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The Irish Doggy

Water in the finished basement - arrg

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So, the Mrs. and I discover a quarter of the carpet is soaked in the finished part of the basement last night. :wacko: Thankfully, we were only using if for storage and we didn't lose anything of significant value. Like many of you, we've had some heavy downpours in the Cincy area this last week.

 

I know the problem is not grading around the foundation, clogged gutters, or downspout placement. So I figure it has to be hydrostatic pressure or a new crack in the foundation. The water doesn't seem to originate from one spot in the wall and the drywall is dry, so probably not the foundation. At any rate, I was planning to make the area into a kids play area and big screen movie watching. Obviously I need to take care of the water problems first which probably means drain tile along the basement perimeter.

 

I already have a sump pump and backup (about 3 years old and working fine) installed in the utility room portion of the basement (approx. 10x20' room)

 

Any ideas on what it would cost to extend the sump pump drainage to the finished area to get coverage for the whole basement (roughly 100' of wall perimeter)? Will the finished (drywalled) foundation walls mean extra cost? My gut says it will and that I'll be replacing at least the bottom few feet of drywall all the way around the basement. The rug and pad are already a lost cause, but we wanted to replace that anyway.

 

Is this an insurance situation? I'm hesitant to call and say anything for fear of jacked up rates even if we don't make a claim.

 

Any insight and experiences welcome. TIA

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How old is the house?

 

They probably didn't do a good job at water proofing the block or concrete that is below grade. In cases like this, to keep it from flooding again, you may have to dig out around the perimeter of the wall below the point where the foundation and wall meet and re-waterproof it (or waterproof it for the first time.)

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How old is the house?

 

They probably didn't do a good job at water proofing the block or concrete that is below grade. In cases like this, to keep it from flooding again, you may have to dig out around the perimeter of the wall below the point where the foundation and wall meet and re-waterproof it (or waterproof it for the first time.)

 

You will also want to replace any wet dry wall or get a dehumidifier and fan on it quickly to get rid of any potential mold.

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You will also want to replace any wet dry wall or get a dehumidifier and fan on it quickly to get rid of any potential mold.

 

Done.

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Built 1973.

 

Just so I have this correct, before I cause you any problems. You have a retaining wall that is block or concrete that goes under ground, correct? This block/concrete wall comes above ground at some point and is at least 3 to 6 inches above the ground at the least exposed point?

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How old is the house?

 

They probably didn't do a good job at water proofing the block or concrete that is below grade. In cases like this, to keep it from flooding again, you may have to dig out around the perimeter of the wall below the point where the foundation and wall meet and re-waterproof it (or waterproof it for the first time.)

SEC is right...they cut a lot of corners in the 70's when it came to a proper waterproofing of foundations.

 

But before you have all this done, check the weeping system around your foundation. Could be a failure in one part of the perimeter, since you are seeing the water on the floor and not on the walls. I would have hoped they scoped and checked all that out before they put in the sump pump, but sometimes they don't.

 

I'm sure your ground is saturated with all the rain. It really sounds like the water is pooling at your foundation in that area and isn't being collected into the weeping system to be moved along to the sewer/street/etc. I'm guessing this is a full basement, not a walkout...right?

 

If it was a faulty window well, you'd see it on the drywall. Same with a crack or failure in the basement walls. Best guess is a weeping tile failure or clog. Also, are all your gutter terminations above ground? Or do you have any that dive into drain tile and go into the ground to join up with the weeping tile and out to the street? Are any of those clogged or broken?

 

You might do well to pay for a camera scoping to ferret out the problem before digging up anything. Might save you from digging the whole perimeter and only address that section.

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Just so I have this correct, before I cause you any problems. You have a retaining wall that is block or concrete that goes under ground, correct? This block/concrete wall comes above ground at some point and is at least 3 to 6 inches above the ground at the least exposed point?

 

Yes, concrete. And I'd say 12 inches+ above ground at a minimum around the whole house.

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Yes, concrete. And I'd say 12 inches+ above ground at a minimum around the whole house.

 

Next question (sorry) I'm assuming that you can't see the origin of the leak due to the sheet rock? And Bunz has some good advice going. Have you had an inordinate amount of rain lately?

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I'm guessing this is a full basement, not a walkout...right?

right

 

Also, are all your gutter terminations above ground? Or do you have any that dive into drain tile and go into the ground to join up with the weeping tile and out to the street? Are any of those clogged or broken?

 

Gutters run into a large pvc pipe that goes out to the street. They are flowing freely with no backups. Also, the basement water is on the exact opposite side of the house as the downspouts. Which leads me to think the gutters & downspouts are not the problem.

 

 

More info: The sump pump was installed when I bought the house 3 years ago as we found water in the utility room before closing. I went on my hands and knees on the carpet/finished area along the walls to see if anything else was wet at that time. It was all dry, so couldn't get the drain tile in the whole basement - just that one room. I have no idea what the drainage looks like under the foundation.

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Next question (sorry) I'm assuming that you can't see the origin of the leak due to the sheet rock? And Bunz has some good advice going. Have you had an inordinate amount of rain lately?

 

Right, if there is a leak through the wall foundation, I can't see it due to the drywall.

 

Yes, we've had a couple hugh rains in the last week. Much more than normal even for spring. That's what's also leading me to hydrostatic pressure from below and not a crack in the foundation wall. A crack would leak with most any decent rain, wouldn't it?

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It really sounds like an unusually high amount of rain combined with a weeping system failure on that side of the basement foundation. It doesn't sound like a total failure...just a failure to handle the amount of water you guys are dealing with right now.

 

I'm also guessing you didn't finish the basement...it was already finished when you bought the house. So unless you take some drywall down and see what they did to control moisture back there, you won't know if it's hydrostatic either.

 

A cheap solution would be to just live with the fact that this rain event is a once every 10-15 year thing, get rid of carpet in that area and either tile or linoleum down onto the concrete slab. Both products will survive getting wet without mold issues if it happens again. Cut back the drywall a good 4-6 inches off the floor too. Install durock there and tile it as a baseboard to prevent any wicking up of water by drywall. And then monitor the situation during heavy rainfalls in the future.

 

The only problem with this solution is if they didn't use a liner under the wood and wrap it on both sides of the baseplate. If they set the wood directly on the concrete floor, that could eventually be a problem.

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It really sounds like an unusually high amount of rain combined with a weeping system failure on that side of the basement foundation. It doesn't sound like a total failure...just a failure to handle the amount of water you guys are dealing with right now.

 

I'm also guessing you didn't finish the basement...it was already finished when you bought the house. So unless you take some drywall down and see what they did to control moisture back there, you won't know if it's hydrostatic either.

 

A cheap solution would be to just live with the fact that this rain event is a once every 10-15 year thing, get rid of carpet in that area and either tile or linoleum down onto the concrete slab. Both products will survive getting wet without mold issues if it happens again. Cut back the drywall a good 4-6 inches off the floor too. Install durock there and tile it as a baseboard to prevent any wicking up of water by drywall. And then monitor the situation during heavy rainfalls in the future.

 

The only problem with this solution is if they didn't use a liner under the wood and wrap it on both sides of the baseplate. If they set the wood directly on the concrete floor, that could eventually be a problem.

 

I'd follow this route for now.

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The only problem with this solution is if they didn't use a liner under the wood and wrap it on both sides of the baseplate. If they set the wood directly on the concrete floor, that could eventually be a problem.

 

I should also mention there is a decent fix for this too without tearing out all the walls.

 

If they did an inner wall construction with 2x4's to finish the basement, they also should have nailed the top plate to your 1st floor floor joists. You can augment the bottom plate by cutting it all back to foundation walls at a height to accommodate a thin concrete block (2X8X16...a 4X8X16 would be better if you can find it) + a new base plate. Mortar the block around the perimeter of the floor/wall junction, wrap a new base plate and slide it into the space on top of the block and below your cut studs. Nail the base plate to the studs, bring your moisture barrier up in front of the base plate and up the studs and staple, re-drywall down to the baseplate from where you cut it (tape and mud to marry)....then tile up the side of the block as a baseboard.

 

You've essentially "lifted" the stud wall off the floor in this method. If you are only getting water coming in at the floor line...your studs won't get wet and you'll have no materials getting wet that will mold, mildew or dryrot later. And you won't lose any more square footage than you did building the original wall.

 

Just a thought. :wacko:

Edited by SteelBunz

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It really sounds like an unusually high amount of rain combined with a weeping system failure on that side of the basement foundation.

 

 

Forgive me, my knowledge is probably incomplete. By weeping system, do you mean the drain tile and piping that are supposed to lead water to the sump pump? If so, there is none in that section of the basement (to my knowledge). It is only in one corner of the basement that is the utility room. I've taken up the carpet in the wet area and there are no telltale signs that someone dug up the floor and installed the lines that would lead to a sump pump. The wet area is also on the opposite side of the house as the utility room & sump pump.

 

I'll check and see how the wall was constructed tonight.

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Forgive me, my knowledge is probably incomplete. By weeping system, do you mean the drain tile and piping that are supposed to lead water to the sump pump? If so, there is none in that section of the basement (to my knowledge). It is only in one corner of the basement that is the utility room. I've taken up the carpet in the wet area and there are no telltale signs that someone dug up the floor and installed the lines that would lead to a sump pump. The wet area is also on the opposite side of the house as the utility room & sump pump.

 

I'll check and see how the wall was constructed tonight.

 

It is probably coming through the block/concrete wall, not the floor.

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It is probably coming through the block/concrete wall, not the floor.

 

We're supposed to get another downpour in the next 24 hrs. I'll see what I can see.

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Weeping systems are trenched sections around the base of your foundation on the outside. They consist of a gravel bed with perforated plastic piping with a "sock" on it to keep dirt out. Then backfilled and covered with gravel, then backfilled with dirt. (That's the way they do it now......there could be any number of variations from previous building practices.)

 

The whole "system" wraps your foundation and any excessive water in the soil seeps down toward your house into this trench. Water will always seek the easiest route to travel...a weeping system creates that easy route. Then the water filters into the pipe and is drained away from your house and is generally connected to your sewer system out to the street (in residential locations). In the case of rural land....it is sort of drained to a "leach field" a long way from the house.

 

This pipe is sometimes referred to as "drain tile" because they used to be pieces of clay pipe layed end to end...like tile.

 

If you are talking about PVC (white) or ABS(black) pipe, you are talking about your DWV plumbing (drain-waste-vent plumbing). Your sump pump is connected up to your DWV plumbing, but is better practice to also incorporate your weeping system into the sump too to take care of situations just like yours now. An unusual amount of rainfall and saturated soil with a weeping system that is having a hard time keeping up. That way the sump can take care of the overload around the entire perimeter of your house....not just that one room where it is buried in gravel.

 

Make sense?

Edited by SteelBunz

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What's a basement? :wacko:

 

j/k sorry to hear of the troubles:(

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Thanks again for her help.

 

Opened up a hole in the finished wall this morning. Didn't find the source of the water yet. Appears there is no moisture barrier or insulation between the finished wall and poured concrete wall. The finished wall is made of 2x4s and set about an inch away from the concrete.

 

The only problem with this solution is if they didn't use a liner under the wood and wrap it on both sides of the baseplate. If they set the wood directly on the concrete floor, that could eventually be a problem.

 

Appears there is no liner under the base plate. Wood is in direct contact with the concrete floor.

 

Also saw a bare wire leading into an outlet that I'll need to address. :wacko:

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Update:

 

After some more exploratory dry wall removal and diligent observation during heavy rains, I found two cracks in the foundation walls that appear to be the main culprits. We could have just had the cracks sealed/repaired, but we'd always be worried about the repair failing or new cracks leaking. We decided to just put in the interior drain tile and connect it to the current sump pump. It will cost a bit more $$$, but we don't want to loose another carpet, rip open walls again, etc., etc.

 

I've seen basement water-proofers all over the subdivision this summer. Looks like at least 5 others are having work done so far.

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Update:

 

After some more exploratory dry wall removal and diligent observation during heavy rains, I found two cracks in the foundation walls that appear to be the main culprits. We could have just had the cracks sealed/repaired, but we'd always be worried about the repair failing or new cracks leaking. We decided to just put in the interior drain tile and connect it to the current sump pump. It will cost a bit more $$$, but we don't want to loose another carpet, rip open walls again, etc., etc.

 

I've seen basement water-proofers all over the subdivision this summer. Looks like at least 5 others are having work done so far.

 

Good luck with the repairs. I hope it is the final fix for you guys.

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Good luck with the repairs. I hope it is the final fix for you guys.

+1 Good Luck doggy. With the bad wire and hidden cracks, I'd be tempted to demo the finished basement to check the whole thing. Then start from scratch and make sure it's all done safely.

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