So I'm a recent home owner (2 months now). I live in Massachusetts and given the storm that just rolled through, I found water in my basement. Not a scary amount. I was able to mop most of it up. I have a fieldstone basement which I know if susceptible to water but this was more than normal and all on 1 side of the foundation.

After looking at the ground outside next to the foundation, I found water pooling. It looks like the prior owners tried to cover up what looks like a stone walkway with top soil. My house is raise from street level, so I know this is fixable.

My first approach is going to remove the old stones that may be causing water to pool. You would think the water would naturally travel down the driveway and into the street just by looking at that side of the house on a dry day

Once I have that area clear, does anyone have suggestions on improving water leakage. French drains?

  • 1
    Post photos of the area where the water is pooling, including a larger shot of that entire space.
    – paulmz
    Sep 30, 2015 at 18:28
  • I'm in PA and get water on occasion in my basement. My philosophy is to encourage the water to go places other than my basement. I replaced ivy around my house with loose stone that quickly wicks the water away from the foundation. And in the likely event water does find its way into my basement, I keep the valuable, can't get wet stuff away from the area that is prone to leakage. Seems like common sense but you'd be surprised how many carpeted/drywalled basements are in my area.
    – popdan
    Sep 30, 2015 at 18:45
  • Could you elaborate on the 'loose stone' or provide a link?
    – user44111
    Sep 30, 2015 at 18:50
  • Do you have a piled stone foundation or poured concrete? Do you have gutters and down spouts that are working correctly?
    – mikes
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:19
  • @Quirk google "Pocono river stone". That's what I used. When around my house was dirt and ivy it would act like a sponge and hold water. To add to it, it's also a shady area. I replaced it with about 10" deep by 18" wide path of stone. I've seen much more elaborate systems on "This Old House" type shows which involve backhoes, truckloads of stone, corrugated drain pipe, etc. But for my situation, a couple hundred bucks of stone a day of labor seemed to be enough.
    – popdan
    Oct 1, 2015 at 1:59

1 Answer 1


EDIT TO ANSWER YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTION: Yes, whatever you can do to direct water away from the foundation wall will work. My neighbor, literally, just stopped by to borrow a circular saw so he can cut some plywood into 2'x4' sheets to lay against his house to direct water away.

Mass real estate owner here with same problem in 3 different properties. All rubble basements get water, especially in Mass in October.

On the outside:

When it gets dryer or in in the spring, dig out about two feet down (deeper if you can) and a foot out from the foundation and fill it with cement to 3 to 6 inches above the surrounding dirt, sloped away from the house It'll take 5 bags of cement for each horizontal foot (or thereabouts), so you could end up hand mixing 30 to 50 bags depending on the horiztonal run. As you poor the cement, feel free to lay in some chicken wire or other metal mesh or screen to strengthen.

On the inside:

Buy a dehumidifier with a humidistat and leave it plugged in to help speed drying. (another edit: get it to drain into a basement drain or sink....otherwise it'll fill with water and shut off...pain in the ass to empty...build a shelf high up in the basement to put the dehumidifier on..above the sink if there is one...)

Install a sump pump. Of course, if you go to Home Depot today, when it's pissing rain, they'll all be sold out. Dig a hole in the lowest point of your basement and put in a sump pump. I won't explain it all here, but any homeowner can do it. Google "install sump pump"


In theory you can drylock from the inside, but I've had no luck with it. You can also spray foam insulate from the inside - saw that on This Old House, but I think it would make a hellamess.

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