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jtp 10-14-2011 02:59 PM

Can't find yellow clay to regrade around my foundation
I have basement leaks and am going down the checklist of things to do to address that. At the top of my list is to regrade around the foundation and a lot of sources I found said yellow clay was great for this. I called several landscape supply yards and no one in my area (Baltimore metro) has ever heard of it.

I read that fill dirt will work but I really want to use the best material as I would eventually like to finish part of the basement and obviously the leaks have to go first.

concretemasonry 10-14-2011 04:05 PM

The color of the clay means nothing since the same clay can be different colors in different area.

If you have a basement that is leaking a little clay on the top of the ground will do little good, since basement leakage comes from water further down and water also travels laterally. The usual cheap and effective solutions are proper gutters, downspouts and long (8'-10') if necessary, or buried downspout extensions with pop-up valves that carry the water well away from the foundation. If the grading of the site is not adequate, you may need draining tile around the footings.

Keep in mind, that when you are in the basement all you might see is where the water is entering and not where the source is. I had a small basement (25'x25') that had water, but the source was about 50' away where another footing and stem wall cut off subsurface drainage and the water just followed the other footings to the lowest point where it finally showed up inside.

Make sure the basement does not leak before you worry about the clay.


jtp 10-14-2011 05:00 PM

I was assuming yellow clay was the name of a soil type. I have no color preference.

I am adding a downspout in one area where the upper roof drains to the lower roof's gutter, as there is visible water spilling from the gutter during heavy rains and the corresponding portion of the basement floor has the worst leak.

I also want to address grading though because the only other spot where there is a leak is not close to the spot where there is poor roof drainage.

Since posting I ran across this and am thinking it may be best since, like you said, water moves laterally once it's underground. Ill still address grading but if I have a French drain running I won't be as concerned about the soil I'm filling in with.

jtp 10-14-2011 05:01 PM

Also, I see what you mean about the difference between the source of the water and where I see it in the basement. Thanks.

jtp 10-14-2011 07:13 PM

One more question, would a sump pump help me out?

The leaking area are on two adjacent walls and within about 30 feet or so of each other. It seems like a pump in that part of the basement might help.

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