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Cove Joints

The boundary between your foundation walls and the basement floor is often a hotspot for moisture and water.

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Anytime it rains in Missouri, water levels around your foundation go up. The soil may also get saturated. With nowhere to go, this water will start pushing up against your foundation walls and the basement floor. Some of this water will seep through cove joints and damage your basement if the foundation walls have cracks. Read on to learn more about cove joints and what you can do to protect your foundation. 

What Is a Cove Joint? 

A cove joint may form in any basement. This joint usually occurs at the intersection of your basement floor and the adjacent foundation walls. 

It happens when the first batch of concrete sets before the subsequent batch is poured. The result is that the two batches don’t mix. Left unsealed, the gap will allow water through it. Waterproofing the foundation wall can help stop water infiltration. 

What Problems are Associated with Cove Joints? 

Cove joints are common entryways for surface or groundwater into a home. The space between the floor and the walls will ultimately let water into your basement. Downpours, which can elevate the water table around your home, can cause water to leak through these cove joints. This tends to happen whenever there’s prolonged rain, which makes the ground get wet. 

If the rains continue, the soil will get saturated. Hydrostatic pressure will start building up behind the walls and exert pressure on them. The water may cause wall cracks or bowing walls. This isn’t good for the structural integrity of your home. 

Some people regard cove joints as weak points. That’s not entirely true. If the cove joints have a vertical reinforcing bar going through them, they are not weak. If no such bar exists, they are what’s referred to as cold joints, which are weak. 

Similar to small cracks, cove joints won’t cause problems unless environmental loads start to act against your walls from the outside. One of these is water. These joints will also remain inactive as long as they’re not compressed. 

Resolving Cove Joint Seepage 

Never let cove joint seepage linger for long as it can hurt your basement. 

Some waterproofing contractors encourage homeowners in Missouri to seal up their cove joints. This is a big mistake. While covering the gaps works well in the short term, it can lead to structural damage and water issues a few years down the road. 

The other downside to sealing cove joints is that this can cause hydrostatic pressure to build up whenever the water table rises. At some point, the foundation walls won’t be able to withstand the pressure. Two things may happen: the walls may crack, or they can bow. 

Water can enter your basement in many other ways. For instance, moisture may go around a sealed but expanding crack. 

Possible Solutions 

There are many things your foundation or basement contractor can do to control or stop water seepage. One is setting up a drainage system that reduces hydrostatic pressure. Such a system will keep groundwater and rainwater from the roof in check, ensuring they never pose problems. 

The other thing your waterproofing expert can do is install an interior drainage system and a sump pump system. The former will catch any leaking water while the latter will remove the water from your home. As a result, water won’t build up and start pushing against your walls. 

Ensure that you also regrade your land. A sloping yard will improve drainage. Water won’t pool around your home’s perimeter and cause problems. 

Installing exterior drains along your foundation walls can also help address cove joint seepage issues. This approach will create negative pressure and prevent water from going up to your basement floors or the interior drains. While drain installation can be expensive, it usually provides a lasting solution. 

Cove joints shouldn’t spell doom for your foundation. You can avoid water issues and protect your basement by scheduling a free inspection and repair quote with us. We’ll check the condition of the slab and recommend a fix for your cove joint problem. 

FRS Service Area Map with Des Moines

Our Service Areas

Des Moines Location

2401 SE Creekview Dr.
Ankeny, IA 50021

Kansas City Location

211 SE State Route 150
Lee's Summit, MO 64082
(816) 774-1539

Moberly Location

1401 US-24
Moberly, MO 65270
(660) 202-8662

Springfield Location
1820 N Barnes Ave
Springfield, MO 65803
(417) 612-8286
St. Louis Location

1625 Larkin Williams rd.
Fenton, MO 63026
(314) 207-9995