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Old 02-18-2009, 01:45 PM   #1
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replace basement or dig trench w/tile?

Anyone wanting to share their experiences or knowledge would be great (photos too would be awesome). We have a basement that leaks and doesn't have proper support ( I have several jacks all around because floors upstairs are sagging and shaky). I can't grade properly around the foundation due to it being too deep in the ground ( only about 8" clearance from ground to bottom of siding) and we're on a flat lot on a hill. Water comes up from the basement floor as well as from the walls during heavy rains. I don't think it's hydrostatic pressure since we are on a big hill. Anyway, trying to decide if we should do like a shallow trench drain with tile around the foundation and daylight drainage, that would be cheap and take a weekend. Or if we should go hog wild and have the house jacked up and basement completely replaced. I realize that option will run over $25K, which in a few years we may be able to afford. I read an article on about trench drains and that got me thinking it may work. He has you dig a 2 ft.deep 6" wide trench about 4 ft. away from the foundation. Has anyone done this or have a basement replaced? Thanks!


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Old 02-18-2009, 02:07 PM   #2
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8" clearance is sufficient. Does your lawn slope away from the house in all directions? Do your gutters discharge by the house or away from the house? Do you have cracks in your basement wall? Where does it leak? Do you have a sump pump?

Sagging/bouncy floors usually have nothing to do with adequacy of the basement walls. Are your basement walls actually sinking?? It is far more likely that you have inadequate beams or joists and maybe insufficient beam posts. This is a totally separate issue from the leaks in the basement.

Chances are very slim that you need a new basement.


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Old 02-18-2009, 04:20 PM   #3
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Water comes up from the basement floor as well as from the walls during heavy rains. I don't think it's hydrostatic pressure since we are on a big hill. and we're on a flat lot on a hill.
Ayuh,.. The fact that the water is coming up from the floor, as well as the walls, says that it Is hydraulic pressure...
Water flows through the ground at various levels,..It sounds like your's is running deep...
Digging a perimeter drain as your talking about, won't do squat at only 2' deep...
It'll have to be Deeper than the floor of the foundation to divert the water at that level...

Unless of course you're dealing with Only surface water,...
If it Is surface water,... Regrading to divert it should be easier..

If you're on a Flat lot, on a hill side,..
Regrading some pitch into your lot should be pretty Easy....
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:17 AM   #4
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when you think of your very fine home's bsmt as a ship's hull on/in the water, its much easier to understand leaking bsmts,,, notwithstanding they're never meant for ' living space ' UNLESS special steps're includ'd when building, there's not much you can do to stop wtr intrusion w/o investing $ that'd be very difficult to recoup when selling.

all that being said & understood, there're some things you can do relatively inexpensive to more capital-intensive solutions,,, 1st's positive drainage as mention'd to the lawn grading & swales as/if necessary incl downspout extensions,,, that's about it outside, tho.

what you call a trench drain's known to many as a ' french drain ' - yes, both terms're a misnomer however we'll agree on the common definition,,, hydrostatic pressure's the wtr level about the perimeter of the bsmt walls & isn't uncommon as water seeks (1) its own level,,, it also (2) rushes to fill a void as it tries to alleviate pressure by entering the bsmt ( up thru the floor ),,, since its already there, its formed underground riverlets & paths ( voids ) making it easier to (3) run downhill & (4) - takes the path of least resistance,,, as that wtr enters the bsmt (2) more replaces it & the cycle continues,,, when your water level INSIDE the bsmt reaches the level OUTSIDE the walls, no more water'll enter however, your bsmt'll be flood'd, of course ! ! !

it may be you need a full-perimeter sub-floor collection system ( pipe ) and more'n 1 pump IF the system's length exceeds 100lf,,, however, we've install'd 2 sumps/pumps in 70' systems,,, zoeller pumps were ALWAYS our choice - 1/3hp - model m33.

depth of the collection pipe should be at the btm of the footer for best results - running to daylight's ALWAYS better'n mechanical removal ( pump ) as its cheaper'n paying for elec to run pumps - quieter, too

1st stabilize the wtr situation then worry about the supporting columns for the house including adjusta-posts & individual floor-level foundations- take the job in order !'s comment about 2' deep's a big ' NO - NO ' far's i'm concerned UNLESS your bsmt is a monopour/unipour which i doubt ! ! ! NEVER install/go below the footer's btm w/o structural pro engineer's STAMPED plans - he's got insurance & YOU don't ! ! !

don't forget to treat wall leakage - you didn't mention it but i suspect its masonary units ( blocks ),,, long wind'd response but nec,,, resolving your trouble's mostly grunt labor & always remembering wtr runs downhill good luck !

Last edited by yesitsconcrete; 02-19-2009 at 06:21 AM.
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