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Old 03-17-2012, 01:45 PM   #1
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PWF Issues. . . .


I recently bought a 1979 4 level split in Fort McMurray just this past August. It has a 3" concrete slab with PWF. The original studs are 2x6 and the new studs are 2x8 with R19 batt covered with a vapour barrier. The basement was originally finished and then gutted so they could add the new 2x8. What the original problem was I don't know.

The house came with an engineers PWF certificate and thus far we have had no serious issues. I was told that drainage is especially important with PWF's so I have been careful to keep snow away from the house. In the past few weeks we have had unusually high temperatures and the snow is starting to melt very fast. I noticed that there was a very small stream of water running to the rear corner of the house. Curious, I took the time to move some stuff out of the way in the basement, pull the vapour barrier up, brush some spider webs off and look at the bottom plate of the foundation.

I was not too surprised when I saw plenty of moisture on top of the bottom plate. Basically, its soaked but there is no pool of water. There is no water getting on the floor since the bottom plate in a few inches below the concrete floor. None of the wood is rotting or anything like that. I have poked at the plywood and soaked bottom plate and there is nothing coming off. When I poke the soaked bottom plate, the screw driver makes a 1/16th indent I guess.

I contacted the engineer who signed off the foundation (who was technically retired at the time he signed off my PWF and is now living in Calgary). Well actually, I called his house and his wife picked up. She said he didn't do PWF inspections anymore and when I told her he did mine just a few months ago she was surprised. She took my info down and said he would call me back. Well. . . .it's been a week and he hasn't called me back yet. I'm going to try again soon, but it's doesn't look good.

I went to the city and looked at the file for the house. There is nothing in the file for the foundation repair. Shouldn't they have gotten a permit to do the work they did, or is that all covered by the engineer's PWF certificate?

So I guess my questions are:

1) What do you think the moisture issue is? Is this a problem for finishing the basement? How can I fix it?
2) I want to finish the basement. How do I go about doing that?
3) The angle iron is rusting. Is that a problem?

I have some pictures to show.

Any insight would be appreciated.
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PWF Issues. . . .-p1000441.jpg  

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Old 03-17-2012, 01:46 PM   #2
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PWF Issues. . . .


One more picture. . .

They left the vapour barrier open along the bottom of the floor. The top is mostly sealed.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:12 PM   #3
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PWF Issues. . . .


Sorry to hear. That is one of the reasons I shudder when I see vapor barriers in basements, esp w/ wooden walls. That does not mean the vb is the culprit, but it sure is possible. The engineer is, I would think, legally liable. Call a lawyer asap and get your paperwork in order. That mess was not inspected a few months ago. Fixing that is going to be very expensive, and maybe not diy stuff to do it properly. I'd suggest you have someone with some credentials inspect it right now so you have ammo for court.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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PWF Issues. . . .


The vapour barrier is not causing this. I am pretty sure there is an issue with the drainage. I think it's pooling just beneath the bottom plate instead of continuing on through the 3/4" crush which is what the bottom plate should be resting on. Because it's happening at the corner of the house, maybe the water is actually getting through the plywood. The only way to tell is to dig it up, which I am prepared to do in another year or two. I'm currently renovating the 1st and 3rd levels and it's keeping me pretty busy. Plus I have a lot of issues that came up with the home inspector that I have to correct this summer.

A PWF is a very simple system and can be fixed by anyone who is handy and can read/follow some instructions. I'm going to purchase the Canadian PWF guide and when I tackle this project I am going to make it so it never leaks again. My excitement with regards to fixing my foundation will dimished quickly once I have to start digging a 3'x9'x40' trench. . . . ..

Maybe I'll rent a Kubota.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:01 PM   #5
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PWF Issues. . . .


All of this leakage needs to be addressed on the outside not the inside. There's is 0 since working on anything inside until all this has been addressed and 100% taken care of.
Several differant compays make a mini excavator wit retractable tracks that can fit though a 36" wide gate and the bucket can be moved to one side so it can scrape right along side of a foundation.
First call Miss Utility or whatever it's called in your area to mark the lines. You all will need to find your sewer and water lines.

Last edited by joecaption; 03-18-2012 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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PWF Issues. . . .


What state is Fort McMurray in?
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:04 PM   #7
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PWF Issues. . . .


Alberta, Canada. Its about 4 hours North of Edmonton.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:24 PM   #8
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PWF Issues. . . .


I went to the city and photocopied the engineer's plans. Turns out it has concrete footings, not 3/4" crush as I had thought. The bottom plates are resting on the footing.

Doesn't really change anything, but it helps to have as much information as possible. The water must be leaking through the vapour barrier on the bottom of the foundation and seeping below the bottom plate.

I should add that the leak is occuring on the far left foundation wall.
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Last edited by Teddy1; 03-19-2012 at 11:28 PM.
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