definitely put some insulation against that block wall to protect your water lines from freezing.

John Twesten IV
03-12-2009, 8:23 AM
David & Corey,

When I finished the bathroom I put insulation between the pipe & the wall, but I removed it to get a better picture of the water line on the joists. After fixing the problem, I think it will be a good idea to add a piece of the foam insulation around the pipe.

You guys make great points about the dishwasher line. I could not comprehend how the snow could have caused that much water based on grade outside etc. Thanks again for all your help! I will post pictures of the fitting once I remove the dishwasher this weekend.

For now, I better get back to work!

Rich Engelhardt
03-12-2009, 12:46 PM
Water's a funny (as in odd) thing.
Where it comes out, may be half a house away from where it's coming in.

We had a roof flashing around the soil stack spring a leak four years ago.

Instead of coming out in the bathroom directly below the leak, the water was cascading down the front hallway wall - 40 feet away!...