Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation


06:50AM | 01/22/05
Member Since: 01/21/05
3 lifetime posts
My home inspector and myself failed to catch a major design flaw regarding the foundation at the front of my 11 year old townhouse I purchased a year and a half ago. There is a U-shaped outside space that is bounded by 3 exterior walls (my garage, the front of my townhouse and the garage wall of the adjoining townhouse). The front wall is approximately 10 feet wide. The top of my poured foundation is just a few inches above the soil line. This has created two major problems: 1.) when it rains hard the water literally will flow over the sill plate into the basement. 2.) the plywood that caps the joists is rotting in this location because it is wicking up moisture.

The major obstacle I'm facing is that I cannot significantly slope (or lower) the soil away from the foundation because the curbing and driveway (about 25 feet away) is more or less level with the top of my foundation. A possible solution I have been kicking around is to dig down about 18", slope the ground underground, put down a waterproof membrane and replace the soil. Does this make any sense? Would a dry well help me in a situation like this?

Also I'm getting water in basement where the PVC sewer pipe exits the foundation And it's not always when it rains. The temperature has been below freezing and I'm still getting a few buckets worth a day. I have french drains and sump pit, but I would like to stop the water. I have been hesitant to simply plug the gap with hydraulic cement because I'm concerned about the hydrostatic pressure. Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I'm at my wits end.


08:34PM | 01/22/05
Member Since: 03/05/04
26 lifetime posts
Mas....can you post a pic or 2 ? IF you are saying that from inside the basement that you see water coming in from the TOP or Above the Bsmt wall...then the Problem- the opening(s) that are allowing the water to enter are somewhere above ground level on the outside. Look for loose/cracked mortar joints...openings-caulking needs around ANY Window or Doors including a basement window with a vent or a 1st floor "screened" window. Could also be any area that has a flashing that isnt totally sealed.Sometimes around a front porch `n steps just under the door there can be openings in the mortar joints and bricks or around the threshold there may be several diff openings where water can enter and alot of times one has to look pretty close to see them. If you take a hose and let it run full blast from ground-level down,agst the bsmt wall for up to 45 you leak? If so...then you have an opening(s) below ground level(the Bsmt wall)...if NOT then any and all your problems that are allowing water in are above ground level,between ground level and the roof. Let me know if you understand what i`m trying to say here..ok?? You and any homeowner can slope and raise your grade-ground level all ya like(nothing wrong with that) Most cases(except having a problem Under the bsmt floor) the reason why and how water is getting inside if that there is--are direct opening(s) on the Outside and these openings are either below ground and-or above ground level and need to be sealed correctly from the Outside. Again... i would put my thought process and time into finding-locating and sealing the opening(s)and Not playing with sloping the soil away..sounds like you`ve done as much as you can do with that. On your other problem area...the PVC...sounds to me as either there may-might be a problem with the PVC itself meaning where it goes through the wall...i`ve seen where they come loose or crack and-or maybe back up-some kinda clog. There have been times for some homeowners in similar situations that had a plumber check the PVC and where it went through the wall it had come loose or separated(where there may be 2 diff pieces,a joint) inside of,or just outside the wall.


03:42PM | 01/26/05
Member Since: 01/15/05
2 lifetime posts
Okay, if I'm reading this right, you have a roughly 10 foot by 25 foot area of lawn that is graded in a way that allows storm runoff to pond against your foundation, eventually overtopping it, and leaking into your basement. You have no where to pipe this to, so your only option is to store it and allow it to infiltrate into the soil.

I’m presuming the only water ponding in this area is what rains directly on it, and that no other areas drain into it, and no downspouts drain into it. If so, you should try to reroute them elsewhere.

Since this is surface water, the first step is to regrade the area into a kind of bowl shape. This will provide storage capacity, and move it away from your foundation. The water may pond at the low point, but hopefully not high enough to run over your foundation. It will then infiltrate into the soil. You can create extra storage capacity by making the low point long, like a trench, rather than a “point”. Put the lowpoint as far from your house as possible. The garages have no basements, so you can put the lowpoint closer to them, or the driveway.

If it still overtops your foundation, you need more storage or faster infiltration. The soils can only infiltrate so fast. But depending on the soils, the lawn and topsoil may be limiting the rate that water seeps through to the subsoil. This would be a good case to then install a french drain at the lowpoint, to serve as an infiltration trench. This will provide direct contact with the subsoil. Putting a pipe in it would not provide any great benefit, but it would assist with more even distribution. I have seen french drains disguised by putting a shrub planting bed next to it, and using stone groundcover over the trench and garden.

Done in this order, easy fixes are done first, and work isn’t wasted if you need the next step. If you still need more storage, you could then look into a drywell. If you go that route, don’t violate any homeowner association rules, and call dig-safe or whatever to mark out utilities. Sometimes in multifamily complexes the utilities can be in pretty creative places, and you don’t want to find one while you’re working. If there is a homeowners assoc., they, or the town bldg dept. might have the original site plans that may show how that area was supposed to be drained. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find past relandscaping buried a yard drain.


05:13PM | 02/18/05
Member Since: 04/10/03
16 lifetime posts
We have the same problem with our house. The foundation raises only a few inches from the soil and the siding (wood, of course) is about 3 inches from the soil. When it rains, water pools in this one corner and actually immerses the wood siding in water. You can imagine that it is almost completely rotten now and I shudder to think what the framing underneath looks like. This is an 85 year old house with balloon framing. We are planning to replace the siding ($$$$$$) but we need to fix the grade or it will happen again. Our house only sits about 10 feet off the sidewalk so I am limited in how far I can grade it without ending up having th e lawn being lower than the sidewalk. What I am planning to do is dig up about 3 feet along the front of the house and grade about 1-2 inch drop about every foot. at the edge of the 3 ft would form a trench about 6 inches deep that I could fill with rock material to aid with drainage and to provide some asthetics. Some plantings and edging will hide the trench. What do you think?



02:31PM | 10/26/19
Member Since: 10/26/19
2 lifetime posts
Same issue here. can I lower this area next to the house and leave the lawn at the current height? adding a french drain system?


02:32PM | 10/26/19
Member Since: 10/26/19
2 lifetime posts

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