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Old 06-16-2008, 12:47 PM   #1
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Basement Waterproofing


So, about a year ago we had a consultant come in a look at our wet basement and give an estimate. His approach was what I call an interior french drain and sump pump. Basically, 4" perforated PVC pipe layed in stone, under the slab, near the inside perimeter of the wall. He would actually lay the pipe around such obstacles as the oil tanks, washing machine, hot water heaters, etc. Price was about $7000.
We did not take it.

Saturday, we had another guy come in. Same deal, guarantee the basement for XX years, etc. His was the same design, but he would stick to the perimeter of the wall, so we would have to remove the tanks, heaters, washing machine, etc. His price....$12600!!!

Now, both quys started to preach about excessive ground water, high pressure, etc... Well, here are the knowns. We have 3 leaks that are known:
1. small leak, that is directly behind the sump pump, and flows directly into the sump.
2. 1 leak in the bottom course of block wall, directly behind an oil tank.
3. 1 leak in the bottom course of block wall, directly behind another oil tank.

The two leaks behind the tanks are the problem. THe floor is not level there, and the water pools, then flows across the floor to the other side of the house and eventually makes it to the sump. Problem is that the P.O. had taken a hammer and chisel and chisled out a trench between the floor/wall joint around 1/2 of the basment, trying to get the water to flow to the sump. Unfortunately, the method was crude and now there is a scalloped trench. So if there is a lot of water coming in, the trench will fill and flow, but once the level goes down, the flow stops and the water sits in these scallops and will stay there until I vacuum it out, or it evaporates....Now, there is only water after a rain. So, it rained last night for awhile, there will be some water down there when I get home. If we have no rain for 2 weeks, the basement will be bone dry.

I believe that the water is coming from the surface and that if it was what these two guys are saying, then I would have water all the time.

My plan:
-Pull out my two oil tanks (I am changing the heating system to gas), repair the wall at the two leaks, then see what happens. If the water just comes in at another location, then I will go the more expensive route.

Thoughts?

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Old 06-16-2008, 01:26 PM   #2
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Basement Waterproofing


if it just in certain areas but only when it rains that would indicate a problem outside like spouts draining toward the house or maybe the way your land is sloped ( so water flows toward your house instead of away.If you just fix the inside leeks but don't address the real problem then it will just return.It might mean digging around your basement and putting in a French drain to help keep the rain water away from the basement and then sealing from both the outside and in,I could be wrong here but it just sounds like the problem may be outside rather then inside but I am no expert on these matters

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Old 06-16-2008, 01:44 PM   #3
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our basement leaks alot during moderate/heavy rain. We have been looking at several alternatives including jacking up the house and replacing the basement. Before we do anything expensive we plan to try "ask the builder" Tim Carter's simple/inexpensive idea of trenching outside the foundation. ie stopping the water BEFORE it even comes close to the home. here's the link to his article on how to do it: http://www.askthebuilder.com/721_Trench_Drain.shtml
I am not sure when we will be doing this but when it's done I'll post whether it worked or not. I dont know if this is something you can do but I would check out all options.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:17 PM   #4
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Years ago, I lived in Central Pennsylvania in a split level house. The kitchen, dining room, bathroom, etc. were all 30" below grade. We had a farmers field behind the house and it was pitched towards the house. We had a monstrous rain, over about a week, and had about 6" of water in the basement (fortuantely the boiler was in the garage.). We had a major issue though. The water in the field/yard backed up our septic tank, which in turn backed up into our house. I put a check valve on the tank outlet. That took care of teh backup problem. Then a got a shovel, some stone and some 4" corrugated, perforated pipe and dug/installed a trench drain across the back of the lot, then down between us and our neighbors, finally exiting out to the street. It took me about 2 months to do by hand, but I neber had water problems in the basement again..

Sadly, I can not do that at my current house. But, I do believe the problem does lie in the grad against the house, and the few leaks in the basement. Then again, fingers are crossed!
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:01 PM   #5
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Basement Waterproofing


Javan - You really need to address this outside first.

Imagine this - You have water dripping through the ceiling in the middle of your bedroom. The 'expert' proposes a 'fix' of collecting that water and pumping it outside. Sounds dumb huh? Ok, you say fix the leak. The roofer comes out and starts tacking up shingles and tar paper and sealant INSIDE your attic! Dumb right?

Think of this issue like my ridiculous scenario. Keep the water away from the outside. Make sure the grade slopes away, the downspouts extend out 4' or more, the gutters are not clogged. These don't cost anything to do. Do them and then report back after the next big rain. There is more that can be done outside but this will fix most issues.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:13 PM   #6
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Maybe I am missing something here.Is there a reson you cant fix the outside problem I mean if you know that is what is causing your problem then you either have a reason not to fix it or..............I dont know because putting a patch on the inside when you know the problem is outside is not doing much good at all
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:37 PM   #7
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No problems in fixing the outside, other than time. The water has been a nuisance, but nothing more until now. We are expecting a child and when he/she comes along, I will not have the time to devote to fixing this problem. Additionally, I have other projects ongoing with the inside of the house that are requiring my attention. Lastly, in order to fix the inside problem (there are actual leaks, where you can see water trickling in), I have to move two oil tanks. I will do this work regardless of what happens outside. The outside repair work will go quickly, but I will do it all at the same time. Like everything in life, it all takes time. My plan is do this in July.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:56 PM   #8
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ok, sorry for the assumtion that you were not going to fix what you knew was the problem
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:28 PM   #9
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Again, the problem is two-fold:
1. There is water coming towards the house
2. There are holes in the wall where it gets in.

I just need more hours in the day, more days in the week, more weeks in the year....and it goes on and on and on!
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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trust me I know the feeling.I drive truck long haul and I am also completely renovating our house those two don't make a good combo anyway you look at it
Oh and by the way congrats on the expected little one
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:50 PM   #11
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I feel your pain. We just had a baby 2 months ago and are trying to tackle the non-stop problems with our house. Well, good luck no matter what you decide!
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:04 PM   #12
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thanks all! I will post more about this great project as it develops. Now I need to return my focus to the crown molding I am installing.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:05 PM   #13
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when your done come do mine please
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:01 AM   #14
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there's a chance that catch trenches'll help w/surface water but that sub-surface water's had lots of time to form underground streams,,, 4 basic rules to remember: 1, water runs downhill; 2, rushes to fill a void; 3, seeks its own level; & 4, winds up in basements,,, notwithstanding both pitched the same solution doesn't make it necessarily the best,,, personally i'd look to exterior solution 1st as that work should be done in any event.

hydraulic cement'll only force the wtr to look for other spots of ingress.
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:25 AM   #15
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I agree totally!

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