Diagnosing a Finger Space Leak


What is a Fingerspace Leak? 

Most homes will typically have a poured concrete foundation wall or a concrete block foundation wall. These foundation walls are often disguised by a decorative brick veneer wall. When a brick mason constructs a brick veneer wall, they often use gloved hands to place bricks to make this decorative brick veneer wall. Since the brick masons’ fingers need room to stack the bricks, a small gap is created between the foundation wall and the brick veneer wall. 

The gap that is created by the brick mason is approximately an inch deep, this is known as the fingerspace. This fingerspace normally runs around an entire home, and groundwater oftentimes causes debris and dirt to get into the area and is known as a fingerspace leak. A decorative brick veneer wall itself does not have a waterproof seal, as it is impossible to waterproof a brick veneer wall. Since it is impossible to waterproof a brick veneer wall, groundwater can get into the fingerspace area creating a brick veneer basement leak.

When it rains, water will make its way to the lowest point of your home: the basement or crawl space. This is due to gravity and over time the land around your home will change due to water going downhill. This means your basement’s concrete foundation wall will become a wood frame wall because the grade outside is where your daylight wall forms.                                                                                                                                                    

What is a Basement Daylight Wall?

A daylight wall simply means a basement wall that isn’t underground. It doesn’t need to be constructed from concrete block, or be a poured foundation. It can be constructed from wood framing. Since Georgia has many ridges and valleys that vary in height, a lot of build sites end up having to add in soil that is well compacted. Since the ground is normally lower than the basement floor in Georgia, it is typical to see homes with a daylight basement wall having doors and windows. In Georgia, contractors often have to dig into the side of a hill to put in a basement rather than digging a hole to put a basement in.

Decorative brick walls are oftentimes continuous. However, when the concrete block foundation wall or the poured concrete foundation wall transitions into a wood frame for the daylight wall, there is a chance water will seep or get trapped between the foundation wall and the brick veneer. This place where the water gets trapped is the fingerspace and the water has nowhere to go aside from the basement or crawl space. 

How to Identify a Fingerspace Leak Yourself

If you have an unfinished basement, you might see a leak at the intersection of the wood frame and the end of the foundation wall. If you have a finished basement, most of the time a contractor will build a framed wall which then has sheetrock put over it and is next to the foundation wall. These contractors will also put sheetrock on the framing of the original daylight wall, which creates a ‘bump out’ or L-shape which is easily identifiable. 

When a fingerspace leak occurs, the carpet might be wet near this bump-out in a finished basement, and the concrete floor might be wet and muddy near the bump-out in an unfinished basement. If you have leaking where the footing meets the foundation wall, the water that is leaking would most likely be clean and clear due to it going through layers of poured concrete walls. However, fingerspace leaks are normally an orange tint in Georgia due to red clay being washed inside the basement directly from the outside and not going through concrete walls. 

Questions to Identify a Fingerspace Leak in Your Home

  • Does your home have a brick veneer? If so, and you have leaking, then you might have a fingerspace leak.
  • Is your basement unfinished? If so, look to see if the end of the foundation wall is leaking.
  • Do you have a finished basement? If so, look for the interior bump-out or L-shape and look to see if there is water on the carpet or at the intersection. 

Identifying a fingerspace leak can be a tough job, however our waterproofing contractors are experienced in diagnosing them and fixing them. Call Schmitt Waterproofing today at 404-268-1040, or fill out an online form to set up a free estimate. It’s never too early to address a fingerspace leak. We have a trained team that can help you find the right solution to your waterproofing needs at a great price.

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