There is a caulked seam where the bulkhead wall comes into contact with the foundation wall. It is raining outside and water is now coming in through the small cracks in this seam. It is causing the water to pool below and eventually come into the basement.

What is the best and most permanent way to fix this? I'm concerned if I use more caulking it will eventually crack again during freeze/thaw cycles.

Making matters worse, this is a new construction home that was built in 2017. Per the code in this town, a perimeter drain was installed. I am concerned this perimeter drain was not extended around the bulkhead. There is a lot of water currently pooling up around the bulkhead area outside. bulkhead door

leaking seam

1 Answer 1


You say, “...pooling up around the bulkhead.” Does that mean ponding water on the surface of the ground directly above the perimeter drain?

If so, you could have two problems (assuming the perimeter drain is really installed): 1) the soil (backfill) against the retaining wall and/or around the drain line does not percolate (drain), and/or 2) the drain line does not extend to where it can drain out.

1) Soil should have enough voids to allow water to percolate down to the drain line and then “run” (or be pumped) out so that the water drains away. Usually drainrock is used so that water can move freely through the rock and away from the wall. Here, we use a 3” thick mesh that lays against the wall so no water will lay against the wall.

2) Once the water has reached the drain line it needs to run away from the area. Otherwise, the water will fill the site up and put pressure against the wall. Water has tremendous pressure the deeper it is. That pressure will “push” water through any crack or joint.

Also, another important step is locating the drain line below the slab. Otherwise, water under the drain line but above the slab will enter the room.

Caulking and patching the inside of the wall will never be permanent. The only permanent fix is done on the outside of the wall. There are systems designed to gather the water inside the room and then pump it out, but then you’ll need to watch for mold, etc. buildup.

If the construction is less than a year old, it’s still under warranty. Contact your Builder Board that license contractors and discuss with them.

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