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Old 12-25-2009, 09:42 PM   #1
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


I live in a 720SF home built in 1950. Basement is the same size (24’ x 30’). When I bought the home, basement was dry. Paint on floor was not peeling. Within a few months of purchasing the home, yep, water in the basement. House was a foreclosure, so I had no recourse. I bought the house in May of 2006

The basement was sectioned off with wood framing, paneling and Styrofoam behind the paneling. Some walls were not covered at all. Frost line cracks were evident. One wall was so bowed in that I got it repaired for free (or else I wouldn’t have bought it). Needless to say, I bought a dumper of a house, but I’ve turned it around and it’s quite nice now.

Basement is fully below ground and we have no sump pump. Just walls and a hole (drain) in one room. We live in Eastern Iowa and have neighbors who have similar issues. We have made sure the gutters are routing water away from the house and have graded the land, but it sunk and didn’t work anyhow.

The water comes in several places where the concrete block meets the floor. When we get a good rain, 12+ hours later I have several tributaries running all across my floor. Fortunately 1) they kind-of run towards the drain in my laundry room and 2) the water is no more than ¼” high – just little streams.

I got used to the wet basement. When it rained, I just let it go. The basement was only used for storage and laundry. It was musty and I knew there was mold. I ran a dehumidifier most of the year.

Late last summer I was downstairs and wondered how easily the paneling could be removed. Water sat up against the wood framing when it rained and it had been rotting for several years. I took a pry bar to the paneling and a few months later, we had the entire basement cleared of wood, paneling, framing, Styrofoam, old never-completed previous drainage attempt (Beaverboard?) – everything. We cleared it down to the bare walls and support beams.

Pics of the entire process can be found here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/callisto3/Basement2009#

My friend and I then cleaned the walls with OxyClean and bleach, hosed them off, scraped off all loose paint and patched all the holes with hydraulic cement. At the time, I didn’t know where the water was coming from, but I knew it wasn’t the holes in the wall 5’ up from the floor. Yes, someone had nailed wood framing into the concrete block walls! LOL After that, I painted the entire basement walls with UGL Drylok Extreme Latex-Based Masonry Waterproofer– three coats. Most of the walls already had paint on them, but we did scrape off as much as we could before we did the hydraulic cement. I know that Drylok won’t work over old paint, but I knew water was not coming through the old paint.

I left about 4-5” of wall unpainted towards the bottom where the wall met the floor. After we did all the cement work and we had our fist good rain, I knew for sure this is where the water was coming in.

Before it got really cold, I put hydraulic cement along about ¼ of the basement where the floor met the wall. I painted it with Drylok. I wanted to see if I could prevent the water from coming in, but didn’t want to do the whole basement in case that method didn’t work. I put the cement down about ¼” thick.

We had a pretty good rain here yesterday and the basement got water. The area I covered with hydraulic cement where the floor met the wall didn’t get any water except by the end of the stairs – which is one of the worst areas in the whole basement. I can’t tell where it’s coming in, but we have quite the pool at the end of the stairs.

So, firstly, very sorry for the long post! I felt this info was all necessary in order to get advice from anyone who might want to help. Secondly, I don’t know where to go from here. Am I foolish in thinking I can tackle this problem on my own? Will hydraulic cement stop the tiny amount of water from coming in? Is that a reasonable solution for me or do I need to call in the pros at this point?

I’ve read everything there is to read on basement waterproofing. I know all about hydrostatic pressure, French drains, interior systems, negative-side waterproofing (which is what I’m doing), sump pumps, grading, drain spouts. What I HAVEN’T read are many success stories. Everyone has a water problem, but no one seems to have posted what works. I’ve seen debate after debate about interior waterproofing vs. exterior waterproofing. Both points of view make sense to me; “there’s no way you can stop water from building pressure against your house so invite it in and route it away” vs. "you have to prevent water from coming in in the first place; negative-side (interior) waterproofing will not work long-term”.

I’m fried.

I am now seeing the potential in this 720SF space and it would be a lot cheaper to finish the basement then add a room onto our house (we really could use the extra space). If I go the professional waterproofing route, I want it done once and done right. I have a history of home improvement problems with handymen, professionals and just about anyone who enters this house. I’m picky and I expect near perfection when I’m shelling out 100s upon 1000s of dollars.

Any advice anyone can offer me would be greatly appreciated. If you take a look at the pics I’ve posted, you can see what I’m dealing with. I feel like I’m close, but I’m at a point now where I don’t know where to do.

Thanks in advance. I appreciate any input anyone has to offer.


Last edited by callisto9; 12-25-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 12-26-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


So you know that fixing it from the outside is the best solution. And you know that you do not want to spend that kind of money. Only solution is the interior perimeter drain system. Be sure to use dual pumps with an alarm. Get a good warranty. Many companies specialize in this work and it will only take one to two days.

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Old 12-26-2009, 07:58 AM   #3
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


as with any company you have to be careful, but there are companies that do crack repair, water proofing of basements. I dont' think my brother in law will travel that far but epoxy injection is used for this type work. I'd contact a few contractors and get some bids, at least you would know your options. In theory when you apply the hydrualic cement, you are only covering the surface, the water is putting too much pressure on the backside of it to hold back., And if you succeed in closing one crack, the water, still being there, will find the next open crack.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:15 AM   #4
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


anyone who'd suggest epoxy on a block fnd is nutz OR selling epoxies.

either an exterior full perimeter toe drain running to daylight OR interior system - either will probably need pumps.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


If completely empty of stuff, now is the time to put in a perimeter drain system, and a sump well. That is the only way to get rid of the water, besides digging up around the outside of the foundation, and bring up to date with a outside drain system, and waterproofing the outside of the blocks. This is something that I would like to do with my home, but to have someone do it, it is anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. To do myself, around $2,000.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:43 AM   #6
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


Just wondering if any of you have installed/have any of these systems. I'd like to know if someone has something and it's working.

The water that comes in really isn't that much. Little streams everywhere. It comes in so slowly that I cannot even really find where it's coming in.

The only "systems" that appeal to me are these:

http://www.basementsystems.com/basem...s/drytrak.html

or:

http://www.basementsystems.com/basem...aterguard.html

But both involve letting water IN to my basement (which isn't really waterPROOFing). Since I don't get much water, won't it just sit there in the trench and mold? What's going to move it out of the little trench area?
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:47 AM   #7
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


I got a quote on this system:
http://www.basementsystems.com/basem...aterguard.html

And it was about $5,000 with a triple backup sump. Remember, I have a very small basement.

However, I'm still wondering this: won't the water get below that trench and sit in the gravel? I'm just not keen on the idea of drilling weep holes into the cement to let in more water. That water that comes in contains dirt, so over time, won't I get dirt in this system?

I don't mind spending $5000 on this system, but it has to be perfect.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


So here's my question.

Picture A: What is to stop the water from getting UNDER the WaterGuard and sitting there in the rocks? Won't it just sit there and mold? Stagnant water?

Picture B: Again, how does water not get UNDER the WaterGuard?

I think the company in my area does these installs like picture A; the WaterGuard sets on top of gravel.

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 12-26-2009, 04:50 PM   #9
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


to clarify, I"m not "completely" nuts, maybe partial, but anyway, sorry I missed the important part about being block foundation, it was a long post and my attention span isn't like it used to be
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:22 PM   #10
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


Yes, it was a VERY long post. I'm very thorough.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:35 AM   #11
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


Yeah well, no-one said these are the best ways to deal with water runoff. For 'perfection', someone has already said it has to be attacked from the outside, if that's possible.
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:12 PM   #12
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


Anyone in here have/install any kind of system inside of out? I'd really love to hear from some people who actually have either 1) done the work or 2) do the work for others.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:25 AM   #13
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


Hi Callisto

It is so nice to find a customer like you, that actually does his/her homework and ask all the right questions!
I am not sure when you scheduled your quote with the local Basement Systems dealer, but you should be receiving the Dry Basement Science book which would help you understand a bit more about the products and how they work. If you didn’t get it, please call the dealer and ask for your copy.

That said, I will try to address your questions to the best of my abilities.

First of all, let me clarify that the DryTrak system you mentioned is designed exclusively for monolithic foundations, and as we can see in the picture, it is clearly not the case here. So, the best system for you would be the WaterGuard.

Q- “there’s no way you can stop water from building pressure against your house so invite it in and route it away”

A- That information is a bit mixed. What we do say is that there’s no sure way to stop water from getting through the foundation by trying to fix it from the outside. What happens if the water is under the floor to begin with? It is incorrect to assume that the WaterGuard system simply invites the water in and then diverts it away. The WaterGuard intercepts and collects ground water, considerably relieving the hydrostatic pressure which pushes the water against the basement walls, exactly to stop most of it from coming in, in the first place. It also intercepts and collects any moisture infiltrating the walls due to capillary action as well as water sprung from leaks in exceptionally rainy season. But most importantly, it collects water springing from under the slab as well.
Another thing to consider and many homeowners forget: basement water problems come from more than just ground water seepage. Components of the WaterGuard System also deal with basement floods than can happen due to plumbing leaks, leaky water heater tanks and washing machine hoses and similar accidents. Water will have a way out of the basement, no matter where it is coming from.

Q- “Picture A: What is to stop the water from getting UNDER the WaterGuard and sitting there in the rocks? Won't it just sit there and mold? Stagnant water?”

A - The WaterGuard is indeed installed like in the picture A, on top of a bed of gravel. The water is leaking in one of 2 ways: Through the floor/wall joint or pushing up right from under the floor itself. The WaterGuard is made to sit on top of the footing and NOT down in the dirt where it is sure to clog. If water rises under the house it will go into the WaterGuard system and sump system. More likely, if it is coming in through the wall/floor joint, then yes the footing under the WaterGuard can be wet…but it is already! If you dug a hole under your house, you would find damp and wet dirt & stone. This is fine. The earth is wet and that is good! There is nothing to become mildewed under the floor. Mold will not grow on the WaterGuard because it is entirely plastic. In addition let me remind you that the Sump Pump tied to the system is also located in the low spot of the basement floor, and for a good reason – so everything drains to the sump!


Q- “That water that comes in contains dirt, so over time, won't I get dirt in this system?”

A- Consider this: How dirty is your basement floor after the water comes in? A slight amount of dirt may come onto your floor when the wall/floor joint leaks, and as long as it’s not clay or iron ochre, (which will be red or orange) will flow right through the WaterGuard and not clog. (We have a special system for the iron ochre scenario). If for some reason there are large amounts of dirt getting in, it is in fact the only sub floor drainage system that includes ports in which the channel can be flushed, inspected or used to drain a dehumidifier into! Watch out for contractors who say their system is “self-flushing”. Also, when you install a WaterGuard, periodic maintenance is scheduled to make sure the system remains functional for the life of the structure.


“If I go the professional waterproofing route, I want it done once and done right. I have a history of home improvement problems with handymen, professionals and just about anyone who enters this house. I’m picky and I expect near perfection when I’m shelling out 100s upon 1000s of dollars.”

I’ve learned this in psychology class but it applies to everything in life, especially business: The best predictor of future performance is past performance. So here’s something for you to consider:

WaterGuard is a patented, award-winning system, developed by the world’s largest and most reputable waterproofing company, with over two decades of success in the waterproofing business and spotless service record.

The company’s HQ in CT is the only in the State to win 3 times the Prestigious BBB Torch Award for Excellence in Workplace Ethics!

The WaterGuard System carries a Transferable Lifetime Warranty backed up by a company that has been in business long enough to ensure its customers it will be there for years to come to honor the Warranty.

But don’t take our word for it. Please check your local dealer’s reputation with the BBB, look for online reviews, and ask them for references. They will be more than happy to send them to you. And by all means, check them all out.

All of us in the network take pride in the quality of service we offer and the products we install.

I hope I answered all your questions and if I did not, feel free to ask some more, or contact the local dealer as I know they too will be happy to answer all your questions.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:52 AM   #14
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


First, let me thank you SO MUCH for answering my questions. It helps me out immensely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyFree View Post
Hi Callisto
I am not sure when you scheduled your quote with the local Basement Systems dealer, but you should be receiving the Dry Basement Science book which would help you understand a bit more about the products and how they work. If you didn’t get it, please call the dealer and ask for your copy.
I did indeed get all those materials when someone came out. However, it's been about two years, so I'm not sure I still have it. I've poured over the website, so I'm mostly familiar with the available systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyFree View Post
Q- “there’s no way you can stop water from building pressure against your house so invite it in and route it away”

A- That information is a bit mixed. What we do say is that there’s no sure way to stop water from getting through the foundation by trying to fix it from the outside. What happens if the water is under the floor to begin with? It is incorrect to assume that the WaterGuard system simply invites the water in and then diverts it away. The WaterGuard intercepts and collects ground water, considerably relieving the hydrostatic pressure which pushes the water against the basement walls, exactly to stop most of it from coming in, in the first place. It also intercepts and collects any moisture infiltrating the walls due to capillary action as well as water sprung from leaks in exceptionally rainy season. But most importantly, it collects water springing from under the slab as well.
Does Basement Systems drill "weep holes" into the block foundation when installing the WaterGuard system? That's what I meant by "inviting water in".

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyFree View Post
Q- “Picture A: What is to stop the water from getting UNDER the WaterGuard and sitting there in the rocks? Won't it just sit there and mold? Stagnant water?”

A - <snip> Mold will not grow on the WaterGuard because it is entirely plastic. In addition let me remind you that the Sump Pump tied to the system is also located in the low spot of the basement floor, and for a good reason – so everything drains to the sump!
I have so little water that comes in, if that water sits there stagnant UNDER the WaterGuard, that's where I wonder if it will mold/smell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyFree View Post
Q- “That water that comes in contains dirt, so over time, won't I get dirt in this system?”

A- Consider this: How dirty is your basement floor after the water comes in? A slight amount of dirt may come onto your floor when the wall/floor joint leaks, and as long as it’s not clay or iron ochre, (which will be red or orange) will flow right through the WaterGuard and not clog. (We have a special system for the iron ochre scenario). If for some reason there are large amounts of dirt getting in, it is in fact the only sub floor drainage system that includes ports in which the channel can be flushed, inspected or used to drain a dehumidifier into! Watch out for contractors who say their system is “self-flushing”. Also, when you install a WaterGuard, periodic maintenance is scheduled to make sure the system remains functional for the life of the structure.
This makes sense. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyFree View Post
But don’t take our word for it. Please check your local dealer’s reputation with the BBB, look for online reviews, and ask them for references. They will be more than happy to send them to you. And by all means, check them all out.

All of us in the network take pride in the quality of service we offer and the products we install.

I hope I answered all your questions and if I did not, feel free to ask some more, or contact the local dealer as I know they too will be happy to answer all your questions.
Thank you, again, for coming in and providing answers. I get suspicious when people get defensive or angry when I ask questions and you did neither. I've read A LOT about basement waterproofing online and so many people get angry, yell, attack the other person and just belittle anyone asking questions. I can tell you work for a Basement Systems dealer and it's nice to see someone helpful and professional. I can have all the faith in the world in a product, but if there is no customer service to back up the company, I have a hard time investing in that company.

So far, I've talked to two people who have the system installed (and have had it for 3+ years) and are very happy. I'm looking to get 5 people who are satisfied and then I'll call for another quote. I always trust actual customers over the company. They are the ones who live with the work performed every day.

Thanks again. I appreciate it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:31 AM   #15
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At a crossroads in my basement project - waterproofing help needed


Q - Does Basement Systems drill "weep holes" into the block foundation when installing the WaterGuard system? That's what I meant by "inviting water in".

A - Yes, we do drill wep holes in block foundations because the water tends to be trapped inside the hollow blocks. I guess we can pretty much say in that case that we water is already in, slowly seeping through and the weeping holes are meant to let it out.

Q - I have so little water that comes in, if that water sits there stagnant UNDER the WaterGuard, that's where I wonder if it will mold/smell.

That is why we install the sump pump in the lowest corner of the basement, and before we lay the drain tiles we test to see if all the water that gets in the trench will be able to run into the sump to minimize the chances of that ever happening.

So far, I've talked to two people who have the system installed (and have had it for 3+ years) and are very happy.

Our local dealer will be happy to give you references of their own and we invite you to contact them all.

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