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I would appreciate direction on investigating this water issue further:

I have had water dripping (from ceiling) during heavy rain , along inside wall of basement only on one side of the house. Fortunately, this is also not a chronic issue. It happened only during two spring/summer seasons in past 7 years.  Only after super heavy rain I saw this 3-5 times one year, and 1-2 time the next year spring. Dripping along the wall, stops after the heavy rain stops. For past two springs, it has been dry along that wall and now I am finishing the basement, so could use help on what preventive/investigative steps I could take before framing the inside wall. My plumber ruled out any water pipe leak. It is a 1950 cape in northeast, with poured concrete basement wall.

Visuals below:

  • The first image shows the stain on the wall from the ceiling, from water drippings. You can see the same basement window in the second image from an outside view. Since the basement ceiling is well over 18 inches above ground level, I ruled this out as collected ground water coming back in.  

shows the stain on the wall from the ceiling

  • The second image is an outside view of the same basement window: The water dripping along inside wall is isolated to the right of this window, in this view.

outside view

  • The third image shows the full view of the outside wall, including the gutter & pipes on roof. I believe the gutters are fine, and water discharges about 21 feet away from the basement though a buried gutter extension. There is no other puddle or wet wall outside I could detect during rain.

shows the full view of the outside wall, gutter & pipes on roof

I am suspecting the problem is some leakage around the flashing on the roof coming down alone inside of exterior wall, or some seepage along the cracks on the outdoor wood shingles.

Suggestions on other areas I could investigate, are very much appreciated. Right now I am think of calling a chimney professional to check flashings on the roof, as the next step to investigate.

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    One side of my house gets hit with the weather more than the others. If this side of your house also gets hit hardest with rain, there is a chance the window with air conditioning is collecting the water and it runs down that wall. Has that air conditioner been in when you get water in the basement? But like others said, take a look at your chimney. – Jeff Widmer Sep 18 '18 at 19:27
  • I'd check the grading to ensure water is not running back towards the house from the gutter end. Heavy rains leads me to think the ground is getting saturated and water is then running back towards the house and pooling around this area. – Micah Montoya Oct 8 '18 at 15:42
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I know you say the guttering is fine, but my advice to all homeowners is: "never check the gutters when they are dry". Always check them when it's pouring with rain, the harder the better. There is no better way of seeing exactly where the water is going.

My thoughts are that if the roof or chimney were leaking, you'd see evidence long before the water hits the basement ceiling, no?

The fact the water leak is above the ground level means the water is likely getting past the cladding. The fact it only does it during extreme rain points to the gutter system overflowing (IMHO).

The problem may then be twofold; the gutter (as it is) can't cope with heavy rain, and second, there is a breach in the cladding and/ or membrane behind the cladding.

  • I agree with the chimney have had had water run down to the wall and do the same thing. Another area to look at is the windows. Here 2 specific areas outside the seal T the tops and side a driving rain can cause water to run down the walls , 2nd the weep holes at the bottom of your windows (outside) many times these get filled with dust and dead flys, clean the track out and make sure the holes are open I did not see them in the photo but they look like retrofits to me ensuring good drainage in the track and sealing around the frame may be the problem.+ – Ed Beal Sep 21 '18 at 20:12
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I would consider the fasteners for the low bracket on the downspout. How far do they penetrate the outside wall?

They could act as a pathway for rainwater to follow. I would expect the amount of water in a light rain to be insufficient to make the basement ceiling wet. A heavy rain on the other hand might be enough.

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I just saw something similar in a parking garage stairwell. See the attached picture. There is definitely no plumbing anywhere near the wall, and there is no leak in the roof. It is called basement wall sweat.

This happens if your home is too humid, the concrete walls touch the air, and the concrete is colder than the air. Concrete warms up slower than the rest of your home. So if your home temperature increases even a small amount, the concrete will be the coldest point; so it becomes the first point to collect dew.

Check your dryer vent. If a bird made a nest in there, you might not be venting water vapor properly. Clean your dryer lint trap after each load. Keep windows and doors closed at all times to keep out humidity, even when the outside weather seems nice. Turn down your humidifier or throw it away.

Your ac and furnace both dry out your air, so they can help.

Search the net for "basement wall sweat". Insulation can help, but you have to install it right, or it will make things worse.basement wall sweat in the parking garage where I work

  • I will get chimney checked. Gutter were cleaned. I know the installed gutter foam are couple of years old. I will check if drip-edges are installed. Thanks. – cjo Sep 16 '18 at 0:07
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    Welcome to Home Improvement! This is really a comment, not an answer. With a bit more rep, you will be able to post comments. – Machavity Sep 16 '18 at 2:16

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