In a early 20th century New England home of wood frame construction and foundation of fieldstone and brick with some CMU, we get some puddling of water in a few areas of the unfinished basement floor after a strong rain. The "slab" is not a modern, thick, floated concrete affair, but almost a skim coat of some kind of grout or cement over dirt (related question: what's this floor made of?). The water appears to be coming up through this basement floor. We also get some seepage through the foundation walls, and there's some dark discoloration of some of the bricks.
seepage through foundation wall
some discolored bricks?
We're in an urban setting with tight property lines (only feet between structures) and no natural grade to move the surface water away from the foundation. The downspout situation on the property is not very good. We think that the cure for the problem would be connecting the roof leaders (downspouts) to an underground drywell/recharger system to move the stormwater away from the foundation, but this would be a fairly pricey endeavor.
UPDATE: I should have been more clear about the downspout situation. All are intact and in good shape, and well sealed. The problem is that the buildings are so close together here that there's no way to extend the downspouts in such a way that they would dump more than a couple feet away from a foundation wall. If I extend the downspouts away from this basement, they shoot into another basement. There's also very little permeable surface on the property (mostly paved). This is why we think hard piping to a big drywell would be required, lest our problem become our neighbors problem.
If the occupants are not bothered by the occasional wet basement (used only for storage), would it be OK to leave the situation the way it is? Need we be concerned about other problems that this dampness and occasional flooding could cause?