Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation

Paul Neimeyer

04:19AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 11/17/02
2 lifetime posts
I live in a row of townhouses in NE with a pour cement basement topped with 2 rows of basement brick. The floor of the basement is a floating floor with foam in the space b/w the floor and the wall. There is a sump pump in basement towards the front of the house. I have been getting water in the basement during heavy rains at the back the house. The wall has a zero clearance fireplace and is flanked on each side with bookcases. It has mainly been coming in on the left side of the fireplace where there is an air-conditioning unit on the outside. The rest of the back of the townhouse has a deck. I have extend the down spouts, sloped the grade of the ground away from the house with gravel and planted numerous bushes around the deck to help absorb the water coming down a hill behind me. I understand that the area has a high water table so all of the water proofing companies have recommended french drains on the inside of the house (there is no where for the french drain to work on the outside of the house). However the proposals differ greatly.

1. Remove the bookcases and place a french drain against the wall, dragging it under the fireplace and putting another sump pump in the corner. Cracks in the wall would also be filled. The gap from the french drain would be left open.

2. Remove the bookcases and place a french drain against the wall and around the fireplace and tie it with the sump pump in the front of the house. The gap for the floating floor would be closed and the cracks in the wall would be filled. So I am afraid if there is a fresh crack in the wall any water would come into the house versus going into the gap.

3. Leave the bookcases in place and place the french drain in front of the bookcases and tie it with the sump pump in the front of the house. The bookcases are about 2 feet deep so the french drain would be about 3 ft from the wall so I am unsure if this is close enough.

Additionally I there is no sign of mold or soft wood around the bookcases or surrounding wall board.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.



06:34AM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 01/01/03
35 lifetime posts
The better answer is always to keep water away from the foundation, rather than dealing with it once it's already entered.

If you've got a hill that's channeling runoff towards your house, it may be a better option to do some intensive landscaping so you can get that runoff directed away from the house. This is more intensive than dumping some gravel next to the house -- it's running a bulldozer to reshape the terrain. Alternatively, digging trenches and putting in drains that direct the water to the sewer system may be possible.

In the long run, blunt-force approach landscaping may be less expensive than any other option. French drains are expensive to put in, and stay expensive if they run to a sump pump.



08:22PM | 01/13/03
Member Since: 12/23/02
18 lifetime posts
If doing an interior french drain, you must place is beside the footings, and have some mechanism to help drain the water into it. The best product for that is a dimpled rubber wall membrane. I've seen this at Home Depot.
If the wall is leaking, it needs to be covered in this product. Just closing the gaps in the drywall will only lead to rot.

I would think 3 feet would be way too far from the wall. I'd remove the bookcase, take off the drywall and studs, apply the membrane and install the drain and route it to the existing sump. Then you'll have to re-frame and re-drywall.
So I think proposal 2 is best, but ask about the membrane.

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