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JamesPatrick

09:03AM | 10/04/01
Member Since: 02/26/01
35 lifetime posts
Bvlawn
1. The gutter downspout on one side of the front of my 1937-built house used to drain through a pipe buried in the front yard and that ran to the street, exiting via a hole cut in the curb. The pipe has disintegrated, leaving the downspout to empty into the ground next to the house. My question is when I replace the pipe, what material should I use? My guess would be to use PVC due to its durability, but are there other issues I have not considered? It's a straight shot to the street so I do not have to utilize elbows, etc.

2. On the right side of the front of the house the yard slopes slightly from the street toward the house (maybe 6 inches in the 25 feet between the house front and street). From the point of the front of the house to the back yard, the slope increases until it reaches the back yard (such that I have a walkout basement) where it levels back off to a gradual slope. My second question is whether should I put a French drain in front of the house (either under or in front of the flower bed) to prevent the soil next to the basement from absorbing too much water? The basement is currently dry although there appears to be some mould on the lower 8-12 inches of the front basement wall (terra cotta block construction). This is the first house I have owned with a basement and I want to avoid the "moisture in the basement" problems I hear about.

Thanks for any help.

Jay J

08:59AM | 10/09/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi JamesPatrick,

Use DWV-rated Drain Piping.

As for you French Drain question - First, be sure your gutters and downspouts aren't the cause of your problem with water/dampness in the basement. During the next heavy rain, don your raincoat, boots, and umbrella, and watch the water run off the roof. (Watch out for lightening!) Be sure the gutters aren't over-flowing, leaking, or allowing water to run off the eaves vs. into the gutters. And watch where the water runs after it leaves the downspouts. Your downspouts should drain at least 3' from the foundation. AND, the landscape around the foundation should have proper sloping too. It should slope AWAY from the foundation; not towards it or even level. If water is pooling at any point around the foundation when the water exits the downspouts, either extend your downspouts, improve slopage, or 'route' the water totally away from the area around the house. Oh, and make sure you have gutters wherever water is running off of the roof. Re-read my advice and if you must, make a 'list' of what to check for the next time it rains.

The last thing I'd do is dig up around the house (as is evident in my advice.) If you have to do this, you need to put the drain in at the footing. If you have a standard basement, you could be digging down 8-10'! Some folks dig down about 3-5' and install an impermiable asphalt-based material (on an angle that slopes AWAY from the foundation), then installs a drain pipe to 'catch' that runoff at the 'edge' of the barrier, then route that water to a safer place. And some folks dig out about 6" of soil along a 3' wide 'channel' along the foundation, and kinda do the impermiable barrier 'thing' (with the drain pipe at the edge), and fill that 3' channel with plain, old 3/4" gravel. This is the cheapest method but it prevents you from planting anything wherever you have the channel.

There are LOTS of ideas floating around. If the mold/mildew along the inside of the basement wall is wet ONLY after it rains (which implies that as long as the basement isn't being 'fed' with moisture), you could just clean it w/a solution of bleach and water (from time to time) to keep it clean and odor-free. If you want to finish off the basement, well, you'll have more work to do.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

JamesPatrick

07:54AM | 10/10/01
Member Since: 02/26/01
35 lifetime posts
Thank you, Jay. I will use the DWV-rated piping to re-build the underground downspout drain to the street. For future reference, how is DWV different than PVC?

With regard to the second question, I realize I had two issues rolled into one question. One related to the gutters and downsputs. I will check the gutters, etc. as you suggested and repair, re-route outflow of downspouts. The other related to ground slope. The ground definitely slopes toward the house (about 6" down in the 25' run from street to house) so building up the ground near the house to achieve a slope would be necessary. However, I seem to recall reading somewhere that you should not build up the ground around the brick facade of a house (i.e. build up to the level of the concrete basement wall). One reason was that dirt, especially with flower beds using mulch, hold moisture near the brick. Any input on this? That brings me to the mold on the basement wall. The house was vacant four years before we bought it so my guess is the moisture has been slow to grow and is thus more chronic than it is severe. I'll clean it after making gutter/downspout and ground-slope repairs (I noticed a corroded section of the downspout that could pour water dirctly down the brick wall), then I'll monitor it. I would hate to dig up around the house if it's not necessary.

Thanks again for your help.

Jay J

11:19AM | 10/12/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi JamesPatrick,

I'm no Plumber but it's my understanding that the differences are many.

One is: You DON'T use DWV pipe for fresh water lines. DWV is EXCLUSIVELY for Drain Waste.

PVC simply stands for PolyVinyl Chloride. This is the material that the pipe is made of. DWV (Drain, Waste, and Vent) piping vs. PVC for, say, water delivery differ in that DWV is NOT for use under pressure and the other is. Even the 'glues' are different when connecting the pipe. The thickness is different too (since DWV pipe is not used under pressure.) For future reference, just make sure that you're told that the pipe you want is the pipe for the job.

RE: Correcting the landscape at the foundation - You are correct in that you shouldn't set any dirt to within 6" of the TOP of the foundation. Violating this would 'encourage' termites and other bugs to enter the house. When it comes to plants and such being at the foundation, my recommended rule of thumb is that nothing should be 'growing' within 2' of the foundation. This 'breathing room' allows air to flow unobstructed all around the house (to dry the ground), and this area allows the sun to get there (if possible to assist in drying the ground), and also for maintenance of not only the plants but of the house too. What most homeowners do is plant a plant near the foundation W/O realizing that when when it's 'full grown', it's TOO close to the house. So, in short, for example, if you want a bush to stay 2' from the foundation, and at its FULLEST (3 years from planting) it's 2' in diameter, then plant it 3' from the foundation. The math for planting is: 1/2 the diameter of the FULLEST size of the plant, divided by 2, plus 2'. THAT'S where the plant should be planted. Of course, in this example, for the 1st 2-3 years of growth, the bush is going to look a little 'out of place' because it's so far from the house. BUT, when it gets to FULL GROWTH (or to that point where you start pruning it), it will be 2' from the foundation! See how that works? Oh, if you keep to the 6" rule and the plant rule, you'll be OK to keep mulch down. The ground UNDER the mulch will be kept damp as long as you keep the mulch about 3"+ in depth. This means you may need to add more mulch in mid-Summer. (I have a flower bed out front of the house and laid down 4" of shredded bark in April. By June, it was 'compressed' to about 2" and I had to add 3" more. That was just fine for the entire summer.)

RE: The Mold on the basement wall - Yes, be sure your gutter, downspout, and landscaping sloping 'issues' are OK. (Do that 'don the raincoat thing to check it all.) Once you've made your fixes and re-doned another rainstorm, go ahead and clean the wall. 90% of all basement water issues are solved with gutter, downspout, and landscaping 'fixes'. From the sounds of it 'over here', your troubles should go away once you fix any/all of the aforementioned.

For now, my best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!



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