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Scary basement leak - who do we call?
Old 09-02-2015, 09:03 AM   #1
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Scary basement leak - who do we call?

Don't know whether to call a plumber, basement contractor, foundation contractor...

About a month ago I noticed the basement was smelling very musty. We ran the dehumidifier all the time and still it smelled musty. Then I went in the unfinished part of the basement and noticed a rug was wet. We took the rug out and the unfinished floor was not wet underneath. None of the nearby utilities (well pump, water heater, air handler, well filter, sump pump well) had dampness around them, or condensation on their surfaces.

However, the smell continued and today I noticed wet carpet in a finished room adjacent to the unfinished area. We dragged everything away from the wall and pulled up the carpet and padding. It is soaked all along two sides against the finished wall, but not in the middle of the room, and not along the house side (where you'd expect water to be coming in, if the foundation were leaking).

There is also water coming up? or in? the floor under the stairs, which is unfinished, and adjacent to the finished room. Several items on the floor are spoiled with damp.

There are no bodies of water of any kind within half a mile of our house. I have a horror of water coming into the house, and would never live near water. It seems my horror has come true anyway.

Bottom line, we don't know what kind of contractor to call. Any advice would be appreciated.

Amethyst
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:12 AM   #2
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There are companies that only do waterproofing. In NC, I've see Dry-Pro trucks around, but you should be able to find local companies to you by searching "basement waterproofing".
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:12 AM   #3
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When we had issues like that I contacted a structural engineer. Got lucky in that he identified the issue as improper drainage, he recommended a basement repair guy that was outstanding. Good luck.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:16 AM   #4
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Sounds to me like you may need to have a basement waterproofing specialist come in.


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Old 09-02-2015, 09:18 AM   #5
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From what you describe it sounds like groundwater coming in through a crack in the foundation floor or walls. It can often be tricky to figure out where the leak is coming from. I would think a foundation or basement specialist might be best.

If it is a leak in a basement wall, around here we have an outfit that injects a silicone like substance into the ground adjacent to the wall that can sometimes seal or divert the leak without excavating.... I have never used them and have no idea how effective those treatments are.

We once had a leak in our foundation and traced it to a joint between the foundation wall and the attached garage and had to replace the garage footings and foundation walls... but it solved the problem.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:19 AM   #6
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Is the basement scary, or the leak? :-P

Any rain lately? Downspouts nearby? Maybe the drain(s) along the bottom of the basement wall are clogged, allowing water to puddle next to the wall.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:24 AM   #7
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Is the basement scary, or the leak? :-P

Any rain lately? Downspouts nearby? Maybe the drain(s) along the bottom of the basement wall are clogged, allowing water to puddle next to the wall.
Good point. The fix might be just straightening out a surface water problem.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:29 AM   #8
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The water is in the middle of the basement, not along the walls. It is a poured concrete foundation, 25 years old. guess we'll start calling basement specialists.

The basement had been bone-dry until now, so I guess we should have moved last year.
:-(
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:33 AM   #9
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Sounds like it's wet along an interior wall, which seems to indicate it's not a basement wall. Could be the foundation. Is the wall itself wet? Could it be a leak from the first floor above? It may not even show up (yet) without taking the drywall off, or can you see anything in the unfinished room? Any sign at all of water in the ceiling? Water can follow beams across before dripping down so the leak doesn't have to be directly above the wet spot.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:00 AM   #10
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We had basement water problems in 3 of the 5 homes we lived in. The first required an extensive waterproofing by a professional company to the inside of the basement with french drains and sump pumps, the second was a water drainage/puddling issue in a window well that was corrected from the outside with a dry well while the third was corrected by simply adding an extension to a downspout.

Be careful with waterproofing companies as they are a lot of scammers out there. Some friends fell victims to a company that did not correct their problem then went out of business. Make sure you check solid references before hiring a company.

Good luck.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
The water is in the middle of the basement, not along the walls. It is a poured concrete foundation, 25 years old. guess we'll start calling basement specialists.

The basement had been bone-dry until now, so I guess we should have moved last year.
:-(
This is an indicator that it's coming through a crack/cracks in the foundation itself. It seems like a really big deal, but once located, it's not a big deal at all. We had two of these areas and once I found them, I was able to correct them in about an hour's time.

Here's what I used to repair the crack(s):

HPI Water Activated Polyurethane Injection Concrete Repair Kit

And then sealed the rest with this:

Sodium Silicate Concrete Densifier and Hardener Waterproofing Sealer

I did this about 2 years ago and have yet to have any issues with it. The cost for me at the time was less than $300, but it looks like the sealer is a bit cheaper, so you might can do it for less.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:10 AM   #12
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Any chance the water is coming from the floor above? Leaky pipe on main floor that is making its way down to the basement, perhaps running down the inside of one of the finished interior walls?
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:13 AM   #13
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Any chance the water is coming from the floor above? Leaky pipe on main floor that is making its way down to the basement, perhaps running down the inside of one of the finished interior walls?
It was mentioned that it's in the MIDDLE of the floor, not coming down any walls. Most likely seeping through a crack in the foundation. Not a very common occurrence, but it does happen. It happened to us even with a water table that's quite low, so it can and does happen.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:16 AM   #14
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As mentioned before, keep checking the simple items like gutters, downspouts, surface slope, etc before jumping to an expensive solution.

Did you test the sump pump?
Its amazing how much ours runs in the summer even with no rainfall due to having 2 AC condensation lines that discharge to the sump pump pit.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
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It was mentioned that it's in the MIDDLE of the floor, not coming down any walls. Most likely seeping through a crack in the foundation. Not a very common occurrence, but it does happen. It happened to us even with a water table that's quite low, so it can and does happen.
I was reading it as middle of the basement. Also there was mention of the water being in an unfinished area but no mention of a crack and the second post mentioned water near some finished walls.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyBoy5
It was mentioned that it's in the MIDDLE of the floor, not coming down any walls. Most likely seeping through a crack in the foundation. Not a very common occurrence, but it does happen. It happened to us even with a water table that's quite low, so it can and does happen.
Quote:
(from the OP)

It is soaked all along two sides against the finished wall, but not in the middle of the room, and not along the house side (where you'd expect water to be coming in, if the foundation were leaking).
That's why two of us suggested this possibility. Foundation seems more likely to me, but a leak from above is definitely possible.

edited to quote the post I meant to.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:38 AM   #17
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That's why two of us suggested this possibility. Foundation seems more likely to me, but a leak from above is definitely possible.

edited to quote the post I meant to.
Ah...gotcha. My bad!
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by sadsak View Post
I was reading it as middle of the basement. Also there was mention of the water being in an unfinished area but no mention of a crack and the second post mentioned water near some finished walls.
I would also mention that one of the cracks that we had, could NOT be seen with the naked eye. It was only when we had a very substantial rain, could I see it bubbling about 2 hours after the rain stopped. I had to mark it so, I would know where to insert the sealer.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:04 AM   #19
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Once repaired, is this a "defect" that has to be disclosed to prospective buyers? Last time we spoke to a real estate agent, she was very emphatic about the need to "disclose" or be sued.

Amethyst

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyBoy5 View Post
This is an indicator that it's coming through a crack/cracks in the foundation itself. It seems like a really big deal, but once located, it's not a big deal at all. We had two of these areas and once I found them, I was able to correct them in about an hour's time.

Here's what I used to repair the crack(s):

HPI Water Activated Polyurethane Injection Concrete Repair Kit

And then sealed the rest with this:

Sodium Silicate Concrete Densifier and Hardener Waterproofing Sealer

I did this about 2 years ago and have yet to have any issues with it. The cost for me at the time was less than $300, but it looks like the sealer is a bit cheaper, so you might can do it for less.
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Scary basement leak - who do we call?
Old 09-02-2015, 11:09 AM   #20
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Scary basement leak - who do we call?

I had something very similar this year. Called a plumber and it was a small hole in a pressurized fresh water pipe caused by vibration against a support bracket. Another time there was leak in a bath tub drain pipe upstairs and the water came down the wall into the basement.

I doubt it is a foundation or exterior drainage issue as things were fine until now.
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