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Thread: Wet basement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    3

    Default Wet basement

    My wife and I bought this old farmhouse a year ago. Its our first house and love it, but we with two sons and hopefully more to come, we are running out of bedrooms. We have a full basement, but its wet, much worse when the weather is wet outside, but always wet. Of course, I cannot finish the basement in this state. We have a sump pump, at least. It appears to be a poured cement floor and walls over, I think, the original stone foundation. The walls weep water in a few spots, but worse yet, the floors seep water continuously. It seems to come primarily from under the floor beam supports. The water is a dark black, as if the water is muddy? Not sure if or should I move the beams safely with the help of floor jacks so I can ascertain the problem and use a cement sealer compound and/or new cement. But also unsure how I'd seal a floor if its still wet? I'm also hoping to reduce the radon level if I seal the floor and walls. Any help would be appreciated.
    I've read alot about this problem before now and know that looking into the perimeter drainage would be a good idea, but I'm not sure how I'd do that. Three sides of the house are surrounded by a wrap around porch and the one side that the driveway is on is paved and doesn't seem to be draining toward the house. The other side of the house slopes away from the house, so I'm not sure how/ where the water is coming from. Then again, the water table seems to be pretty high around here. Thanks again for any help, guys.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Wet basement

    Any chance there is a well or a patch of "newer" cement indicating they filled in a well that has now found other ways to enter the basement?

    Just a thought...

    I used Dry-Loc hydraulic patch to seal gaps and holes in my stone foundation, then coated it with 3 coats of Dry-Loc masonry sealer, along with one coat of Kilz. I didn't have any seeping from the floors, but that solved my weeping walls.

    Of course, as you probably know you want to try and drain as much water away from your house as possible, fixing the root problems, rather than just trying to seal and patch only. Can you snap a picture or two of the basement where the floor seeps?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Wet basement

    Hmmm... the well idea is an interesting one, but I'm not sure. I'm going to keep that in mind, though. I did snap a photo or two and so here we go. It is a pretty good stream of water when its wet. I'm wondering if the cement is cracked beneath the floor supports and that is the reason why it flows so fast. But how to get it dry enough to seal it. I don't think that I've ever seen a sealant that allows you to coat a wet surface.








  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Wet basement

    Does your basement have a floor drain somewhere? No chance it's clogged?

    Mine wasn't nearly that wet, but I bought this model dehumidifier - it removes 65 pints of water per hour.

    Should dry things up enough for more investigation. I got mine at Home Depot but they might be "out of season"

    I would highly recommend this unit. I've had it for 2 months and the only drawback I've found is that it generates a ton of heat out the back of the unit and can really warm a place up. But mine's a workhorse and I love it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Seymour - CT
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Wet basement

    Considering the fact that you plan to finish and use this area and living space, I'd strongly suggest you get a good basement waterproofing contractor on the case.
    You will want to dry the basement, and do it for good, so that you will not have to worry about dampness, mold and smells in the future.
    It seems, by looking at the pictures that you do indeed have considerable amount of water seeping through the floor. And some of it really seems to be coming from the slab underneath the support beams.
    You'd really need to locate the source of water and find a way to get it out of your basement, probably with a drainage system, making sure you do not cause structural damage in the process. And maybe provide a better sump pump system or an additional pump placed on another corner of the basement because the one that is in place, isn't handling the job.
    Which is why I recommend you get a waterproofing spe******t on the case.
    The good news is: you will not need to remove or even deal with the wrap around porch, or dig out your foundations to fix the drainage system. Modern drainage systems can be installed inside the basement to collect all the water and divert it to the sump pump, and then out of the basement and away from the foundation walls.
    A dehumidifier helps eliminate moisture and dampness but will not solve the heavy seepage you have there.
    Sealants and waterproof coatings will not solve it either, at least not for long in your case. These products usually can't withstand the level hydrostatic pressure generated by this much water, and tend to peel off. And if that happens when your basement is already finished, prepare yourself to be growing a mold farm.
    Get at least 3 estimates from reputable companies in your area (many waterproofing companies offer them for free), ask for references and check them, check the business reputation with the local BBB. Above all, don't let yourself be pushed into signing anything by tactics (such as giving you a suspiciously generous discount "but only if you sign up today") if it doesn't make complete sense to you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Wet basement

    Thanks for all the replies, guys. Its given me more to think about. The sump is doing a pretty good job. The floors are wet because it takes awhile for the water to seep down to the pit. Something that I have thought of before was that I wonder where the sump actually pumps the water. There is a hole in the concrete that the sump's hose leads into, but I don't know where it pumps it to. Nor do I know how I'd figure it out. I did try once to pump the collected water into a bucket and haul it outside rather than let it go through the drain hole and it seemed to get drier really quickly, but then again, we didn't have that much rain in that period. But I wondered if it may have found a way to seep right back under the foundation after it was pumped 'out' through the drain. Hmmm. Thanks for the recommendation on the dehumidifier too. I do need one down there soon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Wet basement

    The location of the sump pump is important too. When I bought my house in July, the pump was literally in the very center of the basement, and it had to pump straight up 8 feet, then over 10 feet, made a right angle turn, and went 5 more feet out the side of the house. A plumbing company came in and said it was the most absurd thing they had seen. They brought a jackhammer, dug a new hole in the appropriate corner of the basement (preseumably the lowest) and filled the old in with concrete.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Seymour - CT
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Wet basement

    If I understood correctly you do not see the end of a discharge line for the pump?
    In this case, maybe your pump is discharging water in some subterranean drain pipe. And if it is clogged, which is definitely a possibility, the water is probably being discharged around the house, saturating the backfill terrain and seeping back into the basement. Your pump might be pumping the very same water over and over.
    In this case maybe you should just provide a different discharge line for the pump, making sure it diverts water a few feet away from your foundation.
    Also grading the floor a bit to help divert the water towards the sump pit may be an option.

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