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Wet Basement - Interior French Drain
Old 06-03-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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Wet Basement - Interior French Drain

Hello All,

Does anyone have a below ground basement that occasionally gets flooded with about a gallon of water after a severe thunderstorms/flash flood etc.?

What have you done to solve this problem?

Has anyone had an interior French drain and sump pump installed? Exterior French drain along the perimeter of the house, regrading the ground?

Please share any thoughts/advice that you may have on this topic.

Thank you everyone!

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Old 06-03-2010, 10:27 AM   #2
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Our house in Oakland was in the hills, and in the winter water would seep into the garage. We had a good drainage company put in weep holes and create a channel in the cement floor that went around the perimeter of the garage (on the inside). It was graded, and the water would flow out the front of the garage on either side. This worked well.

When the house burned and was rebuilt, they put in an exterior French drain, and we had no more water in the garage.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:00 AM   #3
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I suggest trying exterior grading first, including downspout extensions, etc. That did it for one of our Wisconsin houses. Our second home required French drains and they worked well.

If you have structural cracks (larger and/or with slippage of the wall), the definitive solution is to dig all around, reinforce the block after straightening them, replace the drain tile, laterals and interior drain tile, back fill with stone after re-tarring the wall. I would hate to see that have to happen but if you are sure you'll be there for many years and none of the others work for you, is the ultimate remedy.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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Sometimes the easiest solution works. My mother's house had a basement water problem like yours. The ground on one side of the house had settled over the years so that it sloped toward the house. Two or three bags of topsoil, so the ground sloped away from the foundation, and a handful of grass seed fixed it.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:08 PM   #5
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In the midwest sump pumps are common - even standard in some areas. They are noisy, are often subject to municipal regulations (cannot use sewage line) and need electricity. Backup battery systems are available but pricey. You also have an open water pit in your basement.

I agree that looking to grading and repairing cracks may be a better option, especially if the volume is low. Is the house in a designated flood plain?
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:52 AM   #6
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Hello All, Please help. I appreciate the advice giving about regrading the soil. I do have a quick follow-up question: I heard from a couple of people that I should put a "shower liner" on the ground then put some more top soil on it and grade it away from the house. My question is what do you think of this "shower liner" idea? There was no photo of said "shower liner" so I am not certain what the person referred to. Has anyone put any shower liner down before adding more top soil on top for this re-grading project? If you have not done this before but have an opinion on this, please share. Thank you.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retire2014 View Post
Hello All, Please help. I appreciate the advice giving about regrading the soil. I do have a quick follow-up question: I heard from a couple of people that I should put a "shower liner" on the ground then put some more top soil on it and grade it away from the house. My question is what do you think of this "shower liner" idea? There was no photo of said "shower liner" so I am not certain what the person referred to. Has anyone put any shower liner down before adding more top soil on top for this re-grading project? If you have not done this before but have an opinion on this, please share. Thank you.
I didn't use a shower liner but some 6 mil plastic. I got a roll of it and rakes away the topsoil and mulch, put in down after cutting around the bushes and recovered it. The guy who told me to do this is the only one I trust with regards to we basements..........
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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I can't emphasize proper grading too much. ALL downspouts, sidewalk and patio runoff must be away from the house. Preferably, sharply away. Ditto for lawns and landscape beds. EVERYTHING must slope away from the house.

We have an exterior drain (encircling the base of the foundation) and sump pump system which has always worked fine. But the sump pump seemed to run a lot, even a light rain would trigger it to run and empty the pit a few times. In retirement I suddenly had time to check things out (after living in the house for 30 yrs!) and decided we needed to put in dry wells for the downspouts and do several grading changes. Presto...... The sump pump hardly runs now, only in situations involving heavy or prolonged rains.

Since we're away from home much more now in retirement, I also added a high quality battery back up system.
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:39 PM   #9
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I was having similar problems and finally realized that it was the clogged downspouts. Lots of pine needles make it hard to keep them 100% clear all the time. Overflowing eaves troughs dump right next to the foundation and that was the source of the excess water. I'm tinkering with the funnel shaped adapters from trough to downspout and these seem to help.

Totally agree about need for downward slope of dirt next to basement walls - it nearly always sinks over the years.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:27 PM   #10
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it nearly always sinks over the years.[/QUOTE]


The problem also is the part that needs re-grading is under a deck so I have to remove many boards from the deck in order to regrade!!! If it were easily accessible I would have regrade every other year to prevent the problem.

Thank you for the advice on keeping the downspout clear of leaves and pine needles. Yes, I did that and it helped tremendously.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:30 PM   #11
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I would have regraded every other year to prevent the problem.

I am sorry for the typo, previously I typed "would have regrade" should be "regraded" --
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:48 PM   #12
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ThoroSeal is a good cementitious waterproofing product.
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