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Old 01-11-2016, 01:06 PM   #1
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My Basement Journey


First post here! A will apologize for the length of this post. But I want to provide as much information as possible to everyone so hopefully I get some solid feedback.

My wife and I moved into our current home in Sept 2013. This is the first home either of us have ever owned. The basement is finished except for part of the laundry room and the utility room. Half of the outside walls in the basement are the block foundation wall and the other half have crawl spaces on the other side. About 80% of the exterior walls are framed and have finished drywall on them (laundry and utility room being the exceptions). We have two sump pump pits, one at each end of where the wall is the foundation wall. I am assuming these are for the external drain tile along the footing outside.

For the first year and a half, no issues with water in the basement. Then in June of last year, we lost power for over 24 hours due to a storm that came with heavy rains when the ground was already very wet. We did not have any kind of backup system so we had a minor flood. Had standing water of about 1/8" wide spread across the basement. Luckily we got dried out and the only casualty was some old carpet in the living room. Since then we have installed battery backups which have worked great! We just lost power again for 3.5 days due to an ice storm just last month and the backups did their job. Had to swap out the batteries a couple times, but that was no biggie.

The next time we saw water in the basement was Thanksgiving 2015. There was a 3ft x 3ft area in the family room where the carpet was wet along the wall. It seems to only happen when there is a ton of rain or fast melting snow. There is a sump pump/sump pump cabinet right next to the affected area that had water in the cabinet from under the wall too. Total area of where the water is coming in is about 4 to 5 linear feet.

One thing I thought about was that where the leak is occurring is dead center on the outside wall so down spouts/gutters shouldn't be an issue. Never seen gutters putting water down on that area. However, the problem spot is right above where the fireplace is upstairs. So I am wondering if the chimney is somehow leaking down the wall, onto the floor and then pooling at the bottom of the wall. Thoughts?

So I called a basement contractor who sells Basement System products. He came out and spent about 2 hours with me going over the inside and outside of the house. We found something that even made my untrained eye twitch. The previous owners installed a baseboard dewatering system along the parts of the wall that are the block foundation wall. I now know that these are used for monolithic slabs, which I am 99% sure I dont have. I also know that they are probably the least effective of all the dewatering/waterproofing options, right next to doing nothing at all. But it gets better. The previous owners (I am pretty sure it was a DIY job) put the drains for this baseboard system ON THE FINISHED WALLS. So in theory, water can move from the foundation wall through the base plate and drywall before it gets to the drain to take it to the sump pump. We also found that they drilled some weeping holes in a few areas around the sump pump so the water would just freely flow into the sump pit. The basement guy had never seen anything like that before. At that point, even with my novice knowledge of basements and waterproofing, knew whoever did that had no idea what they were doing.

So the basement contractor suggested installing a partial interior perimeter system called Waterguard which sit on top of the foot opposed to sitting next to foot. It is partial because it didnt need to be installed on the perimeter where the other side was crawl space. Since I already had sump pump pits, the quoted cost to install was $3200. They'd also take out the crappy baseboard system and plug any weeping holes from that system too. They would need to cut up 2 to 3 feet of the framing/drywall to install the system. I probably have another $5000 in refinishing once they are done.

Almost done I promise! So that brings us to today. I did end up signing up for the Waterguard and they are coming out at the end of this month to install. I did my homework on other internal systems and they all seem to pretty much do the same thing. The main difference being where the drains are positioned - either on top of the foot (Waterguard) or along side the foot (B-Dry). One thing that kinda bothers me is that the base plates cannot be secured to the concrete floor after the system is in because there will only be about 3" of concrete between the top of the floor and the Waterguard. The basement contractor guy suggested gluing the base plate to the floor and then securing the 2 to 3 feet of new vertical framing to the existing vertical framing. He did not suggest using the basement wall to secure the framing. This makes sense as holes = somewhere water can get in. But I have never heard of reconstructing framing like he suggested. Any thoughts on this?

More and more lately, I have been thinking about doing this the harder way - excavating around the house. Its doable at our house as there is enough space between houses, but there obviously would be an impact on everything in the way of the excavation. We need a new deck anyways so I dont mind ripping that up. But I know the overall cost is much higher than the internal perimeter system. I know many people say take care of the issue outside, which makes sense. Don't let the water get to a point where it can come in. Give it somewhere else to go. But I have already heard many times that the outside drains at the foot will clog again at some point and the water barriers they put on the outside of the walls will also fail over time. It might be in a year or it might be in 30 years. And then you have to do it all over again. That was the main reason I went with the internal system. The basement contractor did not observe anything that needed to be corrected outside as far as grade, gutters, etc. He also looked into the crawl spaces and did not see anything that needed to be done there.

So I am at a crossroads right now. I do not have a warm fuzzy that what I have signed up for is the best solution. And the gluing of base plates is something new to me. Not saying either its wrong, I just dont know any better. Could the chimney be causing the issue? Am I a person who tends to worry and over think things? Yes! So maybe this is all just in my head and what has been proposed will work just fine. I am looking for some feedback/thoughts/alternatives. Feel free to ask questions! Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:43 PM   #2
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Can you live with the water for $8200?

Could you put your location in your profile?

I'm not sure how you could spend over $8200 tiling around the exterior of the home. You could have sump pump pits on the outside of the house as well.

Let's go over how a drainage system works in my area, because I don't know where you are located.

When the basement is excavated, there is 3 or 4" perforated black plastic installed so that the top of the tile is flush with the top of the footing. This is done on both sides of the footing. These tile lines are connected on the interior and exterior through the footings. The floor is placed on top of the footing inside after a vapor barrier is installed along with 4" of clean rock, sand, etc.

On the exterior, the wall is waterproofed and hopefully lined with 2" of xps, then a foot or two of clean rock is placed over the tile line and the trench is backfilled.

The tile lines are connected to a sump pit and/or daylighted.

So what is supposed to happen is that as the water table rises, the water hits the rock under the basement floor and flows into the tile line and into the sump pit. On the exterior, the same thing happens, plus water flowing down hits the tile line and flows to the sump pit or daylight.

This system works fine.

So what you may want to do is simply cut out 8-10" of concrete around your interior, install 3 or 4" drainage tile to your sump pit(s) and replace the concrete. You will want to do the same on the exterior if the interior solution doesn't work. Or you can skip the interior and do the exterior first.

When you do the exterior, this would be the time to make any repairs to your basement walls, install any windows or doors, plaster and waterproof the walls and footing, and install xps.

Obviously you will see if there is any tile in place already and you will discover any blockages.

On the exterior, you may want to backfill with more than 1-2" of clean rock. In fact, you can backfill all the way to the surface with clean rock if you choose to.
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. If I spent $8200 and it didn't fix the issue, I would be beyond pissed. That is where I am doubting myself. Have I had the right people out that know what my problem might be? Am I missing something in my plan? I am located in Central Illinois
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Old 01-11-2016, 02:10 PM   #4
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The other thing you can do is look at your neighborhood. Do your neighbors all have the same problems?

Look at your house in particular. Is your sill plate above the curb or below? Some homes in my neighborhood were evidently built in sloughs or holes and they even have detached garages which are above their homes.

Crazy.

Another problem I have seen is that homes in my area have clay tile around the perimeter. In the front of the home, where the sanitary sewer exits, there is a "cross" and the drainage tile enters the same tile as the sanitary sewer.

What happens as a result of this is that when we get a major rainfall, the sanitary system is overwhelmed with storm water and the "storm" sewer stops flowing.

You didn't mention if your sump pit has tile leading to it or if it is just a hole in the ground. I see many like this. They just have some holes drilled in the sump pit liner to let water in.
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Old 05-04-2017, 09:20 AM   #5
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Re: My Basement Journey


Just to bring up an old topic, what route did you take? I am in the same boat
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:46 PM   #6
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Re: My Basement Journey


I am actually glad you brought this back up. We went ahead and did the Watergusrd on the inside of the basement. To be honest, it was more important to get rid of the old baseboard system than actually using the Watergusrd system. The old baseboard system was promoting rot and possibly mold. Luckily we did not have a mold problem once they opened the walls but the framing from the floor 2 feet up was trashed. We had that all replaced.

Almost a year removed from completing everything, our basement is perfectly dry. The issue where my carpet was getting wet was due to a gutter issue. Had a diverter installed in the gutter and problem solved. Also had the grading redone around the house.

Make sure you have backups on your sump pumps. They have already saved me when we didn't have power for 3 days due to an ice storm. Worked like a charm and got about 30 hours out of the battery before I had to swap it out and recharge. I think we went overboard on everything in waterproofing our basement($12K when all said and done). But I do not worry about when it rains or if we lose power again.

My advice is look into possible smaller issues like gutters and grading before calling a basement guy. They will try to sell you a system instead of looking to fix common small basement issues. Hope this helps!
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Old 05-04-2017, 01:23 PM   #7
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Re: My Basement Journey


Awesome thank you for the response!
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:30 AM   #8
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Re: My Basement Journey


'@tojo so does that mean you managed to get the issue fixed up? After all the thought you've put into it, at the very elast I hope that you haven't seen the leakage come back yet. Hope that the money you spent ended up being a worthwhile investment if it solves your water problem at the end of the day. Thanks for updating us and let us know if there are any further issues with it!
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Old 06-23-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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Re: My Basement Journey


Quote:
Originally Posted by tojo78 View Post
I am actually glad you brought this back up. We went ahead and did the Watergusrd on the inside of the basement. To be honest, it was more important to get rid of the old baseboard system than actually using the Watergusrd system. The old baseboard system was promoting rot and possibly mold. Luckily we did not have a mold problem once they opened the walls but the framing from the floor 2 feet up was trashed. We had that all replaced.

Almost a year removed from completing everything, our basement is perfectly dry. The issue where my carpet was getting wet was due to a gutter issue. Had a diverter installed in the gutter and problem solved. Also had the grading redone around the house.

Make sure you have backups on your sump pumps. They have already saved me when we didn't have power for 3 days due to an ice storm. Worked like a charm and got about 30 hours out of the battery before I had to swap it out and recharge. I think we went overboard on everything in waterproofing our basement($12K when all said and done). But I do not worry about when it rains or if we lose power again.

My advice is look into possible smaller issues like gutters and grading before calling a basement guy. They will try to sell you a system instead of looking to fix common small basement issues. Hope this helps!
could you expand on what the original problem was with the gutter?
Are you talking about a downspout diverter on the ground to shoot the water away from the foundation?
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