09:06AM | 01/17/05
Member Since: 10/08/04
12 lifetime posts
We are having a hard time ... we live in seattle, so it has been snowing and raining continuously. We've been waiting for a dry spell, but no luck and our basement is wet again! We are trying to make light of it until the rain lets up, another two weeks we've heard. In the mean time, our wet/dry vac has been on for hours.

So, we have not found tar! We are beginning to think that we're really crazy.

I just wanted to know if xypex (concrete waterproofer) is a good one to use.

We don't have a brick house. I am definitely thinking that there's something wrong with our foundation. Can we tar the whole thing?

Thanks again,



12:26PM | 01/17/05
Member Since: 12/25/04
10 lifetime posts
In the spring im going to try what you suggested with the tar and visqueen. about the backfilling with peagravel... are you also putting in a footer drain when doing this? are you covering the peagravel with plastic or something then the dirt on top of it when your done? Thanks...


01:07AM | 01/18/05
Member Since: 03/05/04
26 lifetime posts
Andrea..we only will use what we know will work and last and that is Tar. Depending on who makes it the words 'roofing cement' will be stenciled on the can. I cannot honestly tell ya if that 'xypex' is good enough or will last..sorry. Isnt there a builders supply or a ********** anywhere around where you live? Maybe you could go through the yellow pgs and get some ph numbers to builders supply places and call and ask them if they carry should be in 5 gallon cans and they should carry several kinds(grades).Or call a Bsmt Waterproofing Co. listed in yer Yellow pgs and ask them where you can pick up-buy Tar. And if its been raining-snowing be careful when working in the'ditch', it could cave-in. You don`t want to apply tar on a wet-wall. After your hubby digs that area out,all the way down to footing, use a scraper & wire brush to remove any excess dirt off the wall,you should be able to see whatever the problem is at that point....vertical-step-horizontal crack etc. I would NOT use anything on the basement wall in "hopes" that it will work or told by some salesguy that it will work, ya dont want to go through all the trouble of digging etc and then apply something to the wall that your not sure is going to work.


01:48AM | 01/18/05
Member Since: 03/05/04
26 lifetime posts
as very careful when working-digging underground. For 26 years and in my opinion, this whole thing about 'drain tiles' is way over-rated,over-valued,too much emphasis put on drain tiles and barely any thought put on the real reasons Bsmt`s leak...cracks and other Direct openings into the home. No matter what...there will always be just enough space/room for dirt particles to get into tiles and or through the'bleeder' or't-tile' and get under your basement floor. There is no way to 100% prevent this, the "Outside' tiles was an idea to 'carry-divert SOME water' from the bottom of foundation-footing away and under the bsmt floor. See...when i got into Basement Waterproofing way back...i too was told and believed that..."outside drain tiles were important" and that"diverting water away from house was imporatnt" and that "extending downspouts and raising grade" might solve homeowners that time,as a complete rookie in this trade how was i to know, i only knew what other people told me!! But i gotta say...its all wrong. The whole'thought process' about Bsmt Waterproofing is wrong. I won`t get too deep into this right now in fear of putting you to sleep,lolol, but after many years of hands-on experience and gaining the true knowledge and answers to why Bsmt`s leak and how water wicks underground...well,lets just say those who still"think" they know better,like G Haege, won`t even take my phone calls on his radio show or debate me in a public forum...hmm,i wonder why...lolol. They have much to lose,like their reputation and the companies he recommends(always the same 2-3)have alot of business to lose if--when the Real Truth ever totally gets out to public. Ok....where was should already have Drain Tiles laid along by the footing with a 'T-tile/bleeder' near-at the center of each wall which fits into the footing. If those are laid-pitched correctly and are not broken or brittle then i would leave them, they are fine! The old tiles,or whatever ya wanna call `em, are much stronger and last much longer than the'plastic perforated' drain tile,imo. They also within the Weight of Backfill much better,think about it....plastic tile with Tons of weight on top of it. If you check your T-tile when you have wall dug-out, run a hose right into it, if it backs up then pull it out and clean it out. Ya may have to reach in the hole in footing and clear out more mud-dirt or run a 'balloon' on the end of your hose to clear out from that point into--under Bsmt floor. And on the covering of peastone w/visqueen or have and never have had any homeowner call me back and say their top soil is gone from settling through You can if ya want,not gonna hurt anything. Always best to DEFINE why a basment leaks First, then choose correct means to fix it.


03:01AM | 01/18/05
Member Since: 03/05/04
26 lifetime posts
never take the sellers word no matter what they put down on'disclosure' on whether the basement leaks or not. Now dont get me wrong, i`m not saying everyone`s a liar `n cheat, not at all. I am simply saying be very careful, if you buy the house, its Your foundation and sometimes it can be difficult to prove that the former owner was hiding,lieing about seepage in basement, walls buckling/bowing etc. There are some people who are selling a home and know they have a problem and may try and put paneling up agst the wall to hide the bsmt walls,or try and patch cracks in wall and then paint basement walls to hide them, and then hope in doesnt rain much after sale of home or hope you dont notice water of your bsmt floor for awhile, hey some people barely go in the basement so they wont see any problem-water for quite some time. And if there is paneling up they wont see any possible bowing,buckling of a wall, or wont see mold/effloresence on the wall. If there is-was mold on the wall,they may have used bleach to clean off as much as they could before painting it which would also take away some of the smell for awhile as well. And i`ve seen many times where people did try to fix the problem, only to be talked into an inside method which diverts water under the floor but doesnt take any hydrostatic pressure off the outside of the walls.At this point they think they have solved their problem, but if they had a wall(s) that was bowing/buckling in the pressure is STILL there on the outside and further wall movement will occur and if there`s paneling up, you..the buyer(new owner) wont see it and your home insp wont see it and in a lil time that wall will come in more and now your left with a big problem cuz the former owner was talked into an inside method when they really needed an outside method to lessen the pressure on the outside of the bsmt wall. If there is paneling up when your looking at buying a house...on the outside....look down the entire length of a wall, if there is some bowing/buckling,you will sometimes be able to see it just from looking at the entire length of the wall,just above ground level.If you are looking at a brick house,on the outside, and see vertical--step cracks in the bricks(may have been tuckpointed)then there is a very good chance that the basement wall is cracked/bowed in that area. And always look at the floor, see if the seller has put in'new tiles' along the wall that dont match the rest of the tiled floor,look for stained carpet,newly painted concrete floors`n walls.Look at the chimney chute door, see if there is any water staining just under that door.On a driveway side,look to see if the owner put tar-cement along where the driveway meets the bsmt wall,if he says he has no leak and yet still took the time to put tar along drive,something is fishy more than likely. There is no reason to put that there if there is no problem..and it`s not going to do anything to keep water out of getting into a crack below ground on that side.And personally, i wont buy a house with cracks in the basement floor. If you ever go to court because the seller screwed ya,it not always an automatic win situation,the judges dont know anything about waterproofing either, i`m not putting them down,just saying they are ruling on a subject they know nothing about.


03:58PM | 01/18/05
Member Since: 03/05/04
26 lifetime posts
of a homeowner who has-HAD alot of water coming up through cracks in his bsmt floor and 2 years ago i told him before he gets est`s on a sump pump to FIRST have an honest-good plumber come over and snake out under the floor through the floor drain and main. Well, he did hire a plumber(not the honest plumber i recommend) who tore uo the bsmt floor in some area`s,put in a floor drain and only snaked out to street through main. It didnt do diddley and the homeowner still after trying to live with the problem he finally got fed up and called me again. I told him the same thing as before and added that its possible the plumber he used didnt snake far enough and-or go through main towards the back of house under the floor.Anyways...he finally calls the guy i recommend and sure as shtt he snakes through main towards back of house,it took 3 tries cuz of hairline roots,and free`s up more water. All for $125....and the homeowner had also gotten estimates from the B Drys,Everdys etc who all told him he needed an 'inside method' installed all the way around basement from prices ranging from $7,000-12,000. Folks....when you ONLY have water that comes up through floor drains and--or up through cracks in your basement floor, it would be wise to snake under floor before you spend that much money on a system that is rarely needed. Already this year, this is about the 8th homeowner who only needed an honest plumber to snake under floor.


02:20AM | 02/16/05
Member Since: 03/05/04
301 lifetime posts


03:47PM | 02/20/05
Member Since: 01/20/99
23 lifetime posts
Thanks for all of the good information posted here. I'm not sure if I have a true basement as my house is 60s tri-level.

The problem that I am having is that when the temperatures are pretty extreme (below zero) for extended periods of time, I get water in my lower level family room. If it helps I live just outside Chicago.

Based on some of things posted here, I can identify the following:

- I've been in the house (circa 60s) for two years and this is the first big leak that I have had. It was in the corner where the water meter (located within the house) and outside tap are located.

- Although I don't see water puddles or flooding on the floor after a long hard rain or if I've left the soaker hose on all day, I do notice that the room does have a definite odor because the carpet (inherited doggie piddled carpet) has probably gotten wet. However, I've never been able to find the wet spot and I've spent a considerable amount of time looking for it. The corner where I found this winter's puddle was never wet before. The wood baseboard along all of the walls is a bit shop worn but I am not sure that this is related as much to leaks in the floor. Prior to the carpet, the floor had vinyl tiles (original to the house) so this might have been related to recurring sloppy mopping jobs. Also only the quarter rounds are damaged and not the wood baseboards.

- I know the house has had some sort of waterproofing in the past and there has been some tuckpointing. But I don't see any bowing of the exterior brick walls. Actally, I can't see where the tuckpointing was completed.

- The walls in this area are covered in drywall and paneling and it is not new. Both are original to the house and there is no staining on the paneling.

- The crawlspace which is concrete and the cinder block walls has never leaked. There is no visible waterproofing on the walls. There is a sump pump and sewage ejector pump located in the crawlspace. The sump pump was replaced last summer; the sewage ejector pump was replaced in December 2004. Both failures did not result in any problems because I caught the failures pretty soon after they occurred.

- The sump pump drains to my backyard which is on about a 30 degree slope. I am guessing about this, but the slope is pretty noticeable as my backyard is terraced.

- There is no downspout in the area where I noticed the leak. The downspouts are located on the ends of the house and water diverts to my driveway. However, there is a 3/4 inch crack between the house and the driveway.

- Last when I moved into the house, all of the existing shrubbery (junipers I think)had been remove from along the foundation. There is one birch tree relatively close to the house (8 to 10 feet) but it isn't in the area where the leak has been found.

- The lower floor drain, located in the adjacent room, has never overflowed.

As the lower floor - bath, laundry and family room - is my next renovation project, I really want to solve the leaking problem before I make any cosmetic changes.

My questions for the forum are:

Will I need to remove all of the paneling and dry wall to determine if there are leaks to the walls? I'd prefer not to do that as my budget is limited. Also this is as much of a DIY job as I can make it and I don't want to pull all of this stuff down. It's in good condition, just butt ugly and dark.

If this is a outside problem as you suggest and which I suspect, how do I chose the correct person/company to fix? Are there a set of questions I should ask or are there buzz words that would automatically cause me to rule out a repair person/company?

Once this repair is complete will I be able to plant shrubbery in the area adjacent to my house? If so are there any plants you would recommend I avoid?

Are there any environmental concerns regarding the use of tar, if needed, below grade?


03:51PM | 02/20/05
Member Since: 01/20/99
23 lifetime posts
Forgot to add thanks for all of your replies.

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