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Old 04-07-2009, 10:07 PM   #1
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Please Help! Leaky Basement Floor


Hi Everyone,
I purchased an older home that has a partial basement with a crawl space for the rest of the house. An older woman lived there for probably 30 years and was ok with the current system. Current system: Water from basement floor drains to small pit and sump pump pumps out of the house through pipe that is lying on top of the ground exposed. It had a couple holes where it had broken due to freezes. It goes about 30 feet away from the house into a small ditch along the street. Some of the water probably recycles back through. There is not much more sloping I can do with the yard.
My issue:
There is a concret slab for a floor that slopes slightly downward toward the pump. Most of the floor is just damp with the exception of a couple trickles. However, there is one spot where the cement is faulty and there is a constant pool of water that collects. I can see a root that is growing in there. I seem to have convinced myself that if I could just get this area fixed, I could solve the water flow problem. There is a constant little stream of water that flows down to the sump pump and it always runs. (Old pump that seems to have constant airlock.) Would there be a problem with putting a new layer of cement in the basement to cap everything off? Will the pressure of the water table force its way up after a few years? It would probably cost me 1500-2000 to do this. This floor really bugs me. In my ideal scenario, the new cement floor caps everything off and only small amount of water drains off into a new sump pump that I can direct into the main water drain of the house that goes into sewer. ANY advice on this situation would be much appreciated.

Thanks so much!

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Old 04-08-2009, 07:26 PM   #2
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Please Help! Leaky Basement Floor


Good Lord, that's one wet basement.

Off the cuff, I don't think putting in a new layer of cement will do any good.

Moisture will flow through the cement quickly; days, not years.

The water will still find its way in...

For example, if you put in the world's best moisture barrier wall-to-wall, and managed to stop the flow from below, you'd find water seeping from down low on the walls, just above wherever the barrier ends.

Maybe someone else has an idea, but unless you want to spend a large amount of money, there doesn't seem to be much you can do.

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Old 04-08-2009, 10:08 PM   #3
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Please Help! Leaky Basement Floor


It sounds like the sump pump is insufficiently deep. If the pump keeps the water well below the floor slab (at least six inches), the slab should remain dry. You may need to install a second sump in the basement, but this can be connected to the sump with the pump via a pipe set at least six inches below the floor slab. Of course, this requires that the sump with the pump is at least 14 inches, preferably 18 inches, below the slab. If necessary, dig out the main sump deeper, buy a new pump, and set the float to keep the water below the slab elevation at all times.

Connecting to the sewer could be a real problem, most towns do not allow this because it increases their cost for sewage treatment (even though it is only water, running it through the sewer system costs money). You can usually connect to the drainage system in the street, but you need to check with the local authority.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:49 AM   #4
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Please Help! Leaky Basement Floor


Dig your sump sump hole deeper...
make sure your gutters outside are draining AWAY from the house.
make sure you have a check valve on the pipe where the water gets
pumped out of the basement.
get an electric water level meter. that will stop the on/off cycle your pump is experiencing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotaavenger View Post
Hi Everyone,
I purchased an older home that has a partial basement with a crawl space for the rest of the house. An older woman lived there for probably 30 years and was ok with the current system. Current system: Water from basement floor drains to small pit and sump pump pumps out of the house through pipe that is lying on top of the ground exposed. It had a couple holes where it had broken due to freezes. It goes about 30 feet away from the house into a small ditch along the street. Some of the water probably recycles back through. There is not much more sloping I can do with the yard.
My issue:
There is a concret slab for a floor that slopes slightly downward toward the pump. Most of the floor is just damp with the exception of a couple trickles. However, there is one spot where the cement is faulty and there is a constant pool of water that collects. I can see a root that is growing in there. I seem to have convinced myself that if I could just get this area fixed, I could solve the water flow problem. There is a constant little stream of water that flows down to the sump pump and it always runs. (Old pump that seems to have constant airlock.) Would there be a problem with putting a new layer of cement in the basement to cap everything off? Will the pressure of the water table force its way up after a few years? It would probably cost me 1500-2000 to do this. This floor really bugs me. In my ideal scenario, the new cement floor caps everything off and only small amount of water drains off into a new sump pump that I can direct into the main water drain of the house that goes into sewer. ANY advice on this situation would be much appreciated.

Thanks so much!
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:47 PM   #5
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Please Help! Leaky Basement Floor


Thanks for the information. I am attaching some pictures to give a better idea of what I am looking at. The two pictures of the furnace area shows that the floor is just damp. The others show the other end that is more leaky. The basement size is about 16x20. What I would like to do is bury some PVC pipe underground outside. The former owner just had pipe lying on top of the ground that leaks causing recycling back in. I will have to run it quite a ways to get it to the opposite ditch away from the house. What I was planning on doing is slanting the pipe about 1 1/2 in. every 10 feet. My only concern is freezing in the winter. Maybe someone knows more about that. Thanks for the information about re-cementing the floor. I think I will try to get some cement patching material to seal up the cracks where the roots are coming through to at least slow down the trickle. Looking back, I should have been more vigilant about doing my research on this, but we do live close to the Mississippi river and everyone has trouble with the water table. Thanks in advance for any additional comments.
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:43 AM   #6
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Please Help! Leaky Basement Floor


I'm afraid to say so, but you have major structural issues with this house and you bought yourself into a nightmare. This is more of a water issue than would be solved by just adjusting the downspouts...I'd be looking at water table and/or underground springs.

That sump pump looks odd too, Should be full of water...what about the weeping system? probably blocked...

Get some professional help before that column disintegrates. I don't imagine you had the place inspected before you put down your money did you?
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:03 AM   #7
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Wow, that is one patched together basement!

I would definately call a pro to at least get an opinion, as this doesn't look like a DIY job to me. This foundation looks like it needs alot more than more "bandaid" fixes. The crack seems to merely serve as a floor drain, & it's way too small & will always be hard on sump pumps. If I remember correctly, pumps are designed to cycle for 15-20 seconds minimum or they won't last.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:45 AM   #8
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One scenario might be that your weeping system (if there is one) has been blocked by recent or not-so-recent events and therefore it is not draining the water that comes naturally, away from under your house. Secondly, the weeping system that connects to the sump and may or may not be connected to the exterior weeping system is also blocked and therefore your sump pump is useless. Third the sump pump may not even be connected to the weeping system at all and that the water table has risen so much that it has overwhelmed the entire weeping+sump pump systems and therefore you are essentially floating on water like a boat...

If the sump pump/weeping system were working that floor would be dry. Everywhere. The problem could be tackled from the inside by putting down a new sump/weeping tile system around the inside walls. You're looking at >$10K. OR do the same thing from the outside all around but outside the foundation walls. Waterproof the walls while you're there...>$20K.

Look I'm not an engineer but I live on an island where we build basements - plus I do water damage. I haven't done things like this but at least that will give you one man's opinion as to the general direction you may have to go...I just don't think your downspouts would give that much damage and right now I'd say your downspouts are at or near the bottom of the list of things you should be pondering. If you're in the path of an underground stream, then add another $10K to put a berm around your house to channel that water where you want it.

Your name suggests you're from one of the Dakotas. Is this recent floodwater damage? Where are you from exactly?
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Last edited by ccarlisle; 04-10-2009 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 04-11-2009, 06:36 AM   #9
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Please Help! Leaky Basement Floor


looks like a zoeller m-33 pump w/mechanical switch so someone got that part right, at least,,, you need to get some independent footers in the ground for the support post replacements SOON,,, i'd use steel { adjusta-posts } but be sure to NOT install 'em on top of your bsmt floor - they need their own bases/foundations meaning you'll have to break the floor, dig, & pour concrete,,, depending on the water, you MAY have to pre-cast them on top of the floor then place 'em on crush'd stone IF you can't keep the excavation dry due to water table level.

4 rules of water: 1, it runs downhill; 2, it rushes to fill a void { try making a hole in a sink full of water }; 3, it takes the path of least resistance; & 4, it seeks its own level - know, understand, & accept these rules & you can solve any wtr problem.

ps - if you've got underground streams, $10K worth of earthen berms won't do jack unless you're the contractor building 'em

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