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Old 05-30-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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Crack Between Basement Slab and Foundation


Here is my issue... Central NJ, we had about a week of steady rain. Noticed wet floors in partially finished basement (non-finished areas are bone dry).

Had gutters that were clogged terribly and running along foundation where water was found in basement. Water was also settling near expansion joint in driveway, where it meets my foundation wall. The joint had basically erroded, so I used a closed cell backer rod, epoxy and sealed the joint completely.

I cut back some of the drywall in the corner of my basement where water was present. Have been shop-vac'ing the space (in what appears to be a floating slab) between my concrete blocks and slab for over a week. The cut portion around my slab looks to be about 6 inches deep... I can actually see the water coming in from what looks to be a cracked chunk of concrete. I've thought about using a hydraulic cement to patch the spot, but I'm assuming this will just force the water to another section of degrading block, etc.

Biggest question mark now is: where is all this water coming from? We havent had rain in a week. I've emptied at least 70-80 gallons of water from this section of floor/wall. No exaggeration, the trips from my basement to garage to empty a filled 10-gallon shop-vac. I'm thinking water has entered and filled many course of my block foundation or a pipe is busted underground somehow. I know the water-table is high in my area, but with only one corner of my basement getting wet I would assume this isn't the answer.

Thoughts, ideas?

Not sure if we can post pictures here, but will do if possible. Just bought the house in November, what a friggin nightmare!


Last edited by cweb2ny; 05-31-2011 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:52 AM   #2
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Crack Between Basement Slab and Foundation


Coming from ground water. You really need a French drain and inside weeping tile if you can't do it from the outside to get the water out. Worst case scenario because you are in NJ, you can look at the possibility of contaminated ground water if there was a chemical or other type of manufacturing facility in your area some time in the past.

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Old 05-31-2011, 10:25 AM   #3
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Coming from ground water. You really need a French drain and inside weeping tile if you can't do it from the outside to get the water out. Worst case scenario because you are in NJ, you can look at the possibility of contaminated ground water if there was a chemical or other type of manufacturing facility in your area some time in the past.
Greg- Luckily there aren't any treatment facilities anywhere near my home, otherwise this would be a serious concern. My only hesitation in thinking it could be ground water, is that the issue is isolated in only one section of my basement. Don't you think I'd see water throughout my basement, if this was the case?

Btw- I have a pit with sump, but there doesn't appear to be pipes ran to it, from under my slab. Those pipes should be run directly to my corrugated and dump into pit, correct? And coming up from the center of my sump-pit is a private well for water (connected to compressor of some kind) that appears to only run lawn sprinklers. My incoming water is city, so I'm guessing this was done after the house was built and I've been told this isn't a "typical" set-up.

The biggest issue I have otherwise is this side of my house has a two-car garage and driveway, which would have to be ripped out in order to dig down that side of the foundation (in order to fix from exterior). The rest of the basement is dry and walls appear to be in very good shape. Unfortunately for me, the most difficult wall to access is the one that has issues. Also- the blocks in this area appear to be chipping/pitting pretty bad. I'm guessing this is due to moisture that's built up over the years...
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:57 AM   #4
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Crack Between Basement Slab and Foundation


If only on one corner, it would be due to downspouts not draining water away from the foundation, and the ground not being sloped properly to keep water from concentrating against the foundation.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:20 AM   #5
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Crack Between Basement Slab and Foundation


cweb -

You are just making assuptions by looking at the area where the water shows up now.. Plug that, and it will show up elsewhere if it is ground water. Water is probably every where under the slab, but it just shows up at the easiest place to get out.

Typically a basement slab is poured on top of the strip footings. The bond between the block and the footing is far better than the joint between the wall and slab or between the slab and footing. As the slab shrinks, it creates a joint between the wall and slab, which is better than shrinkage cracks in the floor where water can come up.

If you are close to the water table (normal or "perched"), there will be water below and it is far better to collect and control than chase leaks and fight Mother Nature.

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:41 AM   #6
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If only on one corner, it would be due to downspouts not draining water away from the foundation, and the ground not being sloped properly to keep water from concentrating against the foundation.
That's what a friend of the family had told me... My downspouts were clogged, during a huge week-long storm. Since we moved in around November, I honestly didn't even look at the gutters. The previous owners were elderly and based on the build-up, hadn't been cleaned in years.

Really makes me wonder how much water a block-wall can hold... I'm assuming they're hollow, but they could wind up draining for weeks

The corner where a failed attempt at landscaping was performed, is also apparently graded poorly also. It slopes back towards the house, which is just bad business. This is in the corner that's leaking, where my yard meets the driveway and foundation.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:49 AM   #7
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Crack Between Basement Slab and Foundation


Make sure that you clean out the AC unit also. When we finally cleaned out our neighbor's next door, there was about a foot of crud from the maple helicoptors, and locust tree in her backyard. Gutters need cleaned out more than in fall, they really need to be checked and cleaned all year.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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cweb -

You are just making assuptions by looking at the area where the water shows up now.. Plug that, and it will show up elsewhere if it is ground water. Water is probably every where under the slab, but it just shows up at the easiest place to get out.

Typically a basement slab is poured on top of the strip footings. The bond between the block and the footing is far better than the joint between the wall and slab or between the slab and footing. As the slab shrinks, it creates a joint between the wall and slab, which is better than shrinkage cracks in the floor where water can come up.

If you are close to the water table (normal or "perched"), there will be water below and it is far better to collect and control than chase leaks and fight Mother Nature.

Dick
CCM- Thanks for the reponse!

Here is the thousand dollar question: how can i find out if it's truly a build-up of water in my block wall or under the entire slab? I'm going to get some pictures up, since you just made me think of something else...

The wall/floor has some orange staining, which I would assume is iron from ground water. Yet the water coming through right now, is clear as drinking water. And in two places I can see drips from my bottom 2 course of blocks near my slab. I just don't get it....
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:24 PM   #9
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:37 PM   #10
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Here is what the overflowing gutters looked like during a storm last week... This is the corner of the house, where my basement is taking on water.

Again, the joint between my driveway and foundation has since been sealed. Also- I have added 6-ft lengths of that flexible pipe to the ends of my gutters in an attempt to keep water from pooling at my foundation.

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Old 05-31-2011, 12:43 PM   #11
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You really need to get those gutters cleaned out, and the tile they enter flushed. They also may be undersized depending on the amount of rainfall you get in your area. As for that paint in the basement, has it ever been tested for lead. I would start by getting the wood out of there, since it is probably full of mold spores, which is not good for anyones health in the house.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:24 PM   #12
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You really need to get those gutters cleaned out, and the tile they enter flushed. They also may be undersized depending on the amount of rainfall you get in your area. As for that paint in the basement, has it ever been tested for lead. I would start by getting the wood out of there, since it is probably full of mold spores, which is not good for anyones health in the house.

I've cleaned the gutters since that storm and have watched during rain flowing properly, but the damage is already done. I'm in the process of removing all the drywall and 2x4's at the moment...

Regarding the paint- this house was only built in 1985, so it would be a safe bet that the house didn't have a led-based paint, correct? I also found a partially used can of Drylok (that they left behind), so I'll assume once again that the prior home owner had a water issue at some point and used this to cover it up.

For what its worth- they stated the home never had a water issue prior during the home inspection. Lucky me.

How bad of an issue is the pitting on my blocks? Can/should this be repaired? Again, aside from this corner of the house the rest of my blocks look like fresh as can be. They basically will chip off with the touch of a finger and some are as deep as 1/8 inch.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:17 PM   #13
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Pull the home inspection report and get the inspector that did it back in there. That damage has been there a long time, and unless there was covering peeled away to show, you may have a case in court to get the sellers help pay the costs of repair.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:21 PM   #14
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If there were air pockets against the foundation because it was not backfilled properly from day one of construction then considerable water can collect there and find its way into your basement at its leisure.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:05 PM   #15
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Pull the home inspection report and get the inspector that did it back in there. That damage has been there a long time, and unless there was covering peeled away to show, you may have a case in court to get the sellers help pay the costs of repair.
Yup, just called a realtor (who's a friend of the family) and she said the same thing.. Just sent along copies of the sellers disclosure as well, where the seller stated "no" to any prior water, humidity issues.

Sounds like a battle ahead of me, but i'm not just giving up. Especially if it could cost me $5-10k in repairs!

Thanks for the advice, once again!

I'm going to continue hanging around here, to update my story and for future projects. Have a kitchen and bath projects on the horizon, but one thing at a time.

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