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trekkiejt 03-10-2013 07:23 PM

Basement seepage.
I have water streaming into my basement drain. It might have something to do with the two feet of snow melted by the inch of rain and 50+ degree temps the last several days. It is coming up through the seams in the floor. It's poured in 8 pads with a hairline seam between them. I'd like to finish this space so how would I go about sealing these seams? They are pretty tight--I can get a piece of paper into some of them but not a sewing needle. The house was built in 1957. The only other time I've seen water down there was a month a couple years ago when we had 7 inches of rain. Yesterday it was half the seams, today it is 3/4 of them.

joecaption 03-10-2013 07:56 PM

Trying to seal the seams will do nothing.
Need to have working gutters with lines ran away from the house.
Grade needs to run away from the house.
No mulch piled up againt the foundation.
No flower beds forming ponds to hold water,
Should be a sump pump in the basement.

trekkiejt 03-10-2013 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by joecaption
Trying to seal the seams will do nothing.
Need to have working gutters with lines ran away from the house.
Grade needs to run away from the house.
No mulch piled up againt the foundation.
No flower beds forming ponds to hold water,
Should be a sump pump in the basement.

Ok. I checked the gutters last fall when I cleaned them out and they are stable and situated with the center directly under the eves. How far do the drains need to go? I have three; one runs 10 feet, another 8 feet and shortest one is 6 feet from the house all leading to lower grade than is next to the house. The 6 foot one is the only one above ground. There is a flower bed along one side but that is the highest part around the house and the only side without any seepage happening. The only mulch is around a couple trees in the front yard so no problem there. Not sure how a sump pump would help, all the water is draining into the floor drain without it backing up. There is a shower, dehumidifier, and HVAC system that drain into there on a regular basis as well as when I empty the water heater and that drain has never over-flowed. How can this be improved to prevent the seepage? Even the sidewalk bubbles when you step on it out front of the house.

joecaption 03-10-2013 10:18 PM

Can you post a picture of the front and back of the house when it's light out?
A sump pump pumbs out the water under slab.
Without pictures where all going to be guessing.
Something as simple as no one waterproof the outside of the foundation before back filling, no drain tiles (french drain) can cause this.

trekkiejt 03-10-2013 10:45 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Interesting, I thought a sump pump was to pump water out of the basement after it was inside. The only times I've seen one used in a house was in high water table areas when the water flowed in everyday and was channeled along the walls to a pit for it. Here's a couple pictures I had on hand.

Fix'n it 03-10-2013 10:47 PM

my back yard grades toward the house slightly. the ground is frozen. it has been raining all day and last night. = water in basement.

stadry 03-11-2013 06:02 AM

pay attn to joe's advice,,, YES, there IS wtr in your very fine home,,, ALL around your very fine home's bsmt walls IF wtr's coming up thru floor jnts,,, think of your very fine home's bsmt as a ship's hull below the wtrline & its then easier to understand.

the solution's probably very simple - a full perimeter sub-floor drainage system leading to a sump in which is located a m-53 zoeller automatic discharge pump,,, normally over 100' of system, 2 pumps are suggested + battery backup pumps altho i'd think seriously about wtr-power'd pumps, too.

this system may also require lateral sub-floor collection pipes tied into the perimeter system - just depends on how much wtr.

this may all sound like extensive work & it may well be to some,,, otoh, what's the cost of excavating your very fine home's full perimeter, wtrproofing the walls correctly, installing a proper toe drain, & exterior pumps unless you're lucky & have some drainage running to daylight ?

to sum up, you do have a wtr problem but are either in denial OR unwilling to face the issue,,, in fairness, applicable bldg codes do not require any wtrproofing - that black stuff you see is only for dampproofing rqmts.

there are some injectable hydrophyllic polyurethanes that could stop the current leaks however ( remember the ship's hull thingie ? ), nothing's permanent &, eventually, you'll still have wtr in your very fine home's bsmt,,, this is probably why some of the guys think doing it right the 1st time is always better,,, since we ' wtrproof ' bsmts, we naturally don't concur :-)

trekkiejt 03-11-2013 06:19 AM

That's pretty hard to read man. It's kinda like reading Nietzsche without the good stuff. I don't know what the black stuff is or a toe drain, I'm a new DIYer. I don't believe I'm in denial, I'm here after all and asking for some help. I don't think I'll be doing any of that stuff in the last post. Not to dismiss your post or anything but only three times in eleven years has water seeped through those seams and this is the first time it was enough to flow. That is overkill man. That's an incredible amount of effort and a bank full of money for a once in a decade event that at worst would wet some carpet or stain some baseboards. I can see that level of work done if I lived below sea level but I'm on a bluff a hundred feet above the nearest river's flood level.

Never thought of a house as a boat, though. The other way around--yes.

I was thinking there'd be some thin cement or something I could insert with pressure into those seams to bond the concrete together. Maybe something I saw in a home improvement show years ago or heard about.

stadry 03-11-2013 06:24 AM

think of it as a ' white man's eboniks ' !,,, you thought ' It'll like Nitche. ' made any sense to most of us ? ? ? :laughing:

trekkiejt 03-11-2013 06:49 AM

Please, tell me about these hydrophilic polyurethanes. Wouldn't a hydrophobic polyurethane be better since it doesn't like water?

stadry 03-11-2013 06:57 AM

hydrophilic polyurethanes will still swell as more wtr continues seeping down thru the soils - hydrophobic 'thanes don't - all part of our hands-on experience

AllanJ 03-11-2013 07:05 AM

Water collecting against the foundation outside is bad news.

I would not rely on caulks and sealants to protect against basement flooding. Temperature expansion and contraction, and settling, can crack the material or make more cracks in the floor to let water up.

Yes you need to address the water table issue even though the water table is expected to rise above basement floor level only once every fifty years.

Where is your basement floor drain piped to? Unless it goes downhill to reach the surface somewhere downhill or to a system such as a street storm drain system it is possible for it to fill up and overflow onto the floor.

If at worst it wets some carpet once every ten years that is quite bad. Wet carpet gets moldy mighty fast.

A sump pump all by itself will protect the basement floor within about a five foot radius from it. Maybe more if the soil under the slab is very porous, such as being gravel. You need the subsurface perforated pipe perimeter drain system to bring water from under other parts of the basement to the sump pump. If the floor is a little higher in the middle and a little lower around the full perimeter, the floor perimeter collecting the water and letting it dump into a pit with a sump pump is a degenerate form of French drain.

stadry 03-11-2013 08:48 AM

ok, s'more in-depth explanation's necessary,,, ' temperature expansion and contraction ' is nil as below-grade ambient temp rarely changes - usually 65 - 67* F,,, settling can cause mtl to crk but its unlikely more crks will appear UNLESS the conc is below spec ( whatever that is/was ),,, this isn't a high wtr table issue as we've wtrproof'd bsmts on top of hills while some nears lakes/ponds are dry.

sump pumps ONLY will likely create a condition known as ' scour ' - its usually associated w/bridges by which fines are flush'd out of the base soils,,, that's 1 of the reasons good contractors place conc floors on compacted granular base mtl,,, ' french drain ' has morph'd from how the paving stones @ versaille palace were placed,,, every 20m or so, the rows were tilted to form channels,,, those channels directed rains down to the left side of the main courtyard & flow'd under the hall of mirrors thereby feeding the reflecting pools in the gardens,,, over the yrs, ' french drain ' has become the-pipe-under-the-floor thingie to most h/o's & many contractors.

when all's said & done, its still your home,,, ps - this info is bas'd on 35yrs+ of bsmt wtrproofing :yes:

trekkiejt 03-11-2013 11:56 AM

That's a lot of information. The basement floor drain is connected to the city sewer system. As for what is under the concrete or dirt I have no idea. There may be extra drains there but I doubt it. Installing carpet down there isn't necessary, I could just use area rugs instead.

Is there an inexpensive fix (even a temporary one) that I could do as a DIYer? I could probable dedicate a few hundred dollars a year to this.

cleveman 03-11-2013 09:53 PM

Can you really get water to squirt out of the ground when you walk on the sidewalk?

That is really something.

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