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rac58 05-10-2012 10:56 PM

Scam or real?
 
I am planning on remodeling the basement. I had seen a couple of small areas on the foundation wall that were wet and brought in a company for a free estimate. They told me i would need to install a french drain w/ a sump pump. I have never seen water on the floor and besides the couple of spots on the wall after a heavy rain it has been dry. There is a musty smell and effloressence on the walls. Am i being ripped off?

joecaption 05-10-2012 11:19 PM

Post some picture of the inside where you see the water on the wall and outside in that area.
Are there gutters, is the yard sloped away from the foundation in that area?
Is there much piled up againt the house?

Just Bill 05-11-2012 06:43 AM

Your basement moisture problems do not sound like they need that drastic rework, but I have not seen the inside or out. That said, 90% of basement water problems can be eliminated or reduced by having gutters and downspouts that get water at least 6" away from the foundation walls, and grading the does the same thing. That is what Joe was suggesting. It sounds like you fit into that 90%. The last 10% are due to high water tables, and have no inexpensive solution.

joed 05-11-2012 07:35 AM

French drain on the inside? I would say not for this problem. Sounds like the water is not even getting to the floor. Proper repair would be done from the outside. Either with simple grading or digging and sealing the wall from the outside.

cortell 05-11-2012 09:23 AM

Skepticism is good, IMO. There are very good and ethical contractors out there, and there are ones that will take you to the bank. The construction business is not unique in this respect.

That said, there's no way for anyone here to justifiably second guess your contractor based on the very limited information you provided. You've described the problem fairly well, but we need more details about his recommendation and how he came to that recommendation. If you're willing to provide those, you might be able to get some opinions here. Those opinions should not be used in lieu of a second opinion from another contractor that goes on site and examines your situation; it should be seen as supplementary.

Now, generally speaking, a french drain along the interior perimeter of a foundation wall is not uncommon. Such a drain belongs on the exterior side of the foundation, but circumstance sometimes prevents a replacement drain (or new one) from being installed there--typically, a neighboring structure that prevents adequate access. That said, you never said where that contractor said you need the french drain. This gets us back to the problem of limited information. Provide details, and you might get some helpful feedback. In the absence of it, all you're going to get are haphazard guesses.

rac58 05-11-2012 01:11 PM

Thanks cortell
 
Here's more info:
When we purchased the home the outside was a mess- we graded all soil, placed a 4ft concrete walkway around the exterior, changed all gutters and leaders including running leaders to underground pvc away from the house. It is an 80 yr old home. Water does seem to drip in from the wood sill plates when there is very heavy rain- this seems to be an above grade issue. The walls of the foundation that are not covered by paneling have a lot of peeling paint and effloressence. When wtrproof came to inspect and spend 2 HOURS of my life talking to me! he used some gadget to measure hydrostatic pressure(?) which read at 30 (I think) and he said you have 2 options: 1. excavate- Not happening or 2. french drain system and all this BS about their patented system. He claims that they drill holes in the keyway to give water a channel straight into the drain and it pumps out using a sump pump. It also relieves the hydrostatic pressure under the floor. I hope the info helps.

cortell 05-11-2012 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rac58 (Post 919423)
Here's more info:
When we purchased the home the outside was a mess- we graded all soil, placed a 4ft concrete walkway around the exterior, changed all gutters and leaders including running leaders to underground pvc away from the house. It is an 80 yr old home. Water does seem to drip in from the wood sill plates when there is very heavy rain- this seems to be an above grade issue. The walls of the foundation that are not covered by paneling have a lot of peeling paint and effloressence. When wtrproof came to inspect and spend 2 HOURS of my life talking to me! he used some gadget to measure hydrostatic pressure(?) which read at 30 (I think) and he said you have 2 options: 1. excavate- Not happening or 2. french drain system and all this BS about their patented system. He claims that they drill holes in the keyway to give water a channel straight into the drain and it pumps out using a sump pump. It also relieves the hydrostatic pressure under the floor. I hope the info helps.

OK, well so far that all sounds reasonable to me. A water penetration problem in a foundation wall typically requires excavating the soil next to the foundation--all the way down to the footing. The wall may not have been waterproofed, or that application has failed, or the french drain may be clogged or broken. All those possibilities require excavating. You say "not happening", and I'm not sure why you would take that position, but then don't be surprised that they're talking about installing weeping tile on the interior. IMO, you best bet, barring obstacles preventing it, is to go with the excavation. They may find that the weeping tile is fine and you just need to waterproof a portion of the foundation wall. I would expect that to be a lot cheaper than addressing the problem from the inside. There you're talking about breaking up the concrete slab and moving heavy material in and out by hand possibly.


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