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c2g 02-25-2011 09:04 AM

decision point in my exterior basement waterproofing project
 
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I live in half of a 100-yr old stone twin and in December I started finishing the basement. The interior is almost finished and the exterior, after a 2 month delay has been backfilled with dirt. I put in a flagstone patio last summer and that still has to go back, but the contractor is off the job for reasons I won't go into, so now I'm stuck with completing it. What I'm concerned with is how to finish the outside properly.

What was done, as you can see in the December photo at the start of the job, was that a 2-3' trench was dug around the house to the bottom of the foundation, the stone was patched and covered with hydraulic cement, and 2 coats of a black, rubberized coating was applied. The plan was to backfill that and re-lay the flagstone. Finished. Even with the excavation being open for the past few months, I haven't gotten a drop of water in the basement so far.

When I asked my stone mason friend about adding more gravel to my flagstone sublayer this time around, he said I should have backfilled with gravel instead of dirt and put in a french drain. My contractor, however, assured me that this wasn't needed.

Before the contractor left, he put all the dirt back in but didn't tamp it yet. I did the flagstone myself and will finish this myself, but my question is... should I continue with his plan, or remove all of the dirt and go with the french drain system while the dirt is still loose? I'm way over budget the way it is, but aside from the labor, this seems like something I can do at this point if I should do it now while it makes sense. At the front of the house - the lowest point of the slope - there is a sewer line that I could tie into. Any opinions? Is this overkill, or was the contractor's plan not sound for 30 years down the line?

Notes: When I ripped out the concrete driveway over a year ago where the flagstone would go, I got a ton of water. When I put the flagstone in, and paid careful attention to slope it down and away from the house, I didn't get any water last summer/fall, but again, my basement was unfinished at that time. This month, I'm having a roofer go over the gutters to make sure all roof water is being drained away properly. I really want to get this right so that 20 years from now I'm not ripping out hardwood flooring and drywall inside and pulling up my patio again outside.

mem 02-25-2011 11:48 AM

Personally, I would stop now, go back and do it right before I had any more invested in the project. If you're thinking about tying into a sanitary sewer line with your runoff water, I don't believe that is legal.

T-Bar 02-25-2011 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by c2g (Post 597664)
I live in half of a 100-yr old stone twin and in December I started finishing the basement. The interior is almost finished and the exterior, after a 2 month delay has been backfilled with dirt. I put in a flagstone patio last summer and that still has to go back, but the contractor is off the job for reasons I won't go into, so now I'm stuck with completing it. What I'm concerned with is how to finish the outside properly.

What was done, as you can see in the December photo at the start of the job, was that a 2-3' trench was dug around the house to the bottom of the foundation, the stone was patched and covered with hydraulic cement, and 2 coats of a black, rubberized coating was applied. The plan was to backfill that and re-lay the flagstone. Finished. Even with the excavation being open for the past few months, I haven't gotten a drop of water in the basement so far.

When I asked my stone mason friend about adding more gravel to my flagstone sublayer this time around, he said I should have backfilled with gravel instead of dirt and put in a french drain. My contractor, however, assured me that this wasn't needed.

Before the contractor left, he put all the dirt back in but didn't tamp it yet. I did the flagstone myself and will finish this myself, but my question is... should I continue with his plan, or remove all of the dirt and go with the french drain system while the dirt is still loose? I'm way over budget the way it is, but aside from the labor, this seems like something I can do at this point if I should do it now while it makes sense. At the front of the house - the lowest point of the slope - there is a sewer line that I could tie into. Any opinions? Is this overkill, or was the contractor's plan not sound for 30 years down the line?

Notes: When I ripped out the concrete driveway over a year ago where the flagstone would go, I got a ton of water. When I put the flagstone in, and paid careful attention to slope it down and away from the house, I didn't get any water last summer/fall, but again, my basement was unfinished at that time. This month, I'm having a roofer go over the gutters to make sure all roof water is being drained away properly. I really want to get this right so that 20 years from now I'm not ripping out hardwood flooring and drywall inside and pulling up my patio again outside.

Did you use hydrualic cement on the entire surface plus 2 layers of tar? Depending on how much water hits the house, this should do. But if you do get a lot of water than I would probably put in the french drain. I had cracks in my foundation in two different spots. I dug out the area, patch with hydrualic cement and 2 layers of tar, haven't had a problem since.

But seeing how you are talking about the entire exterior, I might go that extra mile and dig down 2-3' put in the french drain and backfill with pea gravel. Just have to make sure you are able to run the drain far enough away from the house.

c2g 02-25-2011 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mem (Post 597773)
Personally, I would stop now, go back and do it right before I had any more invested in the project. If you're thinking about tying into a sanitary sewer line with your runoff water, I don't believe that is legal.

I'm not sure where it goes but it's the cast iron pipe that my downspout has always been connected to.

c2g 02-27-2011 10:37 PM

Update: I spoke with a geologist and got feedback from the head of a company that does geophysical surveys - they said don't do a french drain, mainly because of trying to run water on 90 degree angles as well as water wanting to go to the path of least resistance and not down little holes every six inches in flexible pipe.

They said my best bet at this point is to dig out all the 5' of loose dirt that the contractor backfilled (he thought he could hand tamp 5' of dirt) down to the bottom of the foundation, and fill it in 6 inches at a time, vibraplate tamping each layer, and then making sure the highest point of the slope is closest to the house. My dirt is mostly clay, so it should pack really well. Then just make sure my gutters are in good shape, and as a last precaution, tapcon some aluminium or copper to the stone right above the flagstone, waterproof caulk behind it, and bend the bottom so that it would direct any water that ran down off the wall out onto the sloped flagstone patio.

T-Bar 03-02-2011 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by c2g (Post 599384)
Update: I spoke with a geologist and got feedback from the head of a company that does geophysical surveys - they said don't do a french drain, mainly because of trying to run water on 90 degree angles as well as water wanting to go to the path of least resistance and not down little holes every six inches in flexible pipe.

They said my best bet at this point is to dig out all the 5' of loose dirt that the contractor backfilled (he thought he could hand tamp 5' of dirt) down to the bottom of the foundation, and fill it in 6 inches at a time, vibraplate tamping each layer, and then making sure the highest point of the slope is closest to the house. My dirt is mostly clay, so it should pack really well. Then just make sure my gutters are in good shape, and as a last precaution, tapcon some aluminium or copper to the stone right above the flagstone, waterproof caulk behind it, and bend the bottom so that it would direct any water that ran down off the wall out onto the sloped flagstone patio.

So basically make sure the high point is at the house and let the water run of naturally. I've heard that from number of people myself now.

Problem I have is that I have a low spot in middle spot of my front yard that sits between the house and a huge maple tree. All I am trying to do is add dirt to the area to make it more level with the rest of the area..

c2g 03-02-2011 03:27 PM

I've consulted with some engineers, and yes, as long as everything slopes down and away from the house, and if my gutters are working properly, I should be ok.

But because he shoveled the muddy backfill back into the trench without layered tamping, I will have to dig it all back out and tamp it properly or I would eventually get settling at some point.

stadry 03-02-2011 06:41 PM

we NEVER use mechanical tamps next to brick/stone fnd walls,,, vibration's the worst think that can attack their structural integrity,,, placing a properly constructed toe drain ( footer drain ) is absolutely necessary to PREVENT wtr from entering,,, anything from the inside's called ' water management ',,, IF possible, drain your collection pipe to daylight,,, if the topography doesn't cooperate, install an exterior sump & pump w/riser to allow access when the pump needs servicing.

wtr will runoff naturally for a while but eventually will drain thru the underlying soil next to the fnd walls,,, we use hydraulic for mortar repairs but never parge w/it as it will fail,,, a good coat of roofing cement protected by miradrain's how the pro's do this work,,, there's a lot of space between ' should be ' & ' will be ' !.


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