Floods From Basement Stairways

An open hatchway door that's flooded.

Leaking hatchway doors are a nuisance for homeowners who'd like their basement to be dry -- especially in a finished basement.

When you waterproof your basement, you'll want to be able to count on it to be dry -- and to stay dry from that point on. If your basement is flooding from the stairs and hatchway entryway, then the job is not done.

How Hatchway Entrances Are Constructed

Understanding how hatchway doors are designed can help you see how they leak.

Hatchway entrances are typically constructed separately from the foundation walls. This entryway is usually designed as a concrete shell that's bolted on to the foundation walls after they're built. Often, stairs will come already built in.

Next, metal doors are fixed on top. If necessary, the stairs are built inside, and the construction is completed. These hatchways are usually not sealed to the foundation walls.

Keep basement doors and stairways from flooding water into your home!
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A flooded basement where water entered through the hatchway door
Drawing of a hatchway entrance leaking.

(Above) A hatchway entrance constructed separately from the rest of the home. This makes it vulnerable to flooding from many different areas.

(Below) This diagram of a flooding basement staircase shows how water flows in from around the hatchway doors, through wall cracks, and where the hatchway door and your foundation walls meet.

Where Basement Stairways Flood

Basement entryways leak from three critical points:

1. Underneath Metal Hatchway Doors

Metal hatchway doors are not flush with the concrete frame they're attached to. As rain builds up on the doors, it will slide down the doors and pool on the concrete around the edges of the doors.

From this point, the water has two paths that it can follow -- it can either continue to flow down to the ground, or it will slip underneath the metal hatchway door and onto the stairs inside.

2. Where The Hatchway And Foundation Meet

The concrete shell of the hatchway is mounted to the foundation walls via bolts, which are drilled through the concrete of the foundation.

Because it's rare for this joining point to be sealed by the contractors, it is a major weak point where water can flood through.

As groundwater builds up around the foundation during a rain event, it presses in on this weak spot and allows flooding.

3. Through Cracks In The Concrete

Like any concrete structure, a hatchway will begin to crack over time. Water will flood through these cracks, move to the stairs and end up in your basement.

Some old-fashioned hatchway doors were built with loose panels of wood (instead of metal), with little or no attempt to keep water out. Water easily floors through the gaps in these doors.

Once water builds up in a hatchway entrance, the puddles will expand into the basement.

Our grated drain system installed on a leaking basement staircase.

The TrenchDrain™ system is designed with a grated opening on top that collects water and sends it to your perimeter drain.

Meant as part of a perimeter drain system, it's a great way to keep hatchway flooding out of the basement.

Stopping Basement Flooding Through Hatchway Doors

No matter how water is flooding into your home from the hatchway doors, our TrenchDrain™ Hatchway Door System is a great way to keep it out of your basement space.

The TrenchDrain™ is designed with a half-round pipe section, with a grated top fitting. When installed, it's flush with the rest of your concrete floor for a clean, professional job.

The TrenchDrain™ is meant to be used as part of an existing perimeter drain system. It spans the staircase area, collecting water that spills down and directs it to your drain and sump pump system.

This system can span the entrance of the hatchway or it can be extended inside the hatchway itself.

This system is also sometimes recommended for use along garage doorways, as well as for other entrances where water may intrude.

More about our perimeter drain systems

We Can Stop Your Hatchway Door From Flooding Your Basement!

Whether your hatchway doors are leaking or you have some other basement flooding problem, your local waterproofing experts at Basement Systems have the solution you need. From leaky hatchways to flooding floors, iron ochre issues, wall cracks, or even ugly basement windows, we have it all!

We'd like to meet with you and show how we can make your basement dry -- all the time! Contact us today to schedule your free basement waterproofing quote!

Each free quote comes at no obligation and includes an on-site inspection, personal consultation, and free written cost quote. We'll also send along a complimentary copy of our full-color waterproofing book!

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