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Old 10-30-2012, 03:04 PM   #16
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Window well-to dig or not to dig


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Grading would, in theory, be a 'do it once and be done with it' scenario. Especially if you arranged a drain underground as part of the process to divert whatever might collect further away from the house. A french drain sort of setup doesn't have to take all the water away, just provide a wider area for it to seep naturally into the surrounding soil.

Might seem like a lot of work/expense, but certainly less than the hassle of dealing with water leaking in over and over.
we kind of graded about a year ago. that didnt turn out well. so you dont think putting in a new surface is a better solution?

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Old 10-30-2012, 03:05 PM   #17
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here we go some pics:

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Old 10-30-2012, 03:06 PM   #18
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:06 PM   #19
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:07 PM   #20
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this is level of water now. its no longer rising, which is good news. just standing water. the well is about 6ft high, with the sump pump but its not operational
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:08 PM   #21
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you can kind of see how high water was. the water was leaking in at the bottom of teh window frame (white)
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:46 PM   #22
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we kind of graded about a year ago. that didnt turn out well. so you dont think putting in a new surface is a better solution?
It would depend on how it was graded. The point is to avoid letting water run toward the house. And when it's redirected, get it to somewhere that will let it disperse. This is dependent on what kind of soil is present too. If it's clay soil (like we have) then you can't expect much of the water to be absorbed into it. Putting soil on top of clay doesn't help, the water hits the clay and then follows gravity (downward) along the surface until it hits something else (like the house foundation).

So it's common to run a trench along a line parallel to the house and line it with a french drain sort of setup. Basically landscape cloth, a lot of gravel in the bottom, perforated drain hose, covered in more gravel and then soil on top of it. The point is for water to hit that soil, seep down through it into the gravel and into the drain hose, where it's redirected along the downward length, seeping out into the gravel along the way. If possible it helps to have the end of the drain dump out somewhere else that can take the overflow. On the surface you don't really see anything.

This is also how a french drain at the bottom of your foundation is supposed to work, more or less. Window well drains usually dump into this. This way the water finds an easier path away from the house instead of pooling up down along the foundation, eventually seeping through it. But like any other sort of drain they do need to remain clear. It's not uncommon for them to collapse or get clogged, just as any other sewer drain might. Having them cleaned out is likewise as important.

You've got to determine where the water is coming from any create ways to redirect that water at points farther away from the house. Grading is important, but so is managing rain gutter run-off. Find ways to let gravity do the work of letting the water move away from the foundation.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:37 PM   #23
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thanks for the input-so by putting in a patio or something like that wouldnt that solve any of these issues you mentioned?no clogs, no maintenances, etc.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:23 PM   #24
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You'd need to make sure the water has a way to stay away from the house. Doing something away from the house helps keep water away. As in, having a drain trench when the yard slopes down toward the house serves as a way to catch the water before it gets all the way to the house.

So it depends on where the water is coming from.

Putting a patio down would probably not help. At least not without knowing where all the water is coming from BEFORE putting anything down. Otherwise you run the risk of the problem still happening and then having to destroy the patio to deal with fixing it.

How is the water getting there?
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:03 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
You'd need to make sure the water has a way to stay away from the house. Doing something away from the house helps keep water away. As in, having a drain trench when the yard slopes down toward the house serves as a way to catch the water before it gets all the way to the house.

So it depends on where the water is coming from.

Putting a patio down would probably not help. At least not without knowing where all the water is coming from BEFORE putting anything down. Otherwise you run the risk of the problem still happening and then having to destroy the patio to deal with fixing it.

How is the water getting there?
thanks! yea. so for sandy this time the source is over saturation of the soil. because when it rained before the water would seep through but not enough to cause it to rise in the well much. but the last couple days non stop finally pushed it over the edge. we put a new rood and gutters on 2yrs ago so all of that is fine. there is no leak from upstairs, so its not roof. gutters are clear. its basically just water running against the basment wall/window. so i am 99% sure its surface water. hence my surface solution.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:57 PM   #26
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Yeah, but surface from where else? Water runs down hill. Is there some point where the water is coming down and then draining toward the house?

If there's some sort of down slope nearby that could be collecting the water which then sweeps along the surface layer of soil over toward your house.

Around here we've got a lot of clay. There's only soil for the first 12-18". Water seeps through that, hits the clay and then runs along the top of the clay down toward the houses. I put a trench uphill of one and it greatly cut back on the amount of water that got to the foundation. The backyard had an uphill slope, with about a 12' flat section, most of which was covered by solid concrete patio and some bluestone slabs. Then the lawn sloped up a slight hill for another 50' or so. So a flat patio surface near the house wasn't helping.

The trench went in at about 15' from the house and pretty much eliminated most moisture issues on that basement wall. The interesting thing was the trench didn't dump straight out anywhere. It was mainly just a gravel-filled trench with the landscaper's cloth lining it, filled with about 1' of gravel, then a perforated 4" drain hose, another 2' of gravel then a foot of soil. The ends elbowed and came up to pop-up drain covers. Even with the recent hurricane downpours (much less than the local news hyped) they still didn't pop up with any overflow.

If they'd ever overflowed the idea was to go back and see about draining one side or the other further down around one side of the house. Hasn't been needed because the trench with it's gravel lining is giving the water somewhere to disperse rather than running along the clay layer and against the house.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:12 PM   #27
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so water is leaking in from the inside of the window well from teh rain. what do i do now!!!!!!!
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:57 PM   #28
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Nothing. If you won't listen to advice then youre not going to solve the problems.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:42 PM   #29
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Nothing. If you won't listen to advice then youre not going to solve the problems.
ok so let me elaborate on my last post. first, i dont know if you noticed that i actually thanked you for your post and advice last time. 2nd, water was coming in so i only had 2minutes literraly to make my post today. 3rd, where did i ever say i wasnt listening to advice.

but since you dont really know the whole story anyway its best i dont listen to advice.

if anyone else would like to chime in please do so i am all ears.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:00 PM   #30
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May I suggest you get a new pump into the well before you do anything else?

DC has some low areas with a high water table---ground water---if that is the case no amount of grading is going to stop that well from filling----you don't get deep freezing there very often so the external pump should be safe---

Most modern houses have drain piping running around the outside of the foundation---leading into a pit inside the house.

I'm guessing your home is older and does not have that nice feature---so the well will gather water---with no where to go---except into the window.

So replace the pump($) or dig around the footings and add a drain to an inside pit--($$$$$)

Not what you wanted to hear,perhaps,but the facts as I see them.----Mike----

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