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Old 08-22-2012, 09:27 PM   #1
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this will probably sound stupid, but here it goes


My partial basement loves to take in copious amounts of water during really heavy rain. The grade slopes towards teh house, and I know regrading would help significantly. However, that would be quite costly. The foundation is poured cement with gaps and crap everywhere. Anyways, I had a dumb idea and just wanted to ask others:

Is it a good idea to rebuild the foundation from the inside? Laying plastic on the current walls and floor to waterproof that, then stack cinderblocks inside (essentially building a second wall). This would also serve to reduce the span of the floor joists by a foot, which would help with the tile floor above, but that's a distant second to being able to actually use the basement for storage and not having everything get moldy.

If that's a crappy idea, any others short of spending 20k that I odn't have to have the foundation entirely rebuilt and such?

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Old 08-22-2012, 10:08 PM   #2
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this will probably sound stupid, but here it goes


What makes fixing the grade so complicated?

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Old 08-22-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
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this will probably sound stupid, but here it goes


Posting some pictures of the outside and in the basement sure would hepl.
Adding that block wall would do nothing but make a nice moldy pond between the two walls.
Far better to spend the time and money on the outside.
Is there's working gutters with long enough down spouts to get the water away from the house.
Has the foundation been sealed outside?
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:24 PM   #4
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this will probably sound stupid, but here it goes


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What makes fixing the grade so complicated?
To put it in perspective, a lot, if not all of the house has dirt that goes above the foundation and rim joists. It's a century old house that has had 3 additions added.

1 room is on a slab that quite obviously used to be a covered porch and has grade sloped into it.

1 room is on a 30" cinderblock crawlspace.

1 room is a partial basement w/poured concrete (this is what takes on the water)

The rest of the house sits on a stone foundation that isn't mortared from what I can tell, and has only about a foot of clearance from the dirt to the 2x6 floor joists that sit on stacks of rocks.

It's a nightmare.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:31 PM   #5
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this will probably sound stupid, but here it goes


could install some retaining walls (either concrete, stone or timber) something like 10-feet away from the house would allow you to lower the ground adjacent to the foundation, and regrade the lot to allow water to run away from the foundation.

Remember water running on the surface downhill typically runs downhill under the ground as well .......
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:48 PM   #6
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Could. I'd have a lot of digging to to. I estimate about 1 foot of dirt goes up the walls. I'd have to remove that, figure out what ot do with the heat pump and such, it'd be a lot of digging but yeah I could do it I guess. It'd have to be done someday right? I just don't know what woud happen with the unmortared foundation part of the house though, if I start removing dirt from outside of it.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:04 PM   #7
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post some photos of each side of the house showing the surrounding grade ..... with a foot clearance on that side maybe you don't have to remove any

the retaining walls would allow you to raise the ground away from the house so you can direct the water away. I've had to do this on other projects, can be a pain! But would always give you an excuse to rent a BobCat
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:20 PM   #8
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post some photos of each side of the house showing the surrounding grade ..... with a foot clearance on that side maybe you don't have to remove any

the retaining walls would allow you to raise the ground away from the house so you can direct the water away. I've had to do this on other projects, can be a pain! But would always give you an excuse to rent a BobCat
That's the issue: cost. If I remember to take pics I will, but imagine a 200ft slope going towards the house and the grade actually is above the top of the foundations. If I were to move dirt it'd be purely shovel work.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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Cost is always an issue, so you might just want to start with what you can afford for now. Building new basement walls doesn't sound cheap either, so whatever limited funds you have I would put towards doing work on the outside, which is the best way to prevent water from entering your basement.

Number 1 on my list would be gutters and downspouts. Do you have gutters? If so, do they work, and do they send the water at least 10 ft away from your foundation and downgrade from your house? It's amazing what difference functioning gutters can do.

Number 2 on my list would be to check for potential culprits for the water to come in. For instance, I had a leaking bilco door that would let in a lot of water, but the water would run in a very small stream alongside the interior wall and then puddle on the floor 10 ft from the door, making it look as if the water came in a the floor joint. Just because you see water in one area, doesn't necessarily mean that that's where it's coming from. Also, do you have a sump pump? Is it working, and does it dump the water away from your foundation?

Number 3 would be to regrade around the house, which it sounds like you are gonna have to deal with at some point if your grade is above the foundation. That is an open invitation for termites and rot problems.

So whatever money you would spend on building new basement walls, I would apply towards these 3 steps instead, and do as much of it as possible.

How much water do you get in your basement when it rains?
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:56 AM   #10
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Cost is always an issue, so you might just want to start with what you can afford for now. Building new basement walls doesn't sound cheap either, so whatever limited funds you have I would put towards doing work on the outside, which is the best way to prevent water from entering your basement.

Number 1 on my list would be gutters and downspouts. Do you have gutters? If so, do they work, and do they send the water at least 10 ft away from your foundation and downgrade from your house? It's amazing what difference functioning gutters can do.

Number 2 on my list would be to check for potential culprits for the water to come in. For instance, I had a leaking bilco door that would let in a lot of water, but the water would run in a very small stream alongside the interior wall and then puddle on the floor 10 ft from the door, making it look as if the water came in a the floor joint. Just because you see water in one area, doesn't necessarily mean that that's where it's coming from. Also, do you have a sump pump? Is it working, and does it dump the water away from your foundation?

Number 3 would be to regrade around the house, which it sounds like you are gonna have to deal with at some point if your grade is above the foundation. That is an open invitation for termites and rot problems.

So whatever money you would spend on building new basement walls, I would apply towards these 3 steps instead, and do as much of it as possible.

How much water do you get in your basement when it rains?
Time for me to get out the shovel and do some manual labor

Worst I've had before was 10 inches, when the sump pump tipped over. It's happened a few different times. Yes the gutters do work. Some drain to the street which slopes towards a small creek, the rest drain into a piece of pipe that drains away from the property. The worst part is the interior foundation all (where poured concrete meets stone). There used to be an exterior cellar door, before the porch area was converted to a laundry room (at least, that's what it appears). The frame was at one point ripped out (partr of the frame is still there) for that door, but it looks like the frame was built before the concrete was poured...so it's missing some concrete there now. It's a nightmare, and when the water is high enough, you see it pour in.

Otherwise, it seems in through small holes/gaps throughout the rest of the foundation (evidenced by trickling water during the event, and water trails afterwards). These extremes don't happen OFTEN, but on a day when we got 3 inches of rain, yeah, it showed.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:26 AM   #11
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.so it's missing some concrete there now. It's a nightmare, and when the water is high enough, you see it pour in.

Otherwise, it seems in through small holes/gaps throughout the rest of the foundation (evidenced by trickling water during the event, and water trails afterwards). These extremes don't happen OFTEN, but on a day when we got 3 inches of rain, yeah, it showed.
time for some hydraulic cement to patch the larger holes.

for small holes I've found that driving a piece of cedar shake/shingle into the hole and then using hydraulic cement works well. when the cedar gets wet it will expand and fill the hole tighter.

I take it you have a sump pump in your basement?
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:02 PM   #12
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Here's a crappy video.

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Old 08-23-2012, 07:29 PM   #13
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this will probably sound stupid, but here it goes


Yeah, start patching all obvious holes and cracks and make sure your sump pump works and see where that leaves you.

I would also clean up around the foundation regardless of the water issue.

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