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-   -   Leaking cinder block basement (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/leaking-cinder-block-basement-82838/)

CatRN 10-02-2010 12:41 AM

Leaking cinder block basement
 
We just bought a ( approx 50 y.old) house two months ago and have in the last two weeks, discovered water leaking into the basement. It has begun to smell like either dead animal or stool. I'm not sure, but it's awful. We bought a dehumidifyer which, if run constantly, keeps the odours at bay.
The room with the leak has old berber carpet and wood panelling for walls. The basement walls are cinder block and the ceiling of the basement is above ground level by at least a foot. The leak showed up on the floor of the basement right by the south-facing external wall. The walls were not wet, nor were there any marks on the ceiling to indicate that water came through the ceiling.
The bathrooms are at the complete other end of the house (West side), and the washer, dryer, dishwasher, kitchen sink and laundry sink are all on the North side of the house and are located more than 10 feet west of the leak. (The leak is on the south side, far east corner of our bungalow.)
I would like to stop the leak but I don't know where it's coming from. I've emptied the room of all its contents. What's my next step? Tearing down the walls? And if so, how? And, what then? Please help! Thank you.

jklingel 10-02-2010 01:31 AM

My suspicion is that you are getting ground water leaking in. The only thing to do is to dig up the outside and properly seal the blocks and footers. The blocks will have to be cleaned first (power wash), then sealed. Stinky water? Do you have a septic tank, or are you on city sewage? On the inside, start looking for rot and mold; replace whatever is necessary, after you find the source. If you slab never had a vapor barrier put under it, the slab could likely be wicking water right through it. I have no idea how to fix that; sealing the top would likely be futile if the concrete keeps getting wet from the under side. j

concretemasonry 10-02-2010 07:00 AM

You probably do have ground water coming in since the concrete block walls were not wet.

If you have a typical basement with a "floating slab", the water cab get in through the joist between the floor and the wall, where the slab bears on the strip footing.

Unfortunately, you did not give the location you are hiding in, but it could be related to the heavy rains in some areas that can cause the ground water level to come up.

Since you have a noticeable odor, the ground water could be carrying some materials form a septic system or leaking sewer line that may not have been noticed with a lower water table.

Do you have a sump or some sort of interior or exterior (or both) drain tile at the level of the bottom of the footing?

Dick

itsreallyconc 10-03-2010 07:54 AM

this is the most difficult part of waterproofing - diagnosing the problem,,, the 1st indication you have a high water table leak is dry walls,,, while exterior waterproofing is always a good idea, that won't ultimately resolve the ground water infiltration,,, there is a way to inject an acceptable vapor barrier under the floor if 1 wasn't originally placed but its much less expensive/technical to properly seal the floor.

i'd recommend for a perimeter sub-floor drainage system 1st ( incorrectly called a ' french drain ' but commonly accepted as such ),,, lead the collected water to a sump whereupon it would be discharged by a pump ( use use zoeller exclusively - ebay $100 ).

there are 2 water tables applicable - the 1st is the 1 we're all familiar with - static water table - where it always is,,, the 2nd is less obvious - a false water table - rainwater drains down next to the foundation walls & collects near the footer,,, the soil percolation rate cannot accommodate the excess water & its rises thereby infiltrating the bsmt as it seeks its own level,,, odor may be due to sewage system leaks or buried decomposing trash/etc,,, an air exchanger will far surpass any reults obtained from a dehumidifier in this instance but will ONLY exchange air, NOT eliminate the odor source.

so both dick & jk are correct - sorry to be so long-winded
:yes:

jklingel 10-03-2010 12:33 PM

long winded is fine when it is full of useful information. thanks. as for sealing the floor, i thought that once you have a slab wicking water in, you are sort of shafted. covering the floor w/ sealer/paint will only keep the slab wetter, where crud can grow, and then any sealer/paint will pop and peel. is that true, or not? j

itsreallyconc 10-03-2010 01:22 PM

jk, we have epoxies that will penetrate damp/wet conc AND prevent further infiltration,,, they are NOT, as you guess, avail at any apron store, however,,, selecting the proper materials are crucial to performance as is proper useage & experience in diagnosing the problems,,, we're successfully undersealed slabs in charleston, sc ( if 6yrs is any indication of success, that is )

we're not aware of any ' paint ' that will successfully resolve a water issue vis-a-vis my unchanging comments re ' drylock ' style products,,, the ONLY items we buy from apron stores are 4" corrugated perforated pipe, 6mil visqueen, & plastic garbage bags :laughing:

.btw, in-m-n-s-h-fo, ' shafted ' begins w/the bldg code,,, i've never wanted a home built to minimum standards :no:

jklingel 10-03-2010 04:20 PM

conc: thanks. i'll look you up when i need a floor sealed. do you travel? kidding. sc is a tad far away. have a good one. j

finalsay.ca 10-03-2010 04:26 PM

May be surface water
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CatRN (Post 510166)
We just bought a ( approx 50 y.old) house two months ago and have in the last two weeks, discovered water leaking into the basement. It has begun to smell like either dead animal or stool. I'm not sure, but it's awful. We bought a dehumidifyer which, if run constantly, keeps the odours at bay.
The room with the leak has old berber carpet and wood panelling for walls. The basement walls are cinder block and the ceiling of the basement is above ground level by at least a foot. The leak showed up on the floor of the basement right by the south-facing external wall. The walls were not wet, nor were there any marks on the ceiling to indicate that water came through the ceiling.
The bathrooms are at the complete other end of the house (West side), and the washer, dryer, dishwasher, kitchen sink and laundry sink are all on the North side of the house and are located more than 10 feet west of the leak. (The leak is on the south side, far east corner of our bungalow.)
I would like to stop the leak but I don't know where it's coming from. I've emptied the room of all its contents. What's my next step? Tearing down the walls? And if so, how? And, what then? Please help! Thank you.

As I read your post, I believe when you said the walls are dry, you are referring to the wood paneling and not the cinder blocks. On that assumption I will assume that the water is coming thru the cinder block wall close to were it is showing up in basement. Since 90% of basement leaks are from surface water I would recommend that you check your lot grading in this area (need at least 4" drop in 10 feet away from wall), make sure that the downspouts are directing water away from basement wall ( extent discharge point to at least 6 ft from wall) In most cases this type of control of surface water will correct basement leaks.

Paul
www.finalsay.ca

itsreallyconc 10-03-2010 04:45 PM

apologies for posting after a ' final say ' but there's a bit more,,, i'd guess its more like 98% since most water comes down from the sky before hitting the ground so that makes it surface water :thumbup: unfortunately that surface wtr keeps on running downhill taking the path of least resistance,,, combining these 2 rules of water, it travels down into the soft backfill next to the foundation creating underground paths or rivulets, if you will,,, by the time someone thinks downspouts/grading, its usually too late.

back to an inadequate bldg code,,, the best builders realize this & build to far higher standards,,, toll brothers comes to mind - in nj, they charged more but guaranteed dry basements for the $$$.


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