Wet basement, nonexistent grading options, clay soil... Lucky me.

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
Hi, all. First post here, so bear with me... I saw other posts about things I never would've thought would be posted in this community, so I hope mine applies (and sorry for the book).

I live in the Midwest in a small town where the county name is literally "Clay County," so it's by no surprise that the soil here has clay in it (a rough estimate might be 20% clay but the soil survey indicated something about "Muren silt loam, 2 to 6 percent slopes, eroded"--it also indicated a 12"-24" depth to the water table but understand that the survey I was looking at applied to the entire county--not my specific lot--so either it's overly general or else I'm an idiot. I mean, I do think I have a high water table but 1-2 feet? That's a little extreme, even considering my wet basement.

Anyway, I own the mortgage to a home that I closed on as a renter after my landlord decided to sell it to me after being diagnosed with cancer that he later passed away from. Me being a naive twenty-something at the time, I didn't realize a leaky basement could be one of the most expensive repairs you can have as a home owner. At the time of renting, the basement didn't even have a working sump pump and the outbound line that was connected to it was a rusty 1.25" galvanized water pipe. Gotta love old homes... I was lucky that the basement only flooded once during my entire time of living here but as soon as I closed on the sale, I replaced the broken pump with a $500.xx metal solid-grinding pump (I've had it now for about 8 years I believe, and it's been a beast). I also got with a local excavator contractor to replace the 1.25" rust tube with a good 2" PVC line that's connected to the city rainwater drain line. That helped things alot.

This basement was dug-out after the home was built back in the 50s (to my understanding). The walls were initially retention walls with original home footers sitting behind about 1-2 feet of earth for support. As if that wasn't enough of an issue, these "walls" were built with old ceramic (rigid) blocks with horizontal voids. Each time it would rain, water would come in like a hot knife going through butter. The heavy rains were damn near terrifying for me (especially for me being a new howe owner).

Here's what the orginal basement looked like after a 2"+ rain amount within 3 hours with the old walls:

As you can imagine, I didn't want to keep going through that... I'm still getting over that one. Ha. But after understanding the concept of bowing walls (2 of which existed in that original construction), I set out to replace 2 entire sides of the basement with a local contractor as the 2 sides leaked the most and had the bows.

Fast-forward to this past November and I wrapped up the 2 new wall construction with the following work being done by the contractor for $36k:
  • A complete dig-down from the outside using a backhoe to a depth that was deeper than the current slab depth (by at least 1-2 feet).
  • Ripped both of the problematic sides out completely.
  • Ripped out various segments of erroneous block and dirt composite areas I didn't need or want (i.e. - the basement had lots of useless areas that were removed to expand the overall size). In the end, this almost doubled the space of the basement.
  • Poured 2 new footers that were, at a minimum, 2.5 to 3 feet wide by about 2 to 2.5 feet deep--these things were HUGE.
  • Rebar inserted up to hip height in the new footers.
  • Placement of actual concrete blocks and mortared in place.
  • External walls were covered in roofing cement and that was then covered with insulation panels. The cement wasn't as thickly-applied as I would've liked but the panels were basically 0.5" Styrofoam paneling they used to protect the roofing cement when the pea gravel was poured into the trench.
  • Installation of a perimeter drain which is also connected to an additional sump pump that was also installed in the basement in the corner of the two new walls making my basement have 2 sump pumps of the same type.
  • Everything was then covered on the outside by pea gravel to facilitate drainage and prevent hydro-static weight.
This work did improve things, but it's not perfect nor does it eliminate all the water like I was hoping.

Here's what the basement looks like now with about 0.5-0.75" of rain in one setting:

Better, but far from perfect.

Sadly, this week we not only had one day where we received 0.75" of rain but it wasn't a day after that when we got hit with another 1.5"+... Oh boy.

When we get that kind of rain, a section of yard that my neighbor owns pools up to such an extent that water from it eventually creeps over against my house and eventually sinks into both my periemeter drain and eventually, my basement via little waterways through the joints and corners.

Here's what that looked like:

I always planned on doing something about the neighbor's creeping water, so once that big rain finally ended the other day, I went to my local Menard's to buy 100 feet of corrugated-perforated 4" drain (black) pipe with a small circular surface grate that has the diameter port size of a baseball. A specific spot in my driveway is where the creep-over happens, so I decided to place the surface grate right at the location at surface level (with a small half-moon berm built up around it to prevent water from bypassing it). I then buried the drain line outward towards the street rainwater drain with the street drain entry being about 1-1.5 feet below the grate portal height. I tested for gravity in the trench I dug before putting the pipe in and it carried the water away despite the little grade I had to work with. So I went with it and put the pipe on top of a small bed of pea gravel and topped everything off with a mixture of both pea gravel and driveway rock (to both prevent compacting but also to extend the amount of rock I had available to me to work with). We'll see if it works. I think it will as long as the water enters the port.

So assuming for a second that the creep-over issue is fixed, that leaves the remaining issue of water entering the basement.

I've spoken to the contractor that did the 2 basement walls about the water I'm seeing and he believes it's coming in from the joints and the corners where the old basement meets his new walls. I think he's basically correct but he's suggested installing some French drains as a means to capture the water, which I'm leaning towards doing as long as they make use of both drip board as well as weep holes. Anything that escapes that shouldn't be much whereby the water that is captured just gets pumped out.

My questions for any of you with experience with this are as follows:
  • Have any of you installed any internal basement drain lines that use both drip board encapsulation as well as weep holes, and if so, how did they do? For reference, I'm thinking about this kind of internal drain system:
  • What impact to any water should I expect from a good dehumidifier? I haven't had one in this basement during my entire time living here. I always planned on getting one but due to other obligations, never got to it. Well, that's about to change and my eyes are set on this model but I'm a little concerned about what kind of ding I should expect to my electric bill from it. (My basement is about 900 square feet, so judging from the product info, it seems overkill but that's on purpose--I want a big gun if it means taking out a lot of moisture, quicker.)

  • My yard has very little grading capability--definitely not enough to reduce the amount of water I see my sump pumps deal with. It's taken about 2-3 days to get to a normal "dribble" of water at the perimeter drain pipe after that last big rain, and since my downspouts are already directing water 10-15 feet away from my house, any subsoil drainage options I have left appear to consist of using either a dry or wet well... I want something that doesn't require a powered pump to work, so given the clay content in my soil, is there any hope of making a dry well successfully affect any of the water penetrating my basement or reducing that which my perimeter drain has to deal with? Have any of you ever used a dry well for purposes like that, and if so, how did you proceed? Did it do any good? Given the amount of water I see my pumps deal with during heavy rains and thereafter for about 2-3 days minimum, I think the well would have to be no less than a 500 gallon capacity but getting the water captured into it is the problem. I'm not sure how that might work in my situation and if you think this is an option, I'd love some guidance on ways I might proceed with it.

Thanks in advance.
 

MTY

Feeling the Heat
Jan 9, 2019
499
Idaho
At the very least you should have had a membrane bridge the cold joint where the new meets the old. It should extend several feet to each side of the cold joint. Ideally, the basement should have been wrapped in a membrane. Roofing tar will not suffice in that type of environment. Surface water is not under pressure, but several feet down it is.

Are you pumping the sumps into the sewer system, or outside?
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlc1976

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
Hi, MTY.

The sumps are pumping out to the street rainwater drain pipe. The pipe itself is connected to each sump and that runs out of the house (into the ground) which then, after about 35 yards, connected under the street into the rainwater drain line the city maintains.

As for the roofing cement, I was always skeptical of the amount that they used. It just seemed too thin. I confronted the contractor about it and he made it seem like that's how it's always done, and since I'm not the guy who does that work, well, I was at a disadvantage. I mean, I could've pushed him on it but by the time I had a chance to see any of it, they had already dumped the pea gravel into the perimeter drain trench up to waist height. The only way to fix their inadequate sealing would be to dig all that pea gravel out and then reapply either more roofing cement or install something more heavy-duty, such as an actual membrane but considering it would only be done to these two walls, it would eventually find a way around that in time, right? For whatever it's worth, I only see damp spots in the walls during the heaviest of rains (think 1"+). Otherwise, the water seems to come up through the cove joints and in the corners where the old meets up with the new. To be honest, I'm more irritated at the fact that they didn't install any clean-out pipes at each end of the perimeter drain pipe because the contractor put about 3' of dirt backfill on top of the pea gravel that he dumped on the backside. So if that length of pipe ever silts up, the only way to clean it out would be to dig everything up again.

At this point, I'm leaning towards installing an internal cove joint French drain with drip board and weep holes in hopes that this constrains the majority (if not all) of the water I'm seeing. I'm hoping that would get me through 12-15 years as by then I'll have enough saved up to either sell the place or else fix anything that might come up should I be forced to.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,621
Northern NH
I had a house like that in Menasha WI. The whole development had at one point needed basement foundation wall repairs. The grade in the area was dead flat. Water would swell up against the foundation and pushed the blocks in. Prior to me buying it a local contractor dug down to the footings, jacked the block walls back straight and then poured a new concrete foundation outside. They put in perimeter drains tied into a new deep sump in the basement. The sump pumped onto the front lawn. I only owned the house for less than a year and only one spring but the system worked quite well except that the pump ran darn close to 24/7. I think I paid 40 K for the house in 1985 and the bill for the fix from a few years before was 10K so roughly 1/4 of the price of the house.

When I bought my new lot in NH and built my new house I made darn sure I had enough slope so that the basement drains to daylight and my septic system doesn't need a pump.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Bad LP

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
Hi, peakbagger.

Yeah, when I moved in as a renter, the place didn't even have a working sump pump and the two walls I replaced this past November were bowing with horrible leaks all over them, water even spurting out, etc. Once I bit the bullet and replaced the walls and everything else for $36k, it fixed a lot of it. But now I'm just trying to find a way to deal with the remaining water that I still get. Oddly enough, I don't really get anything coming in through the wall itself but rather, at the cove joints (floor meets wall) of the new walls and the corners where the new walls meet with old walls.

My fear is that this remaining water I'm seeing will eventually cause problems down the road, but it would surely have to take years and years for that to happen because I think the perimeter drain is alleviating the majority of water that the old walls were always fighting with and since the old walls were some 30-60 years old and still didn't collapse, I'd like to think these new walls combined with the relief that the perimeter drain is providing will ensure a long lifetime--12-15 years, at least, because that's my hopeful timeline to eventually get out of this place.

The pump I have that's connected to the perimeter drain runs pretty frequently. During a hard rain, it's almost non-stop: it will run every 2-5 minutes, then gradually begin to taper off by the end of that day with the next day usually making it to every 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the rain and saturation amounts. There's usually a constant drip that's enough to ensure it usually kicks on at least a few times per-day when things finally dry up to the amounts you usually experience in August.
 

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
1,176
SW Missoura
I don't have any good advice as to how to fix the water problem in the basement but as far as dehumidifiers I will say that I bought a aprilaire 1830 a year ago to place in my crawlspace after I encapsulated it. Its programmable to a desired humidity percentage of your choosing. It can be ducted to your existing ductwork to run in sync with your cooling and heating unit to dehumidify the rest of your house or just as a stand alone unit. It is pricey. I think I paid $1100 for it but I will say it is worked very well. It's pretty quite for a dehumidifier and it's energy star rated. It is a gravity drain so you would have to run a condensate line to your sump. My first month with it on my electric bill was noticeably higher. Maybe 40 bucks. But now that it has brought the lumber mc down to equilibrium with the air it isn't noticeable.....maybe ten bucks a month..... and it has a 5 year warranty and a washable filter which sold me. They make bigger models but this one removes 70 pints a day and if you are just wanting the basement controlled it should be plenty big enough. Obviously the de humidifier isn't going to solve your problem but it will lower the humidity while you deal with fixing the water intrusion. I'm not affiliated with aprilaire just pleased with the unit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
870
Central Ohio
  • My yard has very little grading capability--definitely not enough to reduce the amount of water I see my sump pumps deal with. It's taken about 2-3 days to get to a normal "dribble" of water at the perimeter drain pipe after that last big rain, and since my downspouts are already directing water 10-15 feet away from my house, any subsoil drainage options I have left appear to consist of using either a dry or wet well... I want something that doesn't require a powered pump to work, so given the clay content in my soil, is there any hope of making a dry well successfully affect any of the water penetrating my basement or reducing that which my perimeter drain has to deal with? Have any of you ever used a dry well for purposes like that, and if so, how did you proceed? Did it do any good? Given the amount of water I see my pumps deal with during heavy rains and thereafter for about 2-3 days minimum, I think the well would have to be no less than a 500 gallon capacity but getting the water captured into it is the problem. I'm not sure how that might work in my situation and if you think this is an option, I'd love some guidance on ways I might proceed with it.
After reading your post, I'm glad my house sits on top of a little knoll and I have slope in all directions. I won't be much help, but I do have a question. Is it possible to run your downspouts to the road or into city rainwater drain line ? IMHO - even though your gutters dump out 10 - 15' from your house I'd say some of that water will eventually make it back to your basement.

My parents have a neighbor that always had problems with water in their living area because the house is split level with a concrete patio out back that is in the ground about 4' or so. The water from my parents back yard drains into their back yard. They actually had a tile put in a few inches below grade to "catch" the water and then drain it out to the street which is in front of the house.

As far as dehumidifiers go. I gave my dehumidifier to my ex-wife when she moved out because I have a HPHW that dehumidifies my basement year round now. It costs me about $5 a month to make hot water and dehumidify my basement. Win win win situation :).
 

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
Thanks for the follow ups.

I've posted about this situation on some other boards. One person urged me to sell the place and run, which made me somewhat depressed but I could understand where they were coming from--seeing things the way they are is pretty disparaging to me and I've been living here for about 7 or 8 years now. On a more optimistic note, another commenter on a different site made it sound like they've seen worse. So I guess what I'm going to try to do is get an internal weep / drip board drain line installed before I make any major decisions like try to sell it. The new walls aren't going anywhere anytime soon and I feel pretty confident that the older walls are secure, too--there's no bows or anything and despite this last big rain that we had combined with the neighbor's runoff, I didn't see a single dribble coming from any of the old walls. So I think structure-wise, I'm perfectly fine. At a minimum, I want to upgrade the HVAC after installing the waterproofing drain with the dehumidifier before I even consider trying to sell this place.

I just hope the waterproofing drain puts my nerves at ease. I'm tired of feeling the anxiety I get whenever it rains...
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,005
Texas
I’ll leave the waterproofing to others who are much more qualified to comment on those aspects, but I just wanted to reiterate the idea that you might want to look into installing a heat pump water heater instead of a simple dehumidifier. It would serve two functions at once and can be a good money saver, especially if your state, locality, or utility has rebates on them to defray the initial cost. There have been several threads on this forum that you could search if you’re interested in learning more.
 

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
Hmmm... I know absolutely nothing about "heat pump water heaters." In fact, I've never even heard of them. I'll definitely read up on them. They sound pretty interesting.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,005
Texas
I don’t have first hand experience with them, and I don’t even have a basement, but I’ve looked into them before. @brenndatomu, do you have any helpful advice here?
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
870
Central Ohio
I don’t have first hand experience with them, and I don’t even have a basement, but I’ve looked into them before. @brenndatomu, do you have any helpful advice here?
I've had one for about 3 years. As I said in my previous post, they dehumidify and make hot water for very little money every month.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,594
NE Ohio
After reading your post, I'm glad my house sits on top of a little knoll and I have slope in all directions
I've had one for about 3 years. As I said in my previous post, they dehumidify and make hot water for very little money every month.
X2!
I've only had the HPWH for 15 months or so, but totally agree with the above...how well the dehumification part of the equation works out would depend on how wet the basement tends to be, and how much hot water the household uses too (HPWH run time)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
Hey,
I can understand your uneasy feeling. Water is not something anyone likes in their home.
I had a client with a block wall and wet basement and they did exactly what you are thinking of doing....they installed a interior drain parallel with the wall and tied into the sump. It is something a dyi enthusiast could handle imo. It fixed their constant issue as far as I know.
Just want to ask a question about your drain lines that are tied into the city owned storm water drain....did a backflow prevention valve get installed? Aka a check valve....I know of many neighborhoods locally that people who tied into the storm drains ended up flooding their own basements when the storm drain becomes overwhelmed without a BP valve.
On the interior side of side of your walls are you planning on adding some sort of membrane to drain into the new interior perimeter drain line? If so what are you thinking of using?
 

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
mcdougy, I hope it fixes my issue. I have numerous pros and contractors coming out between now and the next few weeks to discuss options. It can't come fast enough based on some of the rain I'm seeing in the forecast. Ugh...

That aside, yes, my main outbound "trunk" that both of my sump pumps are connected to have check valves on their connections. I have a very shallow French drain around the front of my porch that I've dug up a bit to watch for backflow (it drops into the city rainwater drain, too) and I've never seen it come back towards the house. (But it's something I'm keeping an eye on. The first time I see it do that, I'm ripping the thing out.)

As for the membrane on the interior side, are you meaning the drip board? The idea I'm running across my main contractor tomorrow that I'm going to try and get him to do for me is along the following lines:

1.) Cut the slab as close to the walls as possible, somewhere around 1-2 feet in width.
2.) Dig up the resulting trench down to and below the lowest level of the slab (at a minimum) but not so far that it goes past the footer depth as that can cause problems.
3.) Dump pea gravel into the resulting trench to form a bed for the drain pipe to sit on. This allows water movement.
4.) Place the pipe into the trench on top of the dumped pea gravel. Not sure if this might be perforated solid PVC or just basic corrugated-perforated black pipe as companies and contractors all use their own preferences, but I'm thinking it will be the same size as my perimeter drain line, which I believe was 4" or 6".
5.) Pour over the pipe more pea gravel to top everything off.
6.) (I think this is what you're curious about.) Fold the "drip board" over all of that in the shape of an 'L' (place the largest side over the trench contents but then fold upward the short side of the 'L' against the wall at least 4" up the wall, drain channels or rivets facing the wall (as that's what the water uses to travel into the trench after cement covers everything later on).
7.) Cover the trench (not the drip board that goes up the wall) with a vapor fabric or tarp to encapsulate moisture.
8.) Finally, cover in cement.

I honestly can't say what the standard material is or will be that I'll use for my situation. That's something I'm going to discuss with my contractor tomorrow to see what he says and explore options, but I know it's just some sort of paneling or board (or matting?) that on one side, is basically flat and on the other side, is dimpled or riveted to promote water movement.

I hope all that makes sense. For whatever it's worth, that very last video I posted above shows how this is installed. I'm not sure what material they used in their application but once you see how it's done, it makes you wonder how any water to evade it unless it somehow finds a way to bypass that interior perimeter and push up in the center of the slab or somewhere past the drain line (which would surely be difficult to do). Man, I just hope that if I install this damn thing, it helps. I've heard good things about this set up, so I'm crossing my fingers. :)
 

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
I meant to say, too, that any DIY'er intent on doing this should exercise special care when making continuous cuts next to the wall. I've watched some videos on YouTube of guys doing this without any issues but many will advise you not to do that and instead to cut "segments" of the trench (leaving connecting tabs of slab to the walls). This ensures support during the work as some say the continuous trench increases the possibility of destabilizing the structure, but I'm not sure. I mean, it makes sense if you think about it, especially where older homes like mine might be concerned because I think some of the walls I might have my contractor do this with might lack real footers underneath them as some of these older "walls" are more so retention walls with original footers behind these.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
904
Northwest Lower Michigan
At the very least you should have had a membrane bridge the cold joint where the new meets the old. It should extend several feet to each side of the cold joint. Ideally, the basement should have been wrapped in a membrane. Roofing tar will not suffice in that type of environment. Surface water is not under pressure, but several feet down it is.

Are you pumping the sumps into the sewer system, or outside?

I’d be furious that for 36k they didn’t use a waterproofing membrane. I would have thought that was standard procedure. For the amount of work to get to it vs the cost of the membrane, seems like a no brainer.

My basement seeps slowly during summer and fall from the base of the walls, and has a poor mans French drain. Basically a water channel glued to the floor and wall all the way around, going to a sump pump. It actually works well. But in your case the proper French drain should take care of the rest, especially since some is coming from a little higher up.

My grandpa’s house was built over artesian wells. It was a lifelong job to him patching the floor and trying to keep the basement dry. Water would shoot out of the floor like a small fountain. I got used to always an inch of water on the floor. When I was little he had a drain barrel out by the road, but when the city redid the water mains they tore it up and by then he wasn’t able to do it again.

I’ve thought about putting in a drain barrel farther in the yard and not relying on the sump pump. No city near me, just the way I like it.

I use a 50 pint dehumidifier. If Ieave the basement door open it runs 24/7 in the summer. So I keep it closed. I started with a Solace. Lasted 1.5 years before the coils rusted out. Then got a GE and same thing,1.5 years and the coils rusted out. So then I got a Danby from ABC Warehouse and paid $60 more for a 5 year warranty. So if craps out in the usual 1.5 years I get a new one for basically $60 I already paid. Well it’s been 3 years and still going strong. And if it lasts the full 5 years then I’m still like 3 units ahead for just $60. Win win.
 

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
I’d be furious that for 36k they didn’t use a waterproofing membrane. I would have thought that was standard procedure. For the amount of work to get to it vs the cost of the membrane, seems like a no brainer.


Depends on where exactly we're talking about... As for the outside of the new walls, I agree: I think an actual membrane should've been used instead of just some thin layer of roofing cement and the 0.5" insulation panels that were placed on top of that before pouring the pea gravel in. I'm not sure if he did what he did because he was trying to cut his costs, cut my costs, take shortcuts, or just didn't know what he was doing... Maybe all of it. I plan on discussing it with him but I doubt there will be much that can be done about it now. He's prone to wanting to blame older construction for any problems I see and unfortunately, there's not a lot I can do about that because in many ways, he's not usually wrong.

However, the corners where the old meets new posed a problem. I mentioned above that the original footers were at shoulder height as this basement was dug-out after the house was built. Granted, the new footers he poured are where they need to be but the older walls that were connected to still have footers at shoulder height, supported by some earth but then supported and faced with retention wall inside the basement. Because of that (and because one corner where they attached the new wall was under a porch), it created problems for being able to do much near the corners in terms of waterproofing from the outside. I do think they could've filled voids better and maybe sprayed some sort of industrial-strength water proofing sealant around said areas as an extra measure instead of trying to seal everything from the inside, but beyond that, the idea of trying to apply a membrane around those corners would've been impossible. I'm not sure how they could've applied a membrane around the walls but then tuck it into the corners.

But I think the should've put something on the joints on the outside. I think that could've helped things, too.
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
702
ontario
Watched the video of the interior drain,... yes the material they are using is what I was thinking. (delta wrap here). Should you consider covering the entire wall with the delta wrap? I did notice water squirting in your first video from the hollow block. I also noticed that on your new walls that covering it completely would be very easy as there is nothing currently attached (electrical,studs..etc.) if something like that was to be done, a person should be mindful of getting nail happy into the block. Every nail into the wall would be a potential leak point. With the delta wrap a person could possibly attach it at the wood sill plate at the top of the wall and let it hang to the trench in the floor.....you then would have a nearly bullet proof wall imo.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,338
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Lots of people depend on sump pumps to keep their basements dry. Even when it's not raining, groundwater wants in so they pump it back out. This is a problem when the power goes out or the pump fails so these folks use two pumps and have backup power often supplied by batteries. Sure, it's nice to say that I wouldn't want to own a basement like that but it's possible to live with it.

Just don't plan on carpeting your basement or storing moisture sensitive valuables. Embrace the wetness.
 

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
I did notice water squirting in your first video from the hollow block. I also noticed that on your new walls that covering it completely would be very easy as there is nothing currently attached (electrical,studs..etc.)

Thankfully, the basement is nothing like what you see in that first video. Because of the new basement work that was done this past November, things are sooooooooo much better than they were in that first video. I don't see anymore of that nightmare and even despite this past week having had that 1.5"+ rain combined with some neighbor runoff, I never once had any squirting water anywhere, nor dribbles or anything the like. Just water seeped in from the corners and the joints (with some of that coming up from underneath some bad parts of the slab.

I'm planning on being out of here between 12-15 years, but during my time here, I'm not going to wrap any of these walls. It'd be a different story if I was wanting to stay longer or make the basement completely dry. But since I'm no longer trying to achieve that, I'm just going to try and live with things unless I eventually decide to do the dimple board / drip board / weep hole French drain thing. I might work towards that this time next year, but after talking to my contractor (who reassessed his work and assured me that everything is structurally fine), I'm a little more at-ease about everything. He said it's just seeping water from what he believes to be a high water table and sadly, there's just not much that can be done about it. He did suggest a 3rd sump pump in the area more prone to seepage (first areas shown in the 2nd and 3rd videos), but I didn't want to do that unless I was absolutely forced to. Thankfully, I'm not forced to do that, so I'm not going to. If I do anything at this point, it's just going to be adding some more holes in my sump pits to allow more ground water to seep into them as well as that internal drain line stuff.


Lots of people depend on sump pumps to keep their basements dry. Even when it's not raining, groundwater wants in so they pump it back out. This is a problem when the power goes out or the pump fails so these folks use two pumps and have backup power often supplied by batteries. Sure, it's nice to say that I wouldn't want to own a basement like that but it's possible to live with it.

Just don't plan on carpeting your basement or storing moisture sensitive valuables. Embrace the wetness.

Yeah, I'm definitely not planning on carpeting anything. Knowing the lay of the land now down there but realizing (after speaking to my contractor who did the wall work) that everything is perfectly fine where structure is concerned, I'm just going to live with it for awhile. Through time (maybe this time next year), I'll reassess my finances and at least install 1 drain line along one of the walls to start with. I don't really want to add a 3rd sump pump in this house--I figure I can make things work with only the 2. But between adding more holes in my sump pit (to allow more groundwater seepage in a slow effort to gradually lower the water table) and the first addition of a drain line, I think that will probably be near all I want to do before working on other things to get this place sell worthy in 12-15 years. Thankfully, I just bought an 8k watt gas generator today from my local Menards and testing her out--she's a beast. So if the power does go out, I should be okay. But even if the basement floods, the house isn't going anywhere. But water still sucks and one of these golden days, my ass is never getting another house with a basement in clay soil within a yard that has no slope... It's been a learning experience but one that hasn't been all bad, either--whenever I'm not dealing with these water issues, the place is actually pretty cool. I just hate seeing water in my basement.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Highbeam

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,594
NE Ohio
Boy I'm sure glad we didn't buy that house down in the low land near the creek...ended up buying a much more expensive (and nicer) house on top of a hill...probably at least 30 ft from my basement floor down to the nearest crick.
 

laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,630
Ashland OH
We have no footer tile, and clay soil with flat or negative grading around our home. I will be working on grading and fixing the exterior of the basement but I found a product called Xypex. It's not cheap but it's a permanent coating that when exposed to water forms crystals in the capillaries. Since I reparged and redpointed our walls and used xypex we've had zero water.
 

Wolf_22

New Member
Mar 21, 2021
10
Brazil, IN
We have no footer tile, and clay soil with flat or negative grading around our home. I will be working on grading and fixing the exterior of the basement but I found a product called Xypex. It's not cheap but it's a permanent coating that when exposed to water forms crystals in the capillaries. Since I reparged and redpointed our walls and used xypex we've had zero water.

Sounds like interesting stuff, laynes69. At some point in the future, I might try to find someone to dig up my pea gravel and re-seal everything more professionally using something like that. I don't think the guys who did the 2 new walls with my basement applied enough roofing cement on the external side of the basement walls and I doubt they put anything on the footers, either. So for now, I'm just going to swallow what I get long enough to save up some cash to install an internal drainage line inside the basement--I'm in the process of getting quotes for it and the highest I've been quoted so far is about $20k, which included a deeper sump pit to lower the water table along with an internal drainage line as well as some additional drainage on the outside of the walls. The most affordable I've seen is about $3,120 and that was just an internal drainage line next to the new walls. The best bang I've been quoted, however, was about $4,500 for an internal drain line (weep holes + drip board) in front of the new walls and along 2 of the old walls (which they'll tie into the original sump pit to act as a backup to my perimeter drain) along with a clean-out of my crawl space followed by a vapor barrier install. I believe this is what I'll be doing at some point, maybe next year at the latest.

Beyond that, and depending on how well it performs, I might just leave it at that. I'm planning on trying to get out of this place between 12-15 years, so there's a part of me that would prefer to avoid sinking more cash into this basement if I can avoid it. But 12-15 years is a good amount of time, so I might revisit the external side of the walls, too. Just have to wait and see how things go.

But if I ever do, I'll be sure to keep your product suggestion in mind. It sounds really interesting.
 

laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,630
Ashland OH
I just wanted to update my post in regards to xypex. The stuff is amazing! We had over 5 inches of snow fall over Tuesday night. Yesterday a majority of it melted into today. The side of the basement that I repointed and parged and applied xypex didn't have a drop of water. I have never had this basement dry in the 16 years we've had the house. There's areas where you can see where the crystals have formed and stopped water. Not cheap, but I will say I'm sold! I want to add, we have no exterior drainage tiles (I want to add some) or internal draining tiles and we have heavy clay.