I recently bought a house and for the first month+, there was absolutely no water in the basement. All of a sudden one day, I go downstairs and there are puddles! I look and see that the water is coming from the seam between the floor and the foundation wall, but also through the floor in some places.

The funny thing is, I have a sump pump and the pit has THREE corrugated pipes going into it. They are all spilling out water constantly and this water is being pumped out. It seems like (if I reach my hand in through the pipes) they go along the walls. This leads me to believe I have a french drain system installed in the basement.

The question is, even though there is water coming out of these pipes, why am I still getting a flooding basement? And why in the world would it occur so suddenly like this?

Maybe the pipes clogged up? Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

UPDATE: 7/6/2020

I found out that the french drain system I had was not done properly. Namely, they did not drill holes in each and every void in the concrete block foundation (they actually didn't drill any holes at all!). Furthermore, they raised the entire floor 8 or so inches. So in other words, the french drain is located on the original basement floor, then there is a whole new floor poured over top of that. Thus, the water this system was draining was simply the seepage water going through the wall at the original basement floor level. This amount of water drainage was not sufficient which led to the flooding (puddles).

It was completely impractical to remove the entire basement floor (what a crazy solution this was from the previous owner!). Thus, I had the french drain job redone by a reputable water proofing company. They jackhammered the edged of the basement, removed the old drainage pipe, drilled holes in every block void, put new pipe down and poured new concrete to cover the drains. Cost about $8,000. I have had zero problems since. We have had some serious rains in these few years and it has remained dry as a bone down there ever since. Thus, this story proves that not all french drains are created equal!!!

  • 1
    Heavier Rainfall or an already saturated ground. Where is the sump pump and the pipes - obviously pictures of your leaking seams, floor and the sump pump setup might be more helpful. The foundation / wall leaking requires sealing - since you just bought the home if you are in the USA check your laws regarding disclosure of material facts. You might have recourse to get the previous owner to resolve it. Most states though are Caveat Emptor when it comes to real estate.
    – Ken
    Feb 25, 2018 at 9:22
  • in the midwest, we just got 5.5" inches of rain in 2 days; there's simply not enough room in the system for that, especially on still-cold soil. dirt between the sump corrugations and seeping cracks is over-saturated.
    – dandavis
    Feb 25, 2018 at 18:53
  • Since there is a sump pump my experiance is there will be times the system cannot keep up. As @yehuda_NYC stated possibly the discharge points are becoming plugged, trying to seal from the inside almost never works for the same reason once the pressure builds the water finds its way in. However I have had some good luck sealing with epoxy in the summer that has really made a difference in 2 of the below grade homes I have owned and several others that I have done.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 1, 2018 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


The french drain has to empty someplace. Perhaps that path has gotten plugged up.

  • Or its water level is higher than the basement floor and water is doing what water does. Feb 26, 2018 at 17:48

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