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I'm in an old house that occasionally gets water in the basement. The basement isn't finished so it isn't a big deal if some water comes in right now. The problem right now is that there's a drain in the poured concrete floor, but the floor isn't perfectly level and the drain seems to be at the highest point in the floor. So the water flows everywhere except for the drain.

How can I get the water that comes in to flow towards the drain? I've considered cutting channels in the floor for water to flow, but I'm wondering if there's an easier and less drastic solution.

Right now, I'm just looking for a stop-gap. I've done all the little things I can to improve drainage from my house and stop water from coming in. Sealing the foundation and fixing the poorly-designed window wells isn't a job I can tackle right now.

  • Where is the water coming in? Through the wall? Between the floor and the wall? From an outside basement stairwell? – SteveSh Jan 13 at 17:46
  • On one side of my house, the bottom of the door sits a few inches below the driveway, so water can just pour into it. There are also two small windows, without window wells, that sit just as low. I think some water also seeps in through the foundation wall, though I need to scrape all the parging off before I can see where exactly – Chris.B Jan 13 at 18:08
  • The door being below the driveway sounds like the main problem. Is there any way you can channel or divert the water from the driveway away from the door? Hard to recommend anything more specific without having any pictures to go by. Once you take care of that, go after the windows. – SteveSh Jan 13 at 18:18
  • Yeah it's for sure a big part of the problem, though most of the water comes in under one of the windows. So I'm thinking of just fully sealing it with plexiglass or even bricking it up (can't put a window well cover since there's no window well to cover). I might dig up the part of the driveway in front of and past the door, I can live without it. Putting an awning over the door might stop some of the water that hits the door and flows down it – Chris.B Jan 13 at 18:51
  • Can you build up the ground around the offending window to create a shallow dam? Or make a swale? I don't know what kind of ground slopes you have around your house. – SteveSh Jan 13 at 18:58
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Depending on how out of level your concrete floor is, filling in the uneven surface with self-leveling concrete could improve the slope and drainage of the floor. Odd that the drain is at the highest point, but in an old house it could have settled over time. A quick search for self-leveling concrete at a big-box home improvement store brought up a product that can fill from a feathered edge thickness to 1.5" of variation.

If you just want to get any puddles of standing water into the drain, a shop broom or long-handled squeegee could be used to push the water toward the drain.

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  • Yeah, I currently use a big squeegee to pull the water towards the drain. I've considered self-leveling concrete, though I'm not sure how to use that to get the water to flow to the drain. Best case, I get the floor perfectly level and then the water spreads out everywhere evenly – Chris.B Jan 13 at 18:12
  • if it's level, the water can't get too deep. if it can't get too deep, it will dry itself out quickly. a sprinkle of detergent on the floor will lower the height at which it self-drains. – dandavis Jan 13 at 19:15

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