Author Topic: Wet basement solutions  (Read 755 times)

Vic99

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Wet basement solutions
« on: May 18, 2019, 01:19:00 PM »
Been in a 1920 built Massachusetts two story Dutch gambrel house for 15 years.  Never had gutters.  Put gutters on mid April.  Now its mid May.  They work well at diverting the water away from the foundation, however the concrete floor of the basement still has several places where water has seeped through.  This manifests as a very dark gray color, but water doesn't actually pool.  It does not feel damp to the touch, but has what I think is white mold on these dark gray areas.

I'm also getting raised flecks of yellow mold and blotches of white mold growing on various surfaces of stuff I keep in the basement.

I knew that I had to try gutters first, but was hoping to see a greater improvement after one month.

Suggestions are appreciated.  Thanks.


Papa bear

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2019, 06:38:44 PM »
Iím assuming that gutter and downspouts are clear if they are new.

How far away does the water expel from the downspouts?  Are they dumping on the surface or in drain tile? Make sure itís dumping far away. Go outside during a big rain and watch.

If surface, does the grade of the land head away from your foundation or toward it? If drain tile, is that blocked or free flowing?  Fix the grade if needed.

How is the grading of the land around the house in general? Make sure everything grades away from your foundation. Is there hardscaping, such as a sidewalk, next to your house? Is water pooling there? Fix the grade if needed.

What kind of vegetation is close to the foundation? Ground cover? Large bushes? Large trees?  Tree roots can wreak havoc on your foundation walls, especially with a 100 year old house.  Consider clearing away vegetation and fixing root points of entry where water can infiltrate.

Is your foundation block or rubble?  If itís block, does it need to be re tucked? Can you tell from the inside? If not, get a shovel and dig down where you have the most issues and check to see how the mortar joints look. Are there other point of entry where water could get in, like your water main, gas line, etc.?   Fix all water points of entry with hydraulic cement.

What is the makeup of the fill dirt next to your foundation? Is it clay/sand/gravel? Gravel > sand > clay.

Did you do all the easy stuff?  If that doesnít work, I am of the opinion that you should keep water from getting into your house, not just fix the symptom with a sump pump. With a 1920ís house, you are probably not too deep of a foundation that you couldnít fairly easily excavate yourself. If you do that, tuck point all the mortar joints and fill any water entry points with type S mortar, apply a waterproofing material or membrane, and then backfill with gravel.  Make sure you grade away. 

But, if you are sitting on a spring or the water table really gets high, then a sump pump might be your best option. 
 




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FreedomSeeker

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2019, 05:37:27 AM »
We live in a 1920s cape cod with a moist basement. We had a foundation expert out, and he only recommended new underground downspouts to get all the water away from the foundation. We did that. Still has some musty smell but it is less humid (we have a dehumidifier running and it only fills the reservoir once a week as opposed to once every day or every other. I have been told having glass block windows installed helps tremendously but I havenít done that. We are planning on selling this year and I donít want to put much more into it.

The ďmoldĒ youíre seeing is probably just efflorescence and not anything to be alarmed over. You can buy cleaners/grinding attachments to remove it. Patch those areas with hydraulic cement. Then paint the entire walls with drylock. Chances are, youíll be right where you are again in several years. Unless you do some major water sealing (dig up exterior to get a liner, or add in French drains/pumps), the paint and cement is a bandaid fix.



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Vic99

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2019, 06:15:10 AM »
@PapaBear

I can dig out a couple of small trees starting to grow, but donít expect an impact because a couple of years ago, I dug that some of that soil out and put an inch of potters clay against the foundation as best I could.  That seemed to work there . . . That corner was the worst.

I can extend the drainage pipes to 6 feet like you suggest.  Some of that would interfere with years traffic.  I have been meaning to see if it make sense to bury them and extend the pixies further away underground.

Foundation walls are made up of large rocks that were probably on site.  They have cement between them.  I think the real problem now is water coming up from the ground on the concrete floor slab.  Not sure how deep it goes.

There is pooling water that a sump pump would catch.

Vic99

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2019, 06:17:55 AM »
@Freedom Seeker

I have not tried a dehumidifier yet, but as you said, it sounds like a band aid.

Obviously each case is different, but do you remember what it cost for the underground downspouts?  Was that for the gutters or was that something else inside the basement?  Thanks.

FreedomSeeker

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2019, 06:42:35 AM »
@Freedom Seeker

I have not tried a dehumidifier yet, but as you said, it sounds like a band aid.

Obviously each case is different, but do you remember what it cost for the underground downspouts?  Was that for the gutters or was that something else inside the basement?  Thanks.

We already had gutters in place, and the previous owner had under ground downspouts only routing a couple feet from our foundation. - not a great idea in the least-

The company did all new underground pipes from five points (4 corners of the house and 1 point from the detached garage), routing into 1 point onto the driveway and down the street. The total cost was 2500.00

I didnít feel that was unreasonable given the amount of piping, couplers, etc needed to get the job done. It would have taken me weeks as a diy not to mention a lot of frustration. It took 2 workers who do it all day everyday 1.5 days or so.

I wish I would have done this much sooner. Iím planning on repainting the basement in the next couple of months to help sell more quickly/maybe a little more money for little cost on my end. Just a lot of manual labor


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BudgetSlasher

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2019, 07:07:34 AM »
@Freedom Seeker

I have not tried a dehumidifier yet, but as you said, it sounds like a band aid.

Obviously each case is different, but do you remember what it cost for the underground downspouts?  Was that for the gutters or was that something else inside the basement?  Thanks.

I run a dehumidifier in my basement and I have taped plastic to the concrete to test that little to no moisture is getting though.

What happens in my case is with AC when outside humidity spikes inside humidity also spikes. When that happens the humidity gets into the basement and likes to condense on all the nice cool concrete (only that in direct contact with the earth/below grade). This is most obvious on the floor with takes on a mottled look, but still does not feel wet/slippery or even overly damp.

My house does have a perimeter drain which keeps water from flowing under the house (and in the spring with our location in the water shed it is flowing to the river underground and above ground about 25 feet away, in fact up until about 2 weeks ago groundwater was at about 18"). And the house also has a roll on water barrier on the outside of the walls.

If there is enough water in the ground it may still push up from below inside the permitter drain.

You could try one of the interior paint on water block systems. But the people I know who have had them have mixed reviews, some work fine, some seem to fail due to poor prep/installation, and there is some evidence to suggest that pressure from the water/water vapor pushing the paint away from the concrete may eventually lead to failure. 

Car Jack

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2019, 11:57:28 AM »
Things like gutters and grading can work in some situations.  Does the water run away from the house?  Are you in a valley where water's going to pool under your house?

We're in a house that was built in a giant granite bowl.  What's that mean?  They blasted away the granite to make it legal to put in footings and a foundation.  (I'm in Mass on 495, which is all granite).  So while gutters and re-grading helped a lot, when ground wager piled up under the house, it would rise above the floor, up along the foundation.  When down in the basement, I could see water oozing out of the microcracks in the floor.  We solved it with a system where they jack hammered the outer parts of the floor, put in tracks and re-concreted over it.  They steer water into a sump pump which exits the house and goes underground, under the driveway to a point about 100 feet from the house.  The only water we've ever had since has been water coming in from a walkout door.  And that's caught by a garage grate just inside the door going to those channels right to the sump pump.

J Boogie

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 02:41:50 PM »
I have been told having glass block windows installed helps tremendously but I havenít done that.

Kind of curious about this one. I have replaced one of my basement windows with treated bucks and a vinyl double paned hopper window. I have two or three more I am planning on replacing in a similar way.

I assume whoever asserted this was referring to replacing rotted wood windows that leak air. In which case that would make sense, as you would want to keep air out of your basement on hot humid days where outside air would be happy to condense on your walls.

I think a vinyl hopper window would actually be superior because it can allow more ventilation on cool dry summer days as the vent on glass block windows is relatively small.

Anyone have any particular reason to prefer glass block they'd like to share? Though I wouldn't like the inconsistency, I'm open to switching to glass block if the superiority is there.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2019, 06:11:52 PM »
It sounds to me like the water is coming up from underneath, rather than trying to come in through your basement walls. In that case, I would have only mild hopes of improvement with extended gutters. If your basement slab is poured on top of gravel, I would be more optimistic that a sump pump would have a much more significant impact, and at a much lower electricity cost than running a dehumidifier.  If the stuff under your slab has any  level of permeability, the sump pump will get rid of the water under the slab, so it can't wick up through the concrete and deposit minerals on the surface as you've seen.

Vic99

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2019, 07:54:13 AM »
I think I have solved past problems with water coming in through the walls.  The real issue is seeping up through the floor and creating an environment for mold . . . I realize that some of the stains are minerals, but white and yellow molds appear on all sorts of surfaces above the floor, ruining items that I had stored their.

Since the basement concrete slab is somewhat level, should I break through the concrete slab at a couple of the lowest points, create small chambers for a sump pumps and have it push water out of PVC  away from the house?  If so, what would be a good way to do that (video, solid web page, description)?

Thanks

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Wet basement solutions
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2019, 11:15:29 AM »
There are lots and lots of videos on youtube.  For a high-level overview, you can watch This Old House's take on it, and search for other videos for more detailed explanations.

If you decode to pursue this option, I would recommend that you get at least a 30"-deep sump basin, so water has a better chance of draining into it through aaaaaaaaallllll the dirt between the sump basin and the far end of the basement.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 11:18:29 AM by zolotiyeruki »