View Full Version : Flooding Basement

09-28-2006, 04:33 PM
I live in a 120 year old house I bought 5 years ago. The house sits at the bottom of a hill on two sides. We have a gopher and mole problem. When it rains, you can see the water bubbling out of the gopher holes halfway up this hill, then the water runs down to my property. It would be great to put drainage at the foot of this hill, but it is not my property and the owner will not let me dig there.
The basement walls are made of block, and 9 feet below grade. The basement has a trench built into the concrete around the perimiter, with an 18 inch square, 12 inch deep hole in the corner acting as a sump pit. In this hole, is a standard utility pump that attaches to a garden hose. The previous owner believe it or not, rigged up a switch with a toilet ballcock float to turn on the pump. The hose stretches to the other side of the basement, to a hole in the floor where it drains under the floor. Where it goes from there, I have no clue. The trench and sump hole are seamless, almost like the floor was originally poured with this in place.
Until last year, there was no water in the basement. Now when it rains water comes in from around the blocks. How many places depends on how hard it is raining. A good steady downpour for about an hour, and I have an inch of water in the lowest corner, over about a third of the basement. Ironically, it is opposite the corner with the sump, and kiddie corner from the hole in the floor. The gutters are drained 40 feet from the house, and it is downhill. It is solid pipe I put in myself this past summer, so this is not contributing to the problem.
I know a real sump pit needs to be put in, but reading all these other posts, I cannot figure out how a basement can be liveable with any amount of water coming in, even if it being channeled to a sump. I want to finish the basement, and I would think the only way to a dry basement would be to keep the water from coming in.
I am on the verge of renting a backhoe. I am an experienced operator. To get down to the foundation, I will need to dig about 10 feet down around the perimiter of the house. The trench will need to be about 6 feet wide at it's deepest, and working out to about 10 feet wide to keep from collapsing with me in it. I have also built a sheild out of 3 pieces of sandwiched 1 inch plywood and 4x4's to lower into the hole to protect me just in case.
My thought is to tuckpoint the blocks, then use a liquid rubber membrane I read about, and is available locally. Let that cure, and follow up with 2 layers of 6-mil plastic. Finally, put up 1 inch foam insulation suitable for below grade installation, both for indoor comfort, and to protect the plastic and rubber membrane from puncture when backfilling.
I will also be installing 4 inch perforated pipe around the perimiter if the house. This will lead to 4 inch solid pipe once away from the foundation, and finally out to daylight. There will also be a backup sump pump outside in case of drain blockage.
Then I will address the inside, installing a basement system for triple backup. I know all this seems like overkill, but I have a limited budget. I can't afford to pay someone to do this work, but I only want to have to do it once, and have it done right.
My question is this, being 10 feet deep, how much of the backfill against the foundation, over the drain tile should be gravel. Also, should the drain tile lay right on the dirt, or on a bed of gravel, and how deep should the bed be. I will be installing a filter sock over the pipe, and for backup, a layer of landscape filter over the stone.

09-29-2006, 02:10 PM

You seem to have a plan, but let me just address a few things. First, with block walls, are you sure that you are going to be able to cover all of it and make it water-tight? Plus, you are going to put a filter sock over your footing frain pipe -- I've never heard of a filter that didn't require changing. So, the next question is, if you do all this work and it still leaks in even one place, or maybe two places in a year, or five places in three years, how are you going to fix it? Dig it all up again?

I'm not trying to be disagreeable, but I am trying to show that exterior waterproofing is always a temporary solution. Once the drain tile or filter clogs, then you're left with water sitting around your foundation that will eventually find its way into your basement.

Controlling water from the inside is the best solution, and the only one that can be warranted for the life of the house. Take a look at our sump pump (http://www.basementsystems.com/sump_pump/) systems, they're not quite the ugly sump pit that you are probably looking at in your basement. Ours have an airtight sump pump cover, alarm, and battery backup pump (http://www.basementsystems.com/sump_pump/) where necessary. The TripleSafe sump pump (http://www.basementsystems.com/sump_pump/) is state-of-the-art in sump pump technology.

The water that comes in is contained within our basement waterproofing systems, so you'll never see any water in your basement.

We also have a few basement wall (http://www.basementsystems.com/basement_waterproofing/basement_wall/) solutions that will drain any water coming through the block into the drainage system as well as prevent water vapor from permeating into the space through the porous concrete. We have a basement floor (http://www.basementsystems.com/basement_waterproofing/basement_floor/) system as well.

Your local dealer can explain this all in detail to you. Call 800-638-7048 for a Free Estimate & Inspection (http://www.basementsystems.com/forms/contact.php).