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Old 02-27-2013, 10:40 PM   #1
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Wet basement


After heavy rains, our basement gets wet.
Our house was built in 1935, west of Boston. I doubt there is any exterior or interior drain tile. I've done what I can outside - new gutters, drained 10 feet away from the house. Our neighbors don't have basement water issues.
There's a covered hole in the basement floor with something I believe is called a Palmer valve. Looking in that hole makes me think the slab was not poured over gravel.
There is hydrostic pressure under the floor. I'm selling the house and don't want to throw away a lot of money...
Would just digging a hole in the floor and putting in a sump pump without drain tile be worthwhile? Is the water going to find a way there?

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Old 02-28-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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There are many different options you can do.

What you suggested is the easiest and lease expensive one. However, you just can't simply dig a hole and put a sump pump in and expect it to solve your water problems.

You would usually pick the lowest part in your basement. As far as would the water find a way there is another situation. Sometimes older houses like yours have a little trench for this purpose running along the bottom inside basement wall footing to a low point in the basement. There is where you would want to put your sump pump. Look really good, does your basement have some sort of a trench like this? There is a name for this trench system, but I can't remember what it is. Very common in older homes.

If not, then you will somehow have to make the water flow to your sump pump. Doing something like that trench idea or putting in some kind of weaping and route it to your sump pump.

Your location is not mentioned and you don't mentioned where the water is coming from or how much is coming in. In the us, sump pumps are plumbed to be drained outside on your property, not tied into your sewer drain.

You can have professionals come in and they can seal it. They will usually waranty their work which is passed to next home owner. Pretty expensive also. This kind of work is never easy (breaking, excavating concrete etc.) and can be frustrating at times. As far as a diy project, if you feel comfortable enough doing it and have the skill set needed, go for it. If not, then hire a pro.

The proper way, like you mentioned would be very expensive. Excavating and redoing all that work would cost thousands. Don't know if you will recoup that kind of money especially with a 1935 house when you sell. I don't what your budget is, but there are plenty of pro's out there who could come up with a quick basic solution that won't break your budget.

I don't know where you are located. In the US, just remember when someone buys a house, a building inspector will have to come out and inspect it first before the bank will finance it. Make sure everything is to proper code for your area.

Others will be joining the post with some other options you can think about.


Last edited by jmon; 02-28-2013 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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Wet basement


Where is the water coming in from? Through the walls? Up through the floor?
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:59 AM   #4
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Wet basement


Thanks, I am just west of Boston.
There is no trench in the basement. There's no obvious low point either...

There must be water under the entire slab...Water comes up from the middle of the floor, as well as a few corners. I don't see how a trench around the basement perimeter would help that...so I was thinking if I just put the pump in a convenient spot, near an outlet and the exterior downspout, the water would just figure out a way to get there?
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:13 AM   #5
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Sounds like a plan. Quick,easy and solves the problem so you can sell. Water in the basement is never a good selling point. Nobody likes that moldy smell.

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Old 02-28-2013, 11:25 AM   #6
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Luckily, our basement seems to dry out quickly and there isn't a mildewy smell.

It looks like a lot of the basins are solid. In my case I think I would need a perforated basin?
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:04 PM   #7
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Well at least your lucky there. That's a good thing.

I agree perforated basin.

Sometimes people just make their own sump pump pit, dig a big hole, get a big 5 gallon plastic bucket (available at most hardware stores), drill a bunch perforated holes all around it (make holes no bigger than an inch. 1/2in should do it), then bury it. Make sure it's deep enough so the water starts filling the bucket. Backfill it with lots of medium crushed stones (not the dirt you dug out) all around the outside of the bucket for drainage, and to help filter out the sand/dirt. Try to keep bucket as level as possible when backfilling. Once your pit is done you can start your sump pump installation. If you save the bucket lid you can even put holes in that for your pvc pipe and make it look like a professional cover.

Or of course you can buy the more elaborate ones. It depends how much money you want to throw at it.

Just a suggestion when installing sump pump; use a quick disconnect with backflow preventer, so when pump breaks or fails down the road it will be an easy swap out for the next home owner. Like everything else, sump pumps don't last forever.

Let us know how it worked out for you, or if you need anymore ideas.

Last edited by jmon; 02-28-2013 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:03 AM   #8
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A freshly dug pit and a sump pump in one corner will probably stop seeping of water up onto the floor within about five feet of that location but water will probably keep seeping up at the far corner of the basement.

You need a perimeter perforated pipe drain system, or gravel under the basement slab, to allow one sump pump to collect water from under the entire slab.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:53 AM   #9
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It all depends on the perc rate of your soil. If you are on clay, water cannot get through it to the pump. I would think a cross cut and a complete perimeter trench with clean stone, and a sump pump in cross corners would do the job. This will require a diamond walk behind concrete saw. Sealing wont work. You need to get rid of the hydrostatic pressure. Must be the water table if your landscaping slopes away from the house. A lot of times people build a mound all around their home with mulch over the years. The result is a wet basement. Check that first
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:44 AM   #10
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I know my parents house gets water in the basement pretty often. Not as bad now since they added some pipes to the sump pump. Reason they have the problem is because their foundation sits down in the lowest part of the land so when it rains it goes to the house. Pretty bad when after a nice amount of rain they will have a nice size pond just 10 feet outfront of their house about 20'X10'x1' deep.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:23 PM   #11
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Once you have a perimeter drain system with sump pump working for a week or so, it is almost unheard of for water to seep up in the middle of the floor. So it is not customary to dig trenches and install drainage pipes across the middle.

The exception would be if there was an underground spring or aquifer directly under your house.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:31 AM   #12
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Even with my parents having piping around the edge of their house going to a dump pump they were still getting water up through the cracks in the floor until they cut up those cracks and installed more piping
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:32 AM   #13
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I'd call in contractors from your area that are familar with your area's water problems. And see what they offer as a solution. Then decide if ti wa possible for you to DIY. You don't want to begin a project like this and find out your solution has now made the problem worse and will cost a lot more money to fix.

Hydrostatic pressure under the slab, would seem to indicate the making a hole in the floor will allow more water to come in.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:50 AM   #14
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Get rid of water pooling up outside around the house within 20 feet first. A dry well can be used but this should be located as far from the house as possible and should have a sump pump inside it to empty it out if it should fill.
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Originally Posted by Jason34 View Post
Even with my parents having piping around the edge of their house going to a sump pump they were still getting water up through the cracks in the floor until they cut up those cracks and installed more piping
This kind of a problem happens if the some or all of the perimeter pipes remain full most of the time:
1. They are clogged in one or more locations.
2. The sump pump does not come on soon enough; you may need to adjust it to come on before the water rises in the pit to cover the open ends of the drain pipes more than halfway.
3. Parts of the perimeter drain pipes are lower away from the pump and where the water keeps seeping up, is lower. (A second sump pump can be put in another corner of the basement)

When adjusting the sump pump, wait ten days before declaring that the adjustment you made was not enough.

In some situations you may cure the seeping water problem with a sump pump adjustment but the pump now runs a lot more often than it did before. This is a normal condition that you will have to live with.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:09 PM   #15
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If you lived in the house and sell it you may have to disclose to the buyer about the wet basement. Check your local laws or ask your Realtor. If you have a disclosure law you may end up in expensive lawsuits down the road if you failed to tell the new buyer.

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