We moved into a 1960 split-level house in central New Jersey about a year and a half ago and since then I've noticed we seem to have a high water table. In the sump pit the water level is always about 12" to 18" below the surface of basement floor (always more than half full). We do have some minor moisture issues seeping through the first few inches of the cinder block walls near the floor (French drain around the perimeter of basement but no weep holes).

The houses on our block do sit at a higher elevation than the rest of the surrounding area and all our back yards have a modest slope downward away from the homes. There is a sizeable tributary a few blocks from our house, but given our elevation relative to that and the rest of the neighborhood, I don't see how that could be a factor. Yesterday I talked to my neighbor next door (same style house and age) who said he does not have a high water table and his sump pit is usually empty. The house on the other side is vacant so I can't get info there.

Is this normal? Something to be concerned about? Trying to do my homework now and get an understanding as we'll likely want to properly finish the basement in another 3-4 years.

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    Water can be very localized. Perhaps your home's basement is intersecting a spring or something buried is causing the water table to be higher at your location that your neighbors. There are many factors involved. But before finishing your basement, you need to ensure that your water issues are fixed. The comment about "minor moisture issues" is what concerns me. There is no such thing!
    – jwh20
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 13:55
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    You have a high water table if your sump runs 24/7 as my neighbors in IL. He had 2 additional pumps in the same sump in case it was raining. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


My last home a daylight basement had a similar issue when we purchased it. A deep French drain in front of the house with drain legs going down the side of the home completely solved our problem along with epoxy coating the entire floor of the lower level. The drain legs down the side of the house were dug 2 ‘ below the foundation level at the bottom and extended a few feet until the slope left the drain open. Perf pipe in a sock and back filled with rock the lower area was always green even in late summer +jhw20. so I think we had a small spring or the drain was just very efficient at collecting the rain water as that home is on a very steep hill. I have had good luck epoxy sealing slabs but not cinder block walls. Creating a French drain that ties in with the rock under the slab and or foundation and extends below the dump level below the house may eliminate your standing water issue. In my last place I was not sure if we had a spring but the runoff from up the hill was washing out a paved lower driveway and I was adding a new circular one so I added the drain to divert any water around the home and then continued down the hill several feet away from the house but at the bottom corners worked back until hitting the rock. Make sure if you rent a ditch witch on a steep hill to get insurance when you rent , let’s say they will roll down a hill if the bar is not in the trench Oops.

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