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Old 09-16-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
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What Waterproofing Methods Work?

My basement leaks. I have read all kinds of information both online and in catalogs, 99% of which the source was some kind of company trying to sell something. One swears by French Drains, another says they're useless and insists on interior waterproofing systems, while another says to dig out the exterior. I'm at the end of my rope trying to sift through all this adformation in order to find the genuine nuggets of truly helpful advice.
Here's my situation:

--A tiny fissure in the wall exactly following a previously epoxied crack. This is in an unfinished area and quite visible when it rains, as water dribbles from it and pools on the floor.
--A tiny fissure in the same wall further down behind a finished wall that has not been previously repaired. We were clued in to this one when we noticed the carpet nearest the wall was soaking wet, running the length of the room.
--Both of these cracks leak water only when it rains.
--The amount of standing water on that side of the house after a rain shower is almost hard to believe (we're getting grading estimates).
--We have a sump that has three corrugated tile entering it. Our last major rain shower we got about 12 inches in two days, and only one of these tiles had any water flowing out of it. What the heck are these other two tiles doing, if they stay dry with that much rain?
--We had so much rain that a window well filled up to the point where it spilled through a crack running underneath the glass block window (Apparently the previous owners had a problem with that window leaking, so they replaced it with glass block. Well, there's a crack running the entire length of the window just under the bottom row of blocks). Aren't there supposed to be drains in window wells?
--Right now it has been over 2 weeks since we've had a drop of rain, yet my sump cycles once every 3 minutes. There is no visible water coming from any tile, it all must be coming up from the bottom of the sump pit.
--And lastly, NONE of this stuff was disclosed to us by the sellers. They're claiming ignorance. I would like very much to have them pay for some of this, because I feel like there's no way they couldn't have known about at least SOMEthing wrong. It's not like they only used the basement for storage--They had workout equipment, video game systems for the kids, etc, literally feet from the first crack I described. And while it's not noticeable when it's not raining, surely they would have seen the water dripping down the walls and pooling on the floor, for crying out loud. Or how about a third of the carpet in the guest bedroom being soaking wet with water for weeks after any appreciable rain? Any of you have any experience trying to hold sellers accountable?

Thanks for your time,



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Old 09-16-2009, 11:21 PM   #2
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The first and most important thing is to manage the water so it doesn't even get to the foundation in any great quantity. The most common problem is that the water isn't flowing away from the house (grade has insufficient slope). Downspouts should be piped away from the home if you're having water problems...Splashblocks aren't enough.

Once you've taken care of all that it is then and only then time to work on keeping the water from infiltrating the foundation wall. That should be done from the outside, not an applied coating on the inside. Yes, that means digging the wall out and installing a proper drain system, and possibly an appropriate asphaltic (or other) spray-on dampproofing membrane. That drain system should tie into a sump pit on the interior of the foundation, and that sump should be piped out and away from the home. Sounds like your sump pit isn't connected to an exterior perimeter footing drain...Or at least an effective one. Drains in window wells aren't required by code but they're a good idea. They normally tee into the perimeter footing drain.

You're not getting moisture or humidity, you're getting water. That can't be solved by painting DryLok on the inside of the wall or by shooting epoxy into the cracks. The water will find a way in. You want to make it so it never gets to your concrete in the first place.

You can waterproof the interior until you're blue in the face and the hydrostatic pressure of the water itself and the water-laden soil pressing against the foundation will certainly cause foundation damage.

Can't blame the seller that much in my opinion. Any competent inspector should've seen the signs. I doubt you have much recourse against them.


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Old 09-17-2009, 05:31 AM   #3
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french drain, as its commonly understood today, is a collection system for collecting leaking water which's then drain'd thru gravity OR mechanical removal,,, in general, its impossible to prevent leaking water outside,,, yes, gutter redirection & positive grading's important but consider that leaking water's had time to construct underground waterways always running downhill & taking the path of least resistance usually thru the less compacted backfill against your foundation walls.

was the crk epoxied on the surface OR injected into the wall thru a drilled hole intersecting the crk 1/2way thru the wall as should've been done ? ? ? we generally use hydrophyllic polyurethane grout on conc walls to stop leaks; fr drains on block,,, its possible this is d-i-y work HOWEVER gaining experience is not w/o a couple yrs behind you.

i'll wager the non-functioning pipes're silt-plugg'd,,, window well drains are easy to install HOWEVER they're normally drained into fr drain systems,,, code doesn't call for those - have you tried the plastic covers avail at apron stores ? ? ?

buyers're liars & sellers're worse see what they claim when you sue in small claims ct,,, also sue the home inspector, realtor, bank, mortgage broker - ANYONE w/pockets then again, maybe the prev owners only lived there during dry times guess why builder's home warranties only allow leaking bsmt claims during the 1st yr ? ? ?

'mite mentions exterior work - always worthwhile HOWEVER its expensive & might not alleviate rising water table - not likely if you have leaking wall crks rather'n wtr coming UP thru the floor, tho.

bsmt wtrproofing's still a combination of art, science, smoke, & mirrors,,, the industry's ' inspectors ' (salesmen) seem to have varying shades of ethics but that's not uncommon or ever was,,, you might try nawsc for some help or more information,,, we had a very successful operation in nj however we never hit 100% on the 1st try,,, good luck

ps - this isn't the 1st time 'mite & i've disagreed on points yet his post's relevant & honest, too !
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:07 AM   #4
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What do you think about this system? I have heard that it works when done properly, but have never seen it used.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:16 PM   #5
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looks like ours altho we use different brands/styles,,, i don't see that its necessary to use that specific water delivery extrusion,,, we used 4" pvc flexible slotted pipe leading to a 35gal pvc sump & a pump installed in it,,, you should be fine - good luck !

don't forget to slope the pipe - it helps water seek its own level running downhill,,, 1":10'
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basement , leak , seller , system , waterproof

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