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Old 11-15-2010, 12:30 AM   #1
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Foundation Waterproofing


This home was built in the Minneapolis area in 2004. The wood foundation is wrapped with a dimpled membrane (plastic like material)for water proofing. Over time the landscaping soil has settled and has pulled this outer membrane downward one to three inches, creating rips and tears as shown.

Directly behind this membrane is what apprears to be untreated plywood. The condition below grade is undetermined at this point. No reports of water infiltration in the basement at this time. The builder is no longer in business, and I've been told by one source that this material should have been covered with a protective board to protect it from UV rays to avoid becoming brittle.


Does this condition warrant repair? Since it's damaged above grade should one presume it's damaged below grade too? Does my friend need to dig up around her wood foundation and replace it with something else?



Current thoughts for this winter are to cover it above grade with ice & water shield as a temporary fix, but what about a more permanent fix? If you have any knowledge to share please let me know, I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks! John in MN

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Old 11-15-2010, 09:09 PM   #2
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Foundation Waterproofing


just replace that stuff - not sure of the brand name but there's sonneborn, delta drain, miradrain, gawda'mightydrain, knockyoursocksoffdrain, ad nauseum,,, they're all hdpe molded fabrics that come in rolls,,, there's even 1 in grey - nothing in blue, however !

normally its used below-grade where it will outlast plastic water bottles you would be well served by excavating to 12" depth, removing all the existing, & installing new - don't forget to overlap in the direction flows

because its a wood foundation, certainly would be a good idea to inspect it now !

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Old 11-15-2010, 10:14 PM   #3
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Foundation Waterproofing


Thanks itsreallyconcrete - I appreciate your input. For a temporary (winter fix) ice and water shield was placed over the membrane, and it extends down 4-5' below the wood chips.

To cut, replace, and overlap: would you suggest it run from below the siding to 12" below grade, or from grade level to 12" below? Could it be cut off near grade and the plywood treated with a wood sealer? Should the top be placed in a channel of some sort to prevent water from getting in behind it?

Sorry for all the questions, just concerned about all that wood holding up the house
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:58 AM   #4
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Foundation Waterproofing


you don't think there's ANY protection for the below-grade foundation walls ? ? ? NONE ??????????? H S, SHERLOCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

# 1, how can you ' see ' to inspect unless you excavate ? #2, there MUST be some sore of drainage system alongside the footer, no ? are there as-built drawings ? even on file at the town hall ?

even a masonary/concrete foundation receives SOME sort of a protective coating ( 3mil damp-proofing asphalt emulsion ),,, no, its not really worth a S*** in the long run but it is better than a sharp stick in the eye

for a temporary (winter fix) i'd probably place the ice/wtr shield as did you then come back & place another 6" above grade & then lying on top of the ground directing any wtr AWAY from the fnd walls.

share your concern about all that wood holding up the house,,, then again, i'm a belt AND suspenders guy when it comes to building my homes,,, good luck !
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:17 AM   #5
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Foundation Waterproofing


Didn't say I thought there was no protection for the foundation (?); the concern is the current condition of the plastic membrane below grade. I'm wondering if it's ripped up like what we can see above grade, and I realize it's gonna take some digging to find out.

Yes, there's a drainage system in place, but if there are tears and breaks in the membrane below grade water could get through to the wood. If that's the case, I presume that the damaged membrane should be removed and replaced with new next spring. Maybe the damage is only on the perimeter of the membrane (top & sides) and total replacement won't be necessary. Let me know if I'm off track, thanks!
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:58 PM   #6
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there's only 4 things you have to know to waterproof anything,,, 1, water runs downhill; 2, it takes the path of least resistance; 3, rushes to fill a void ( try making a hole in your tubby tonite ), & 4, seeks its own level.

been doing this work for 38yrs & can't look thru the ground yet so your guess is as good as mine,,, i'd bet its decent as there's no ultra-violet assault BUT maybe its not even there,,, then you'd look for signs of leaks on the interior to help you guess - good luck !
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:35 PM   #7
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Foundation Waterproofing


You're right about the 4 things to know about water, INC .

Since there's been no water infiltration reported maybe it's all in tact below grade. Next spring might be the time to get the shovel out and snoop around below grade .

Thanks alot for your replies,

MN John
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:00 AM   #8
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that's ' mr i R c ' to you remember seeing p/t wood foundation walls on some vila-type show yrs ago - didn't like the, then & still don't,,, doesn't it often seem something 'better & less expensive' comes along, it winds up costing more in the long run ? we americans like quik result,, after 38yrs, im-n-s-h-fo, nothing beats conc poured in place,,, even icf's have issues but we'll use them on our next home footer to gable

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