Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation


08:14AM | 08/19/03
Member Since: 08/18/03
2 lifetime posts
I recently moved into a 60 some year old house in Wash DC area. Given the rain, there have been two occurences of water puddling near one basement wall at the joint where the floor meets the wall. I had two contractors come to look, both identified the problem as water seeping from under the existing floor or through cracks where the wall meets the footer.

Contracter #1 came up with a solution of putting a sump pump in the area where the water occurs. Seems easy, cheap, costing around $1000. He said that there is no guarantee water will not leak in in the future and that water that may be in the cinder block walls may leak so he suggested a floor drain system for an additional $4000.

Contractor #2 came up with a much more elaborate solution as well as identifying the problem to be much more severe. His assessment was that there is definately water in the cinder block walls as well as underneath the floor and that the water contains acids from the clay, dirt, etc which damage the mortar of the wall and will lead to structural damage. So... his solution consists of a sump pump system, perforated plastic piping underneath the floor, bleeding the water out of the cinder blocks, blasting mold killing chemicals into the cinder block cavities. All this for $12,000.

Is contractor 2's solution overkill? Seems like a lot more work at a much higher cost. Is it worth it? I do plan to be in the house for many years to come.

Is the acid a major problem in basement water problems? Also, how big a deal is mold inside the cinder blocks? I recently got a dehumidifier and I don't smell any musty odor anymore.

Any comments and suggestions appreciated.Thanks



04:29PM | 08/19/03
Member Since: 08/12/03
3 lifetime posts
Hi Greg:

Although, believe me, I am not expert on this but I have done a lot of research on the topic. I just built a new house and I made the mistake of not sealing the basement floor prior to placing boxes on the floor in the basement. Which caused me a great deal of heart ache. Mold got into everything and I had to throw out a lot of furniture and thing's I held close to my heart. I haven't even started to go throw the boxes because I am allergic to mold and it now has triggered off a bad sinus infection. I didn't not smell the mold right away and when I did it was too late.

I have a sump pump and drains in my basement but the basement is not finished yet and MOLD can be a big destroyer of everything.

Just from what I have read, do you know if the walls and floor of the basement were ever sealed? They say it should be Thorosealed and a vapor barrier coating called Drylock. I am also making sure to paint with Miticide to kill any mold I might have missed and an Inhibitor to prevent re-growth. This might be an inexpensive way to start if you can do it yourself. I'm sure you could find these products in any hardware store.

You maybe lucky not to have mold growing yet but be careful because where there's water or high humidity and you place any thing on the floor that could cause mold to start.

If you already have water in the basement, which I don't have, my problem was high humidity, it might be wise to put a sump pump in. Also, make sure not to have any thing real close to the walls of the basement and that the ground is sloped away from the house, so that the water goes away from it not into it.

I hope that helps a little. Take care and good luck


08:56AM | 08/20/03
Member Since: 08/18/03
2 lifetime posts
Thanks for the response KT. Looks like the basement walls and floor have been sealed. The paint appears to be rather durable and thick. There is not any wetness on any surfaces, walls, or floor. Yard could use some grading along the sides. Perhaps that is where to start.

As for the contractors' solutions, still wondering if it is worth it to treat the mold inside cinder block cavities. Anybody know how much of the mold and wetness inside cinder block walls can permeate into the basement? Thanks



06:34PM | 08/20/03
There is a much better solution to your problems than either of the contractors has suggested. The best way to repair the problem is by keeping the water from getting into the walls or under the floor to begin with.

Excavation of the exterior walls will need to be done down to the bottom of the footings and waterproofing installed on the walls. Then install a French drain around the base of the walls. This will drain all the water away form the house foundation and keep it out of the walls and the basement.

This will not be a cheap fix either but it is the best route to take if you want to truly eliminate the problem altogether.



07:15PM | 08/20/03
Member Since: 01/28/03
693 lifetime posts
Agree completely with Glenn.

The PROPER approach...albeit not the cheapest to deal with water while it is OUTSIDE of the house rather than inside.

Here is a helpful link that if you study IN DETAIL will assist you in understanding your options....


03:00PM | 08/24/03
Member Since: 08/19/03
4 lifetime posts
I had the same problem recently in just one corner of my basement. I had a contractor come in and in the one area of the basement dug up the floor and installed an interior drainage system that uses a PVC type drainage grid into a rock bed that has PVC drainage tubing that goes to a sump pump. I had about 60 ft of this done at a cost of abotu $1800 bucks. I have had in in place since about March, and not one drop of water in the basement yet.

Before this I tried the landscaping route but it didn't work. I think I was just suffering from too much water in the ground in that area.


06:08PM | 08/26/03
Member Since: 08/25/03
2 lifetime posts
My husband and I also bought an older home in the DC area and are dealing with water issues. The estimates so far go as high as $10,000 with all saying the interior drainage system has to be done. I have read that exterior treatment is the way to stop the problem. They say they won't do exteriors until next Spring. I have also heard that the interior systems can clog in the long term. So I am confused. Any thoughts??


10:22AM | 08/28/03
Read my post above. EXTERIOR is the best way to go.


plumber Tom

05:30PM | 09/07/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
801 lifetime posts
Tell contractor # 2 to go somewhere else with his mold scam. 12K for a french drain system is outrageous. A typical inside system sells for approx. $3,800.00 to $5,200.00, depending on the size of the basement. These quotes are for a 150 foot basement. There is alot of competition out there, so get 3 estimates from different companies. The good 1's will offer a lifetime guarantee, that is transferable to the next homeowner should you decide to sell. Ask them where and when they did their jobs. Ask them for phone #'s of previous customers in your area. Questions don't hurt. Poor decisions do. It's real easy for the moderators and others to tell you what you need, but my thinking is: $4,000.00 for a good inside system will suit your needs, versus 40,000.00 to excavate the entire exterior. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck, and if you need other questions answered, feel free to email me..............Tom


10:52AM | 08/24/14
Member Since: 08/19/14
17 lifetime posts
i AM an expert & my pro opinion is any drylock-type of material is suspect especially when sold in the apron/vest store to h/o's anticipating a permanent resolution to leaking bsmts,,, we have successfully used thoroseal, kryton, & xypex - i would recommend them for the right application.

not having eyes on the issue, i like #1's solution AND #2's,,, obviously you'd try to divert wtr away from your home's exterior 1st, tho

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