We're thinking of hiring a guy (I think he'll use a backhoe) to come dig down below the footings, tile, rubber coat the walls, pea gravel etc. to stop water from getting in. Our house is pretty small and square (apprx. 1200sq ft.) Does anyone have a vague idea of what a project like this may cost? $5,000, $10,000???? Thanks!!!
A properly done drain field around the foundation perimeter is the best way to keep a basement dry. That is best done when the house is being built, and can be expensive after the fact. Prices can vary widely depending on what is actually done, and your area.
Basically, you should have a drain pipe(w/holes) at the footing level, surrounded by a free draining fill(pea gravel), wrapped in landscaping cloth to prevent the system from silting up. The walls will be covered with a water proof membrane(quite a few possibilities), and the there will be a membrane about 1 ft below the top of the grade level, which slopes away from the house with the grade.