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Old 09-28-2008, 08:39 AM   #1
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


We have a split level home built in the early 60's . The lowest level being part crawl space, part ground level, and part basement.

1. First issue (probably easier of the two) - crawl space is farily tightly sealed. It has two windows and a door which remain closed so no air circulation. There is a musty smell that is coming up from the crawl space and into the house. We have gotten two opinions on that issue from contractors. First is to seal it and add a dehumdifier; this is coming from the chain that specializes in that. Second is just DIY with a vapor barrier on the floor and open windows (they have screens).

2. Second Issue - During tropical storm Fay we had water come into the finished basement. Part of the issue was when the original owner finished the basement and brought electricity into the basement they did not seal around the area. We had water pouring out of the electrical outlet! We have had two estimates on that issue that involve resealing down to the footers and adding a french drain as well as tying in the gutters. 16k - 50K.

Wow! That is a large cost without adding anything to the house. So, I was wondering if adding a covered porch would help to keep water from the front of the house. That is the only area that is below ground level. Then add a french drain to keep water away from the house. One contractor said that would work.

I am so confussed about what would really work. It seems that everyone's solution to the problem is what they are selling. Any advice would be VERY appreciated.

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Old 09-28-2008, 09:21 AM   #2
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


1) For the crawlspace, I'd add a vapor barrier (minimum 6 mil poly) and cover it with gravel to secure it. Then open the windows and keep them open. The code these days requires that crawlspaces either be supplied with HVAC or ventilated full-time with dedicated vents. A dehumidifier would work, but is a larger investment.

2) This is a tougher problem. In Florida, you have a very very high water table to begin with. That's why basements (and especially finished ones) are pretty scarce there, I imagine. Although sealing any penetrations and cracks in the foundation will help, water will find a way in.

You cannot set out with the intent to design a waterproofing/water mitigation system for tropical storm-sized events. Containment and management of that amount of rainfall is very difficult and expensive, if possible at all. You've got to focus on long, steady rainfall events...Not the ones where you get 6" in an hour.

The best course of action isn't building a porch. All that does is create more hard surface and runoff.

The best thing to do is probably installation of french drains that get the water away from the house. Make sure that you have several inches in drop in the grade within the first 10' away from your house. You want surface water to flow out and away, not toward the house. If you have perimeter footing drains, great. If not, it might be worth looking into, but I'd try shallower surface drains first.

At the very least, you should have a sump pump in a pit in your basement at the lowest spot. That way you can get rid of what water does get in.

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Old 09-28-2008, 09:23 AM   #3
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


1's solution'd be to install vents w/fans controlled by a humidistat - at least that work'd for us on several jobs.

2's not as inexpensive,,, think of your bsmt as part of a ship's hull which's below waterline,,, just as ship's have bilge pumps, houses do, too, but we call 'em sump pumps,,, split levels're more difficult ( expensive ) than regular footer/wall construction in my experience.

covered porch might resolve the troubles but w/not great odds,,, if you think its worth a try, at the least you'll have a covered porch, right ??? the reason no one really KNOWS the answer is that people have trouble looking thru floors/dirt surfaces & actually seeing what's underneath me, too ! ! !
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:24 AM   #4
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


just read what 'mite posted,,, we're not in disagreement.
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:44 AM   #5
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tally_Lassie View Post
We have a split level home built in the early 60's . The lowest level being part crawl space, part ground level, and part basement.

1. First issue (probably easier of the two) - crawl space is farily tightly sealed. It has two windows and a door which remain closed so no air circulation. There is a musty smell that is coming up from the crawl space and into the house. We have gotten two opinions on that issue from contractors. First is to seal it and add a dehumdifier; this is coming from the chain that specializes in that. Second is just DIY with a vapor barrier on the floor and open windows (they have screens).

2. Second Issue - During tropical storm Fay we had water come into the finished basement. Part of the issue was when the original owner finished the basement and brought electricity into the basement they did not seal around the area. We had water pouring out of the electrical outlet! We have had two estimates on that issue that involve resealing down to the footers and adding a french drain as well as tying in the gutters. 16k - 50K.

Wow! That is a large cost without adding anything to the house. So, I was wondering if adding a covered porch would help to keep water from the front of the house. That is the only area that is below ground level. Then add a french drain to keep water away from the house. One contractor said that would work.

I am so confussed about what would really work. It seems that everyone's solution to the problem is what they are selling. Any advice would be VERY appreciated.
I had a coworker who had a split level also and did not experience water problems until one recent storm. It's a 1960's built house.

He had the inside perimeter of his house jackhammered and a french drain installed with 2 sump pumps. He said it cost 13k.

His contractor does business in the midatlantic area, but I'm sure you can find an equivalent where you are at.

***link removed. TheKCtermite***

Last edited by Termite; 09-28-2008 at 11:28 AM. Reason: DIY site not for contractor referrals
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:16 AM   #6
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


once upon a time, worked for those guys,,, beware their sales pitches from the ' inspectors ' they probably haven't run ' into buried hazardous waste on a commercial job & happen to have an idle crew at ( insert your time/date ) ',,, their work's ok, tho - decent subs usually.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


Yes, basements are pretty scarce here in Florida. The house was built on the side of a hill, so it was out of necessity.

Thanks for all of the ideas. Should we dig down to the footers and seal or just install the french drains? One contactor said any any waterproofing done when then house was built is now gone. If we have the french drain does that make the water proofing not necessary?

We have lived here about two years and this is the first it has happened. I don't want to worry every time we know a storm is coming, but I don't want to waste money either.

During Fay we had no electricity, so we had to borrow a generator to use our wet vac to keep the water out.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:31 PM   #8
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


the only ' hill ' in florida's the sanitary landfill n of miami far's i recall

YOU are 1 LUCKY sob 'cause that contractor's the ONLY guy i've ever heard that can look underground he's gonna be expensive ! ! ! however, in his defense, he may've meant piping MIGHT now be silt-clogg'd.

waterproofing is a mis-nomer as current codes only req a 3mil asphalt emulsion to be ( sprayed-rolled-painted ) on the walls ['mite'll be more current],,, its actually dampproofing.

if it were my house, i'd dig down alongside the footers & seal w/sonneborn/tremco/prosoco trowelable coatings,,, the trench drain's to carry excess wtr away from your very fine home,,, google structural repair waterproofing specialists institute - its a pro standards org.

GOTTA GO TO DINNER

there's no wet/dry vac that keeps water out - only capture/manage/direct it when it intrudes,,, see what i mean about our thinking ??? i know what you meant - just trying to get you to change your thought patterns.
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:01 PM   #9
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Water problem in Florida -Will Covered Porch Help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tally_Lassie View Post
Yes, basements are pretty scarce here in Florida. The house was built on the side of a hill, so it was out of necessity.

Thanks for all of the ideas. Should we dig down to the footers and seal or just install the french drains? One contactor said any any waterproofing done when then house was built is now gone. If we have the french drain does that make the water proofing not necessary?

We have lived here about two years and this is the first it has happened. I don't want to worry every time we know a storm is coming, but I don't want to waste money either.

During Fay we had no electricity, so we had to borrow a generator to use our wet vac to keep the water out.
Wow, must be a really good friend who let you borrow the generator when the power was out and you were getting rid of water real time.

If your basement is not finished, instead of resealing from the outside, you can have all the cracks filled with epoxy and then make sure the grade outside is right.

The french drain/sump pump will take you a long way in keeping your basement dry.

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