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Old 07-26-2010, 08:51 PM   #1
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How to solve problem of moist basement walls

I have a house without drain tile and I'd like to finish the basement (ground here is naturally well drained). No evidence of much water ever coming into basement, but the walls are a bit damp. What is required to address this issue before I finish the basement? Will only sealing the inside do? Do I need exterior drain tile and sealant? Would an interior drainage system work?


Long winded explanation:
I recently bought a 95yr old house that, I believe, has never had any drain tile installed. Before I bought the house I asked the home inspector about potential moisture issues - he said there was no signs of any moisture issues in the basement now, and he'd inspected it a few years ago (for a previous purchaser) and there was no sign of the house ever having moisture issues (at that time the basement walls were unfinished). He said that while all houses "ideally" should have drain tile it really wasn't necessary in this case as there was no problem and the ground was naturally well drained. I now want to completely finish the basement. The basement walls were finished (studs w/ drywall) and the floor was a new slab (both done about 2yrs ago, when walls were unfinished and floor was dirt). Also important to note that the basement is only 1/2 below grade, foundation walls are poured (not block) and only some of it is a full basement, the rest is a crawl space. I recently took off some of the drywall (which I was doing for other unrelated reno reasons) and noticed that the building paper was damp in a few spots and showed some signs of mold - also, it looks like in years past someone had put some kind of coating on the concrete that was chipping off. I had a contractor ("waterproofing specialist") look at it and he advised that:

1. I should excavate around the foundation in the areas where the full basement is adjacent to the outside, seal the outside of the foundation, and put in drain tile, a sump pump, and connect to the city storm sewer.
2. In the parts of the basement adjacent to the crawl (i.e. we can't practically excavate to expose the exterior of these walls) he said I should put a sealant on the inside of the walls, cut a 1ft wide trench along the perimeter, and put interior drain tile in, which we'd connect to the exterior drain tile.

I spoke with another contractor that thought the above was unnecessary as there had never been much water coming in (just damp walls), and that sealing the inside of the foundation walls, and stopping the roof drains from dumping near the house (either by connecting to storm drain of just directing further away from the house) would work well. I've been reading a lot on the net about different solutions and have read about Basement Systems products like WaterGuard and heard complaints about exterior drain tile (which I'd thought was the cadillac solution) clogging w/ dirt.

I've been warned by friends that many companies will tell me I need a full blown drain tile system whether I need it or not. I've also been warned that Basement Systems just tries and sells a specific line of products rather than finding the best solution.

My concerns:
1. I want to do this right so I don't end up having to re-finish my basement later. The cost and disturbance of doing exterior drainage is daunting but if it really is needed I'm prepared to do it.
2. I worried that even the most expensive solution (first one I describe) could end up clogging and failing and may not be better than the WaterGuard style solution.
3. I don't know if the drains are really necessary since we've never seen any water in the basement (just damp building paper) or standing water adjacent to the foundation and we had some big rains this year.
4. If I do put in drain tiles, I can't practically do it all from the outside, so is it worth doing it only for part of it and then still doing some from the inside, or better just to use a WaterGuard like product throughout?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:48 PM   #2
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:02 PM   #3
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for chrissakes, go peddle this stuff somewhere else OR buy an ad,,, if its so hot, send me some - we'll try it fairly - if its as you say, we'll buy it AND recommend it,,, til then, sounds like has found this forum - all smoke & mirrors.

no one should have damp walls from exterior water/wtr vapor transmission,,, there might be dampness from temperature differential, tho - do you have ANY on-hand's experience or are you just reading from the manual ? ? ?
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by WaterprooferGuy View Post
this is an easy one...if you don't have any leakage issues caused by cracks you can seal your basement. I recommend a product like the one we carry. Our basement and wall sealers come in an unconcentrated form. When you add warm water and apply the concrete capillaries soak up the sealer and the strength of the concrete increases by up to 25%. You should have no damp walls once your basement is sealed!

Just curious, what is the mixing ratio on these "unconcentrated" sealers?

I'm especially interested in the garage & driveway sealer.........
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:18 PM   #5
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1 : 1, jo - 1 part smoke to 1 part mirror ain't this fun ? ? ?
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