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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think I will take on the project of digging my foundation and better waterproofing it. What are some things I need to do to ensure proper functional water drainage as well as the sealing of the wall itself? I had a few leak issues after a big rainstorm when the ground was still frozen. A lot of people had issues and I've been told to not worry about it and that it's a once in a life time thing (normally we only get rain after the ground has unthawed) but I still want to fix it so that even if the ground is still frozen, I won't get leaks. If I need to double up on the drainage pipe, I will.

Also, what is that black paint that normally is on the foundation, I'm guessing it's some kind of tar paint. I need to put some of that stuff too right? Or is there something better I should use?

Also, is there any danger to having the entire foundation dug up at the same time? I may hire somebody to do the digging for me and then I'll do the rest, as if I do it by hand it will just take forever. is this a project that can be done step by step? I'm thinking if I need to lay more drainage pipe, I pretty much need the entire thing opened right?

Or should I just hire this out completely? I'm just thinking it would be very expensive. What am I looking at typically for a pro to do this job? 1100sqft, about 6 cinder blocks height to dig.

On top of this, I'm also thinking of coming up with some kind of indoor system, in case it ever fails again. With an older block foundation it's just inevitable that there may be some issues. The culpit is the small seam between the block and the floor.
 

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We're in the middle of doing the same project.

The black coating is either tar or asphalt based - probably tar.
There are better things available now.
On the exterior, we used "Sandell", "Air-Tight" - 4 coats brushed on.
(Do a search on "Sandell Manufacturing").
Then drain tile - then lots of gravel (5 to 6 tons).

If you're going to install drain tile; you need to have a place for it to
drain into - sump pit, catch basin, etc...
We dug it out by hand (Oh Goody!) :)
Saved a lot of money!!

We're working on the interior now.
Haven't decided what we're going to coat the interior walls with yet.
Do a search on the following:
AmesResearch
Sani-Tred
Xypex
I worked for a roofing-siding distributor, and they carried Ames roofing
coatings - as far as I know they we're good - didn't know they had
basement waterproofing materials.
Hope this helps!

By the way -
Before we started this, we got a quote from basement waterproofing
companies -
Bentonite Clay injection - $14,000 +
Bust out the perimeter of the basement floor and add drain tile and a sump - $8000
Excavate the exterior, add drain tile - around $6000
We've got about $800 into it so far.
Good luck and have fun! :)

rossfingal
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have two pipes going to a sump pit already, so that part I don't have to worry about. There is some weeping tile as far as I know, but it may be broken somewhere or the wall sealant is just not holding up anymore. That's my guess anyway. One pipe goes to the front of the house, I can see a cut in the crawlspace floor where it must have been added after the fact. It's PVC so perhaps the old clay one broke. The other pipe which is clay goes to the back and the floor has no markings, so it was done at same time the house was built, and after taking pics inside, it looks a bit broken, but not completely breached but I could only see maybe the first few metres.
 

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i'm looking into the same thing OP, and also trying to decide between DIY and hiring out.

based on some estimates i've gotten it seems like they charge pretty high just to dig up dirt and lay some pipe, so i'm really leaning towards diy (hiring out on digging seems like a good idea).

did you ever consider french drains?
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I've also thought of doing that, hire out the digging, and do the rest myself. I've even thought of renting a small excavator, but I'm sure that's not cheap, and never having used one before, I would need some practice beforehand and it would end up taking me a while. There's also the risk of property damage if I screw up, being that I never used one before.

For the drainage to work properly I don't think french drains alone would cut it, I need to control the water that is already at the footings. The french drains would help but some water would probably still get there and have nowhere to go.

Though come to think of it, maybe that's all I need to supplement the existing system. Could I add another drain line around the house, but half way deep? So I could dig maybe 2 feet or so all around except for the front (can't physically get there because of driveway and front cement porch which is also load bearing for the pillars), then add the drain. I would need to dig down in one spot so I can connect it to the line out. Think this would help?
 

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Hmmm. I've been watching this thread for a couple of days now - not because I have the same problem - but because, RedSquirrel, I saw you asked a lot of questions, big questions, important questions to a major undertaking that may well be outside the realm of DIYers - and I wondered if any of the guys I know here who could answer you, would answer you - and I see they didn't.

And that goes to the heart of these boards: a "DIYer" asking for "pro" advice from guys who make their living doing that very thing you ask about. Look, I personally know guys here - almost on a first-name basis - that do this type of work as a living and I know they could give you all the advice and guidance you'll ever need, but I always ask myself after I read some of these posts: "Why should they?".

First this is a major project, something with enormous consequences -and therefore liability - for your home. Do you think someone could explain all there is to consider in such a major project in a 10-minute bb post? In litigation-happy USA? Nope. You need on-site inspection...

Secondly, on the one hand the thread comes off as having the impression that "it's just digging a hole and putting down pipe" i.e. contractors charge a lot for doing easy work - yet the thread readily admits it can't do the work itself....so which way is it going to be? Do you really expect a basement waterproofing pro to post the names of his suppliers, or his methods, his profit margins or his choice of tools - or to admit they're all available at Home Depot and that he lives in a 4000sqfoot mansion with a 40' yacht?

Third, this highly-technical thread seems to be 'money-driven' in the sense that we should be aiming at "saving you money". Not 'doing it well' or 'doing it right'. But doing it for less - as if that alone was the only worthwhile goal. And that, my friend, will only get you problems - as our national renovations hero Mike Holmes often says. If anyone should know that, Canadians should.

If you want it for cheap, fine. If you do, don't expect it to be done particularly well, nor fast. The reward you get for this approach is the temporary good feeling of extra cash in your wallet, when all the while you ought to be rewarded by no water coming into your home. I mean that's why you spend the money in the first place, isn't it?

If you want it done well, with little secrets added by guys who know, who are trained by experience or by suppliers, get appointments with several pros and ask questions...have them explain their costs if you like but don't hold your breath. Or just DIY and find out the hard way...but don't expect that answers to questions like: "do I excavate all at once or side by side?" to be answered readily and voluntarily by pros who have found the answer themselves the hard way and who are now paid to avoid problems.

This is not a knock at you personally - but a dig at the direction of your thread. I don't have a better answer than this: call on the pros for something as complex as foundation waterproofing. The asset, the ace-up-your-sleeve that you have now is the work to be done and contractors who are willing and able to do the work would want to get their hands on that, in exchange for their vision of the job and their views. Don't expect advice for free, as a 'favour' from strangers, unless you are willing to live with it's value.

Especially with CBU foundations...I didn't think that we still had concrete block walls up here north of the border - but if we do, then real special care is called for, for our climate.
 

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had it noted & laid off 'cause we were jammed up for the w/e [ heart attack ],,, keep in mind the 4 rules of water, waterproofing a basement's a piece of cake: 1, it runs downhill; 2, takes the path of least resistance; 3, seeks its own level; & 4, rushes to fill a void ( try making a hole in your tubby tonite :laughing: )

wtr naturally runs down the side of the bsmt wall 'cause the dirt backfill wasn't either graded correctly OR compacted properly - understandable when 1 considers cmu walls have no lateral strength & conc walls take 30days to develop design strength,,, the bldg code HERE calls for a 3mil DAMPPROOFING mtl - NOT waterproofing - often holes appear during the backfulling of the unprotected coating,,m,m w/o getting in cartlisle's 1hr post reply :yes: look on our w/site for pics,,, bear in mind the system is NOW called water MANAGEMENT, NOT waterproofing - waterproofing's done when 1 builds, not later !

the only addl comment needed is IF it doesn't work right, does your better 1/2 sue YOU ? ? ? watch our for acid-rotted blocks - make any necessary underpinnings - don't take shortcuts !
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Don't get me wrong, I realize the complexity of this project, just looking for general things to look for when I do dig. Like when I dig a section up, how do I tell if it needs work? And can I waterproof the wall myself, with what? When I backfill, do I need to use a packer to pack the ground etc etc That's basically what I'm looking for. Just general tips like that. Knowing more details on what I have ahead of me will determine if I should just go ahead and hire this out. This is a critical system so if I need to spend 10k and put it on the credit line, I will, but if it's easy enough to DIY, then I'll go that route. Though just the thought of all that digging and then trying to separate the sand from gravel so I put it back in the right order, seems like a lot of work when I can just watch somebody else do it with heavy equipment.

If the entire thing needs to be redone then yeah I will most likely contract it out simply because they'll have the tools and everything needed to get it done in a matter of days when it would take me weeks, and the last thing I need is a rainfall when the job is half done.
 

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OK, then. It seems like you're asking just the kind of questions that separates a professional from a DIYer...I mean both can dig, the professional knows how and where - the DIYers just digs. Now the same can be said about a lot of items, some of which you mentioned: backfillling for example. Do you compact or not, and if so by how much? What type of soil do you have around your house already - because that will impact the answer to just that one question.

See? it just seems to get more complex as you drill down into the whole process and I just can't fathom any pro giving you advice over the phone so to speak. All a pro like Bill at 'itsreallyconcrete' can offer is a bit of hand-holding and support as you write out the cheques LOL :laughing:

I'm kidding - but I say that ony to point out that years and years of experience (call that "trial-and-error") have made people like him able to speak the truth without snowing you with uselss stuff. But that's mostly all he can offer because I don't think he does house callls to Canada...maybe his wife won't let him!:laughing::laughing:

That's why the best bet is to get some advice for free by calling in bidders for the job and see what they say. Then see if you can tackle the easy parts if there are any - yourself.

Like scoping the weeping system...how old is your house anyway?
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The house was built in 1965. I'm thinking the front was redone at one point, though it's hard to tell, the slab that makes up the front porch, which the 3 load bearing pillars sit on, is probably original to the house. But the front is the only area that shows zero signs of any water issues but the porch may have a role to play there. Everywhere else there is some signs of moisture such as darkness and/or eflurescence. And the obvious one, some places were actual water seeps out between the wall and floor, and a few spots where it comes from the wall itself.

I also need to regrade the ground away from the house but I think I'm beyond that point. Need to dig and fix it first.

I will get a few estimates and go from there.
 

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many times the toe drain/drain tile/collection pipe is installed in & covered w/dirt which soon plugs the pipe rendering it useless other than a well :furious: to hold wtr while it seeks its own level by draining into your/anyone's very fine bsmt :censored:

anyone's system should include soil filter cloth, NOT a filter sock wrapped about the pip NOR the useless compressible foam peanuts/netting/pipe junk,,, bedding & cover stone are also needed to provide mass drainage space,,, we like to include pvc Y's to provide cleanout access - interior OR exterior.

most pro's install their own systems which share many common denominators - this is either due to the aforementioned 4 rules of wtr OR they used to work for each other prior to heading out on their own :thumbup: as you can imagine, diagnosis is the biggest issue - where is it leaking & how best to resolve it
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I got a pro to come by to discuss this. He'll come by again to do a full blown estimate, but he's figuring 10k as being in the low end, so I think I'm looking at 15-20k. He'll be using some special product for the sealing, I forget what he called it, but said it's blue. It's like a pool liner he said. Then foam. Then he'll be redoing the weeping tiles and also adding a 3rd pipe going to the sump pit. So quite a lot of work so time to call the bank. LOL

But it has to be done, and may as well do it right.
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
While I'm waiting for my estimate I'm looking at the DIY route as being an alternate solution, even if I just do "spot patching". At the very least I may dig up one of the problem areas to assess the cause. I suspect it may be the wall and not so much the weeping tile, if that is the case, can I use a product such as this to seal it?

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/black-knight-foundation-coating/901724

The description is kinda confusing as it mentions foundation but it's in the roofing section. I guess what's good enough for a roof is good enough for a foundation? But is this stuff MADE for a foundation?

There's also these:

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/blue-seal-waterproofing-rubber-membrane/901725
http://www.homedepot.ca/product/bakor-aqua-bloc-770-06/901732
http://www.homedepot.ca/product/bakor-blueskin-wp-200/901746

Also if there are visible cracks in the blocks or broken blocks, what is the best approach to fix those first? I'm thinking just coat on some parging cement to make it smooth?

Also, could I make a cut in the mortar slightly below grade, put flashing and a tarp of some sort that goes all the way down to the footing and put the weeping pipe over said tarp? I'm sure there's more than one way of doing this. If I do go with a new weeping tile system, what is better, the black corrugated flex pipe with the slits in it, the white pipe with the netting (I'm guessing that's just black pipe with sock over it) or should I even consider solid PVC? I have seen PVC pipes at home depot that have 1/2 round holes on one side, I'm guessing these are also weeping tile systems? Seems like something solid and smooth has less chance of having a clog or be crushed by the weight of the soil over time.

Also once I'm done, I will have piles of various soil types all over the place and I'm sure at some point it's inevitable the gravel and sand gets mixed. What is the easiest way to separate these? Guessing some kind of grid system, maybe I can buy some rebar and make a filter?

While I'm in there I will probably put foam all around too.

I will be moving to a shift work job soon, 5 on 4 off, or something like that. I will have all the time in the world. My plan B is to code a game like WoW and make enough money to pay for the pro job. :laughing:

Edit: Just measured and there's roughly 4-5 feet to dig. This is actually starting to sound like a doable job TBH. I just need to ensure I am on the right track with the actual waterproofing.

Also should I get a sump pump out when doing this project? I'm guessing I will hit water and want to pump it out especially if I end up leaving the project and it rains.

And maybe the "tarp" idea is not good, the more I think of it. The primary seal needs to be the one doing all the work. If I put anything else I'm only trapping water between two good seals. Eventually one will fail.
 

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that appears to be asphalt emulsion -same ol' stuff that was on the ext of the fnd wall originally,,, we wouldn't use it but, if you must buy something, pick up trowel grade roofing cement,,, you'll also neet some patching mortar & a protection course of hdpe cast dimpleboard,,, evidently you didn't bother to look on our w/site,,, cut in the mortar ( fergawdsake, why ? ) a below-grade tarp ? :laughing: good 1,,, quit trying to reinvent the wheel - use what works,,, there's a lot of pro's who do !


 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The dimpleboard is probably what I've seen then, I knew I had seen some kind of product that looked like a tarp. So does this go over the sealant once it's dry, or does it have to be sticked to it? Just not too sure how the install is actually done. Obviously you can't just slap it on any way or water may get between it and the wall, defeating the purpose.

Also I've seen weeping tile installed various ways. Some people put it on top of the footing, but the guy I talked to said it's best to put it beside the footing (which means digging there, which sounds kinda scary from a structural point of view). Is there any disadvantage to having two sets of weeping tile? If the existing is already beside the footing then I may just add another on top.

I may also just wait and save up money and get the pro to do it, but I at least want to get a good idea of what is involved and decide from there.
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, this is a DIY site is it not? I see this as being no differant than doing a roof as far as the criticalnes of the system. Both if not done properly will cause lot of damage but if done properly will save money and still end up with a good working system. The digging will be exhausting and a crazy task but the rest is not that bad, I'm just trying to learn how to do it properly is all... have to start somewhere.

The way I'm looking at it is, if someone was to offer me 30k to go dig a trench, I'd be there in a flash. While there's more to it than that, as far as actual work other than the digging it's not that bad. Just need to know how to do it properly.
 

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feel your pain redsquirrel.
like i said i want to take up this project as well, it just seems like there really aren't all that many people willing to step by step it for us.
i did buy "The Original Basement Waterproofing Handbook" in an attempt to get a better idea of what i could do myself.. i feel like it was just a regurgitation of what we already know, not really helpful for DIY but for arming yourself with information when choosing a contractor.

myself, i think im just going to seal the cracks around my house with hydraulic cement to see if that helps with the water problem at all. baby steps i guess.
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Interesting, so the other day I mowed the lawn and I forgot to place back the gutter end that makes the water go away from the house.

This "leak" developed in that area. It's a really weird one because it's not actually wet, and it's not dripping. I'm guessing the brick is filled with water and it's just wicking through and evaporating on the surface or something.

I'm starting to wonder if just re sloping the yard might do the trick. Though, a proper system should be able to hold water and not leak. It should basically be a reverse pool.

Someone was suggesting I also dig a few feet only, add ridgid foam from the house and slope away, and this would deflect water away and also prevent frost. One big culpit is the frost as the ground cannot absorb water so it goes between the ground and the foundation instead. Once I get a day off where it's also not raining (rare here) I will dig down and see more what I have to work with. Almost tempting to do it now but it could rain any minute by the looks of it.
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just got the official quote, for $19,775. Not as bad as I expected. I can't afford it now, but I may get it done next year. It includes some tasks I can do myself to save a couple grand. (mostly removal of stuff such as a 12x13 patio slab)
 
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