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View Full Version : Fixing a Leaky Basement *warning lots of pics*



Cmudr1
07-13-2006, 04:02 PM
Hi again. Im not sure if this is an appropriate thread to post in, but couldnt really find one regarding water in basements. I am looking to waterproof my basement and eventually add a few rooms down there. Im not looking for them to be completely finished but rather a general work & bar area. What I would like to do is try and get my basement as dry as possible without doing any major overhaulin.
I have to say we have a fairly dry basement except during intense storms and hardly ever accumulate a great amount of water down there except for during flash flood conditions. Now our house was built around the 1930's and has some what a leaking inner perimeter wall. What I mean by this is there is a red brick foundation standing about 5 feet high inside the actual house perimeter. There is an outside foundation wall about 2' out from this inner wall and in between looks to be some sort of sand material. I dont know if this is common construction but it actually looks like the house was built to be about 2' wider all the way around. Am I correct in this or is this just another water barrier the basement has?
What my concern is that during rain this inner red brick gets wet but allows no running water through. Now there is also a perimeter drain built in to direct any water that does come through to the drain. There seems to be a hole in part of the mortar that is about 2 -3" and looks almost like it is hollow underneath of about 2" as well.I dont know how far this gap underneath runs but during heavy rain, water actually comes up through this hole at about a good 2 -3 gallons per minute(estimate). Now if I patch this whole is it going to force too much pressure on other parts and create more leaks, or can I fill it all in with some good waterproof mortar mix? My next concern is that where our hvac is there is a concrete platform that seems to have water coming up from "under this base. Is this fixable with some good waterproofer and maybe some more mortar mix? The water that does leak goes right into the floor drain and causes no harm, but would fixing these leaks actually cause me to have more? All your help is appreciated and Im gonna enclose a few pics to help. Thanx for all, You guys rock!
Chris
http://www.homerepairforum.com/images/uploads/2006-7-13_P7130011_w550.JPG
http://www.homerepairforum.com/images/uploads/2006-7-13_P7130012_w550.JPG
http://www.homerepairforum.com/images/uploads/2006-7-13_P7130014_w550.JPG

Longdog
07-13-2006, 06:11 PM
If it`s seeping down the walls .Locate your spots & you can use dry loc quick plug.I would recommend cleaning those found leak spots with wire brush.Then trust me on this you need to buy a cement bonder to make applying to wall easier.After you have plugged all leaks and this could take several rain storms to determine.Use "dry loc" sealing paint.it`s kind of thick when rolling on.It comes in several colors.I saw what looked like leaks on floor.Look for fine cracks on floor and plug those too.Always remember to have all your down drain spouts with extenders on to bring all water away from foundation.By the way my basement has same problems as yours.I plugged all my leaks but have not painted yet.Good luck!

skeezix
07-14-2006, 01:07 PM
I have a similar problem in my basement caused by hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the foundation. Water flows down to the base of the foundation and fills up along the outside of the wall. As it fills up, the pressure builds and it eventually pushes up through the seam between the foundation wall and the floor. It's like painting rubber cement over a muddy dirty nylon stocking and hoping that it will stay sealed for years to come. If the water builds up and builds pressure it will eventually find a way in.

You either need to eliminate the water from filling in close the the foundation, or your need to allow the water to come in under the foundation wall and then drain or pump it away. You can usually eliminate most of the water by cleaning/fixing/upgrading your french drains and downspouts on the outside of the house. You need to bring the water at least 6 feet from the foundation wall. Or you can have a water proofing company install and inside basement drain system. Basement systems has a really cool system that garantees a dry basement for $6,000-$10,000. http://www.basementsystems.com/

Cmudr1
07-14-2006, 07:37 PM
Thanks for the replies guys. I would like to note that the water does not come down the wall or leak towards the top but starts at the very bottom and works up. I just happened to photo about the bottom 2' of the wall. I can see what you mean about the hydrostatic pressure and that is my major concern. The landscaping around my house has a really good pitch to it, about 1/2 " per foot up to about 8' from the house, and all the gutters and downspouts drain far away from the house. I dont think it is water coming from around my house but seems almost just to be building under it. The other day I actually say an upward spout of water, about like if you pointed a garden hose straight up. That seems like a lot of water moving and building and I would like to be as careful as I can.

Is a "drain" from the hole in the concrete where the water comes in to my floor drain the best answer? It is only about 12' away. Should I try sealing and patching the leaks for now. I really cant afford to have it professionally done but would like to stop as much of the leak as i can. I honestly dont care if I get water leaking into my basement as long as I can control it and dirsct it to the drain. It is just worrying me that some major problem is going to evolve out of this, and I would to be as prepared as possible.

One last thing, I know its probably from the pressure building but would sealing around the raised areas in the center of the floor contribute to forcing a bigger leak somewhere else. I feel pretty comfortable that this one can be easily fixed, and maybe not fully stopped but it usually only relates to having a damp floor never any standing water.

Thankx again everyone. This is the BEST forum around!
Chris

I was going to post some dry pics, but we just had some Serious rain fall today. It closed many roads in town. So maybe tomorrow. :)

Jimmer
07-14-2006, 08:54 PM
By sealing up the cracks you are going to chase the leaks around your basement and then up your walls. If you are "successful" in plugging all the leaks you may then experience a failure of a portion of your floor or wall during the next heavy rainfall.
If you cannot stop the water from getting under your basement floor then my suggestion would be to create a sump hole in the floor and install a pump (you can get them with battery backups in case of a power failure) to remove the water before it gets high enough to dampen the floor.

pushkins
07-15-2006, 06:58 AM
I agree with the previous post, nothing is more true than sealing one hole will chase the water to another hole (or one in the making), what you would in essence being doing is the little boy and the dike scenario.
Even if you succeed in sealing the floor area you will force the water to build up behind the walls and this is one area you DO NOT want water pressure.

Obviously the best solution would be a perimeter drain to get the water away from the foundation, if your house is situated on the side of a hill or slope then you need to direct the downspouts on this side of the house around the house. Again if it is on a hill or slope then a simply perimeter drain on the high side may well solve most of your problems.

A quick and easy fix would be to install more of the water channel that is on the floor in your first picture, install this all the way around the perimeter and in front of the HVAC problem, directing it to a new sump with pump.

As for your "red brick wall" often these were installed in front of old rock foundations or foundations that had some failure to them. In the old rock foundations, many with water seepage, had mortar problems and it becomes to problematic to re tuck the entire wall, so a cost effective solution is to install a new inner wall.
Often even block walls in older homes that had some sort of drainage problem over the years needed some sort of reinforcing (codes water water drainage were not 70 years ago what they are today that's for sure) again sometimes with bowing walls it was easier and far cheaper to install a new inner wall.
I have seen many times old rock walls completely concreted over with a taper outward for support.
I'm not saying this is the case with your home but from your brief description of the wall it seems logical.

Cmudr1
07-15-2006, 10:34 AM
Thanks for the tips guys. Thats exactly whatI was worried about. Building to much pressure outside the wall. So I think I'm gonna open the hole in the floor a little better and seal the channel some more to direct all the water right down our floor drain. In hopes to making a more proffesional looking opening rather than a big 'ole crack in the floor.

As far as the new inner wall, do you think maybe I should drill a hole and have the water directed to the drain as well to help releive pressure off the side of the wall. Now if I do should I drill out every so often or would one little hole where the water usually comes in be sufficient. Now you guys got me worrying about my wall collapsing:eek: ...thanks alot, just kidding.

Is this something I should even do or just stick with floor drain. Do I not need to worry about the walls right now since there is no real seapage, just a damp perimeter. Like I said as long as I can keep the center of the floor dry, I dont care about water entering my basement. It never floods or anything just gets a little wet during heavy rain.

As for your "red brick wall" often these were installed in front of old rock foundations or foundations that had some failure to them. In the old rock foundations, many with water seepage, had mortar problems and it becomes to problematic to re tuck the entire wall, so a cost effective solution is to install a new inner wall.
Often even block walls in older homes that had some sort of drainage problem over the years needed some sort of reinforcing (codes water water drainage were not 70 years ago what they are today that's for sure) again sometimes with bowing walls it was easier and far cheaper to install a new inner wall.
I have seen many times old rock walls completely concreted over with a taper outward for support.
I'm not saying this is the case with your home but from your brief description of the wall it seems logical.

So are you saying there should be the outer wall all the way down to where the floor is? If thats the case I might be able to remove part of the inner wall? I dont want to right now but was asking for future reference. It seems that from close inspection that there used to be a crawl space and they added the basement later. Would the inner wall be from that as well? Is that something that was done?

Thanks again for all your info. You are certainly answering all my concerns.
Thanks Chris

Longdog
07-15-2006, 12:37 PM
You should worry about water in your basement.At least get a few professionals out to give you recommendations and an estimate.Sounds like you might need a french drain like me.I patched for now till I can raise money for one.If I remember right I saw water around your furnace.Ask your neighbours if they have water too.I found we have a underground river on my block.Nearly everyone has french drain.

skeezix
07-15-2006, 12:38 PM
Allowing the water to come in and channeling it to your drain will certainly keep the standing water to a minimum, but it won’t eliminate it. I guess you wouldn’t be any worse off than you currently are, and you would be reducing hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the walls. What I would be worried about in this case is humidity, mold, and mildew. Because air in your house travels from the low pressure zone (basement) to the higher pressure zone (living space and attic), you may be moving humidity, mold and mildew into your living space which can cause allergies and health problems. I suppose you might be able to help control that with a cheap dehumidifier and an air cleaner/purifier. I’m not sure though.

pushkins
07-16-2006, 09:08 AM
So are you saying there should be the outer wall all the way down to where the floor is? If thats the case I might be able to remove part of the inner wall? I dont want to right now but was asking for future reference. It seems that from close inspection that there used to be a crawl space and they added the basement later. Would the inner wall be from that as well? Is that something that was done?

What I am saying is that is "one" possible scenario, without better pictures there is little way anyone can make a call on if you can or cannot remove this wall or any part of it.

If it was constructed as per my post earlier then I would say NO you cannot remove it. I suggested that it may have been built to repair old foundations as either load bearing from the house or as load bearing in retaining the original foundation in place. Naturally if this new wall is helping to stabilize the old wall then removal of it would be extremely problematic and dangerous.

If as you suggest this was a crawl space somehow converted to a basement then this wall may simply be a method of retaining the earth behind it, again removal would be problematic and dangerous without very careful considerations, remember if this wall is holding "up" or "back" anything then removal of the wall will automatically necessitate some sort of new wall be constructed immediately and this is most definately not for DIY'ers.

If you could take some more pictures of the top of the wall and of a larger section of the wall it may be helpfull for someone to at least give a guiding light in what the wall is there for.
:)