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Old 07-11-2008, 03:40 PM   #1
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I've got a home with a dirt floor basement 4 feet down from grade in the front 3 quarters, (Ontario cottage built in the 1870's). The back quarter of the basement was dug down deeper, (7 feet below grade), to accomadate a furnace and various newer lines brought into the home. A very large addition was added onto the back of the home in 1995. A basement was included on this addition and it was dug down very deep, (9 foot ceilings). This basement was finished as a family room and it has since flooded twice. This flooding was not due to seepage or any kind of problem with the foundation but came once from the drain in the old portion of the house due to clogged lines and then from the sup-pump from the new basement.

My question is this: I want to do a good re - reno on this space and am worried that 1. the lines could clog again in the old house and spill over into the new basement and, 2. the sup-pump could fail during the 4 months of peramnent activation it endures from February to May and flood the space. Currently the walls of the basement have got wood studs that go to the floor and between them bats of insulation that I think have wicked up some moisture, (the whole space smells damp). The drywall may have some rot too.

I want to correct the problem but also make it such that any potential catastophy can be avoided, (i.e. should the basement flood, how can I minimize damage).

I have thought about carrying the slate floor, ( planning to install), up the wall as a baseboard of sorts to contain water should it flood again.

Any suggestions?


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Old 07-11-2008, 07:11 PM   #2
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I'd come at this from the angle of prevention of flooding. You can use materials that are resistant to water, but you can't build a space that won't require a lot of repair should it flood.

First, the plumbing. I gather from your post that some sort of plumbing backup caused a flood in this area. Do you have any access to the pipes that backed up? Or, do you have access to the pipe (or pipes) that drain the fixture(s) where the flooding originated? If so, a backflow prevention device can be installed to prevent a sewer backup from coming back through those basement-level fixtures. In new installations, backflow protection is a requirement if the basement fixtures are located at a lower elevation than the upstream sewer manhole. Even if they aren't that low, backflow devices are a good insurance measure. Depending on the type of drain system, they install in-line.

As for the sump pump, buy a good one. For added piece of mind, why not install a second pump and discharge pipe in the pit as a backup? Set the float high enough that it won't run unless and until the other one either fails to kick on or fails to keep up with rising water in the pit. There are also battery backups to ensure that your pump still runs during a power outage. Also, keep the pit clean....Muck the silt out of the pit from time to time to make sure that all you're pumping is water and so the silt doesn't impede the pump of float's function.

Get a dehumidifier running to get the basement dried out and keep using it as needed.

Slate tile could be used as base as opposed to wood. It would tolerate the clean-up of a flood a little better. The problem is that the sheetrock on the walls and the studs won't recover from standing water nearly as well. The studs will dry out, but may mold. The insulation will mold. The sheetrock would require replacement. So, a tile base is probably not worth doing, as it won't prevent many problems.


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