Leak in basement foundation wall
Hi all: This is the first time I have posted although I have learned a lot from reading posts. I will try to tell this story as simply as I can! I did not see a Forum for basements/foundations specifically, so hope it is okay to post this question in the Exterior forum.
I purchased a townhouse a little over a year ago. It has a small basement, about 300 sf finished and about 250 sf dirt crawl space. The house is about 50 years old and the house is 15 feet wide with houses on either side attached (share a wall).
I was sick for a while last year and air tests discovered mold. The finished part of the basement was demolished. (the unfinished dirt portion is a whole other story!).
Paneling was taken off the walls. The foundation is cinder block. In the rear cinder block wall, a previous owner had punched holes for electrical outlet boxes about a foot or so off the floor.
Shortly after the remediation was completed, a pipe burst outside on my patio. Water pooled in a couple of spots outside (I had installed a flagstone patio with stone dust base). When I went into the basement to shut off the water, I heard water trickling inside the cinder block walls. I looked in those holes that had been punched out and I could easily see water dripping right through the cinder blocks, and water was sitting inside the walls. I was able to pump most of it out with a siphon but some of it still sits near the footers. I believe this was a problem in the past also because I now see that two of the electrical boxes that were sitting in these holes have rust or water marks on them - quite a safety hazard! However, since I have moved in there have been some big rainstorms and no water has come into the house and onto the floor -- it seems to be only in the walls.
So, water is traveling from the surface, apparently around the outside of a window well (there is no water inside the window well), and into my wall. You can hear it trickle when you are outside the house so it must have a pretty direct path. The water that was pooled was a couple of feet away from the house, just past the window well.
Some companies want to install an interior drain and sump pump system along the inside back wall (I already have a sump pump in the other part of my basement, toward the front of the house). They say this is guaranteed for life. This will drain the current water and catch any future water that comes down the wall. Water would still be coming in through the wall but it would be drained.
Other companies suggest excavating the outside of my rear wall and waterproofing it from the exterior. Most expensive option, not guaranteed for life but for a number of years and would hopefully prevent water from coming in in the first place.
Third option recommended to me is pouring concrete adjacent to the house instead of my flagstone/stone dust patio to create a surface barrier so that water could not get into the ground but would instead flow off to the back of the patio away from the house-- I guess it would be sealed to the window wells and the outside of the house that is at/above grade, but how far would it have to extend away from the house to ensure no water gets into walls and how tight a seal is this? This is least expensive but not pleasing aesthetically and not sure if it will work.
Those are the options that have been offered to me, I am really not sure what to do. i am on a very limited budget, so I would like the least expensive option, but I don't want a temporary or sub-par fix. I want to make sure there is no more water coming into the basement, especially given the previous mold history. The basement is poorly ventilated. I just don't know if I really need the entire back wall excavated or the interior drain system.
Clearly there is an obvious pathway from the surface to the wall, but wondering if there is something short of a major project to fix this. Any advice would be most welcome!
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