Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

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Joey_Freshwater
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Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Joey_Freshwater »

Hi,

Have a question for some wise experienced heads on this forum.

My wife and I just moved from the Mid-West to the Southeast and bought a house. The house has a wet unfinished basement and water gets in pretty good during heavy rain. There was a huge crack in the wall where the water was coming in so we got a free evaluation by a foundation specialist (very nice guy btw) from a reputable firm about town.

Basically, long story short the foundation repair guy points out a bunch of mold growing on the ceiling of our basement (this is the underflooring and floor joists of the kitchen and dining room which are above the basement) and says that this is 1). bad for health 2). will cause increased decay of your flooring. I should also note the mold is more white in color and not the scary black/green mold you see sometimes (not that any mold is "good", but this mold just doesn't seem as bad as some of the other mold i've come across). I should also note that my wife is allergic to mold, but she has not yet had any sort of allergic reaction in the house we are in. The remedy to deal with the water/moisture issues in the basement is ~$11k.

The $11k remedy would include:
1). A trench dug around inside walls of basement which would funnel the water to a sump pump
2). A really nice triple sump pump
3). A waterproof material that would go on all the floors, columns, and walls
4). A massive dehumidifier that would draw moisture out of the air.

I should note that the basement + Crawlspace is fairly large (probably ~800 sq ft).

Note: The dehumidifier and the new sump pump would not be that useful in and of themselves and they are not a huge part of the overall bill (Maybe 4k or so). It's the waterproofing and the trench that are the expensive parts.

To me, $11k is a considerable expense, but the logic in remedying the moisture issue is sound (healthier breathing air + flooring of house will last a lot longer). Does anyone have any opinions or expertise on this? Is $11k reasonable for this type of service?

I think I should also note that some people here in my part of the country will not by a house with a wet basement (for the reasons listed above), but many people (including yours truly) didn't really think it was a big deal (coming from the midwest there's not the humidity there is in the south so it really isn't a big deal) so I think we would still be able to sell the house ok even without dealing with this issue.

Thanks in advance for the replies!
jebmke
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by jebmke »

Before making the leap into pumping etc, I'd suggest having a qualified person look at where the water is coming from. We had a water issue in our crawl space and it was mostly solved by re-routing some downspouts and some regrading to make sure that water was not moving toward the house but away.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
tibbitts
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by tibbitts »

jebmke wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:56 am Before making the leap into pumping etc, I'd suggest having a qualified person look at where the water is coming from. We had a water issue in our crawl space and it was mostly solved by re-routing some downspouts and some regrading to make sure that water was not moving toward the house but away.
As usual the problem is how to identify a "qualified person."
renue74
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by renue74 »

Get a few estimates.

When you present the problem, don't interject what other vendors have mentioned to you about the problem. That way, you will get an unbiased opinion from each vendor.
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hand
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by hand »

Typically, it is best to deal with basement wetness issues from the outside in - where is the water entering through the crack coming from?
In many cases, a gutter, grading or drainage issue is the root cause of the problem.

A French drain and sump system will do a good job of dealing with water ingress (flooding) after the fact, but is addressing a symptom, but not the underlying problem and will not address the moisture / mold issue.
A massive dehumidifier will address moisture/mold, but may not be efficient if the basement isn't air sealed (typical culprit is rim joists).

Not sure about local building practices, but undoubtedly one cause of basement moisture in the south is warm moist air during the summer coming in contact with the ground temperature (~60 degree) foundation walls causing condensation (think of the outside of a cool glass of water on a hot summer's day). In the north, air sealed foam insulation addresses this problem, but may not be economic in the south.

$11k for the scope of work seems a bit high, but could be reasonable depending on location and skill / reputation of the contractor.
It is concerning that this expert seems to be selling a lot of product to address symptoms rather than identifying and solving the root issues. I am surprised that a foundation specialist didn't have a specific solution for the large crack!

As a side note - before instaling a french drain, be sure to understand whether your area is prone to Radon as a french drain may allow radon into your house.
daheld
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by daheld »

Where's the water coming in? One spot or more than one? Is it just coming in from that one crack that you reference? Is the crack vertical or does it run horizontal? Is there bowing of the wall or is the crack flush and not opened wide?

If it is a vertical crack, isn't opened way up and there's no bowing of the wall, you might find that epoxy injection is all you need to keep the water out. In my area, you can get a 8' vertical basement wall crack epoxy injected for $350.

Obviously if you've got water coming from more than one spot or coming up from under the basement floor, you've got bigger issues to think about.

99.9% of the time, basement water issues are caused by poor drainage. Get the water away from your house--downspout extensions, grading/sloping the dirt away from the foundation.

There is no good mold, and I'd absolutely spend some money to get it removed and taken care of. It can be tough to keep it from coming back.
jebmke
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by jebmke »

tibbitts wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:59 am
jebmke wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:56 am Before making the leap into pumping etc, I'd suggest having a qualified person look at where the water is coming from. We had a water issue in our crawl space and it was mostly solved by re-routing some downspouts and some regrading to make sure that water was not moving toward the house but away.
As usual the problem is how to identify a "qualified person."
I used an engineer in the area who does inspections for houses and commercial properties. Some of it is common sense and observation (in our case, downspouts were dumping water right near the foundation and parts of the perimeter of the house were not graded with a slope away from the house). Some might be more subtle.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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lthenderson
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by lthenderson »

Joey_Freshwater wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:53 am Hi,

The $11k remedy would include:
1). A trench dug around inside walls of basement which would funnel the water to a sump pump
2). A really nice triple sump pump
3). A waterproof material that would go on all the floors, columns, and walls
4). A massive dehumidifier that would draw moisture out of the air.
All four of those steps are essentially bandaids that do absolutely nothing in stopping the water infiltration. You need to start on the outside of the foundation to prevent the water from getting in to begin with. Then you should investigate those four solutions listed above only as measures to remove any water that should get into your basement in the future.

To solve water infiltration on the outside, one can look at better grading, better drainage through the addition of a perimeter drain and waterproofing the exterior of the foundation where hydrostatic pressures aren't an issue like they are when waterproofing the interior of a foundation wall.
bradpevans
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by bradpevans »

gutters dowsnpouts and grading are often the culprits:

https://www.ayersbasementsystems.com/ab ... ssues.html
buhlaxtus
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by buhlaxtus »

lthenderson wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:37 am All four of those steps are essentially bandaids that do absolutely nothing in stopping the water infiltration. You need to start on the outside of the foundation to prevent the water from getting in to begin with.
Absolutely this. $11k is way too much to spend on not fixing the problem.
katrid11
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by katrid11 »

Definitely get 2-3 more quotes. I would be wary of this first quote b/c you mention nothing about walk the exterior of the home.

Water comes from 2 "reason" - high water table or poor drainage.

If it is a high water table, the water will seep up through any deviation in the concrete from below/sides. a french drain, sump pumps, and waterproofing is a good solution there. However, this will happen constantly - not just during a good rain. IE - my in-laws sump pump runs nearly 24/7 due to a high water table. Newer homes in that area have either no basement or an english basement to avoid the constant water issues.

Poor drainage should always be first remedied with rerouting drain spouts, regrading your lot. Even look at the neighbors and see what their drainage is. You would be surprised what happens when someone directs their runoff towards your house.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by CyclingDuo »

Joey_Freshwater wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:53 am Hi,

Have a question for some wise experienced heads on this forum.

My wife and I just moved from the Mid-West to the Southeast and bought a house. The house has a wet unfinished basement and water gets in pretty good during heavy rain. There was a huge crack in the wall where the water was coming in so we got a free evaluation by a foundation specialist (very nice guy btw) from a reputable firm about town.

Basically, long story short the foundation repair guy points out a bunch of mold growing on the ceiling of our basement (this is the underflooring and floor joists of the kitchen and dining room which are above the basement) and says that this is 1). bad for health 2). will cause increased decay of your flooring. I should also note the mold is more white in color and not the scary black/green mold you see sometimes (not that any mold is "good", but this mold just doesn't seem as bad as some of the other mold i've come across). I should also note that my wife is allergic to mold, but she has not yet had any sort of allergic reaction in the house we are in. The remedy to deal with the water/moisture issues in the basement is ~$11k.

The $11k remedy would include:
1). A trench dug around inside walls of basement which would funnel the water to a sump pump
2). A really nice triple sump pump
3). A waterproof material that would go on all the floors, columns, and walls
4). A massive dehumidifier that would draw moisture out of the air.

I should note that the basement + Crawlspace is fairly large (probably ~800 sq ft).

Note: The dehumidifier and the new sump pump would not be that useful in and of themselves and they are not a huge part of the overall bill (Maybe 4k or so). It's the waterproofing and the trench that are the expensive parts.

To me, $11k is a considerable expense, but the logic in remedying the moisture issue is sound (healthier breathing air + flooring of house will last a lot longer). Does anyone have any opinions or expertise on this? Is $11k reasonable for this type of service?

I think I should also note that some people here in my part of the country will not by a house with a wet basement (for the reasons listed above), but many people (including yours truly) didn't really think it was a big deal (coming from the midwest there's not the humidity there is in the south so it really isn't a big deal) so I think we would still be able to sell the house ok even without dealing with this issue.

Thanks in advance for the replies!
Do it!

We had ours fixed in 2010, but our basement was finished which made the cost much higher due to replacing wall board/carpet/pad/trim/tile that had to be removed during the jack hammering for the trench. The trench with additional sump pump, two back up systems in case of power loss, etc... has been doing exactly what it was designed to do - keep our basement dry. We would do it again in a heart beat.

We tried the french drain, gutters, outside fix first - but water table was just too high in our area and the interior basement system was the trick that solved our woes.
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
brianH
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by brianH »

I agree with many of the other responses that you need to, if you can, stop drainage issues around your foundation first. Your downspouts should extend at least 6 feet away from the foundation and ideally more like 10 feet. Obviously, if you have grading issues where the ejected water ends up running back towards the foundation, that also needs to be corrected. Go outside (with an umbrella) during a heavy rainstorm and see where the water is running/pooling.

As a separate issue, the dehumidifier is a good idea. My basement is dry as a bone, but the humidity level still creeps up in the Summer months to an undesirable level. You don't want the relative humidity to be above 60%, and it's probably better to be around 50%. Running a basic humidifier is sufficient for my basement, but you may need one of the larger units. Dehumidifiers draw a bunch of power, so expect your electricity bill to be noticeably higher.
quantAndHold
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by quantAndHold »

I would get someone else to look at it. For $11k, I would be looking for someone who is planning to fix the water problem from the outside of the house, not the inside. Grading, drainage, water sealing the foundation from the outside, that kind of thing, will be a better, longer lasting fix, that will also be better down the road when you’re trying to sell the house. I would only be looking at fixing it from the inside if it was significantly cheaper.

And yes, the mold remediation needs to happen, but that can be a separate contractor once the water intrusion problem is fixed.

Edit to add....dehumidifiers use a lot of electricity. Figure that into the cost if your solution includes that.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Jags4186
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Jags4186 »

I installed 6 ft gutter extensions ($10 each) on all of our above ground gutters and snaked all of the gutters that went below ground with a 50ft snake I bought from Lowe’s for $29. That solved 99% of our water problems. We just get a few wet spots in one spot on the unfinished side when there is torrential downpour.

$69 and an hours worth of work saved me $9k which is what I was quoted to do the same system you are looking st getting.
Rupert
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Rupert »

I'd get at least a couple of more quotes from different types of experts -- perhaps a landscaper (who might see grading issues/solutions that the foundation expert would miss) and a general contractor (who works with all sorts of specialists and might have a broader view of the situation).

I used to have a chronically wet basement (also in the Southeast). Appropriately-sized and directed gutters solved most of my problem. My basement only takes on water now following a tropical storm, when it rains a lot for days and days on end. A new sump pump takes care of that residual problem by pumping the water out of the basement down my driveway to the street. I think I spend less than $3000 on these solutions.
Big Dog
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Big Dog »

agree with the others. Instead of trying to seal the inside walls, I'd first try to stop the water on the outside wall. (But that may mean trenching outside which may be more costly.)

That being said, was the water in the basement disclosed by the seller? Does state law require it? If so, you might have a claim against the seller (and realtor?) to pay for repairs.
Big Dog
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Big Dog »

agree with the others. Instead of trying to seal the inside walls, I'd first try to seal/stop the water from getting into the "crack" on the outside wall. (But that may mean trenching outside which may be more costly.)

That being said, was the water & mold in the basement disclosed by the seller? Does state law require it? If so, you might have a claim against the seller (and realtor?) to pay for repairs.

Try spraying the mold with bleach. A basement dehumidifier is a must in the south, unless you have an a/c vent down there.
Last edited by Big Dog on Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
BIGal
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by BIGal »

My first thought is, did you have any kind of building inspection done prior to purchasing the home? If not, why not?....I know it is "water under the bridge" no pun intended. If there are issues that the seller was aware of at the time of the sale, there may be some liability on their part. To purchase a home and then find out about water and on top of that, mold...seems to me would be something you may want to check out with an attorney. Beyond that, whatever, the issue needs to be dealt with and I agree that you should get additional estimates. Good Luck
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Sandtrap »

Summarized.
1
Grade the land around the home to take water away from the building, far away.
Prevents ponding.
2
Gutters and downspouts. Drainage pipe to take downspout water far away from home.
3
I had a building with foundation issues due to settling from water ponding. Besides the above, we put a sidewalk around the building to keep water away from the foundations. Just a thought as well.
4
Yes. Excavating and parging the exterior basement wall and fixing any scalding/cracks, etc, is prudent. As well as installing french drains. But doing #1-2 first, if not done already, is likely much cheaper and may solve the problem.
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ddurrett896
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by ddurrett896 »

Joey_Freshwater wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:53 am My wife and I just moved from the Mid-West to the Southeast and bought a house. The house has a wet unfinished basement and water gets in pretty good during heavy rain. There was a huge crack in the wall where the water was coming in so we got a free evaluation by a foundation specialist (very nice guy btw) from a reputable firm about town.
Fix the crack and move water away from the house...but not from this company.

In any situations where something in inspected and fixed, NEVER have the person doing the inspecting fix the problem since there is a conflict of interest. The people that inspect my house for termites every year will beg and probably threaten to fix since we are under a contract for yearly maintenance, but won't be going it.

The place that inspects my car won't be the ones I pay to fix the issue. In the future be upfront about it.
playtothebeat
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by playtothebeat »

ddurrett896 wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:31 pm
Joey_Freshwater wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:53 am My wife and I just moved from the Mid-West to the Southeast and bought a house. The house has a wet unfinished basement and water gets in pretty good during heavy rain. There was a huge crack in the wall where the water was coming in so we got a free evaluation by a foundation specialist (very nice guy btw) from a reputable firm about town.
Fix the crack and move water away from the house...but not from this company.

In any situations where something in inspected and fixed, NEVER have the person doing the inspecting fix the problem since there is a conflict of interest. The people that inspect my house for termites every year will beg and probably threaten to fix since we are under a contract for yearly maintenance, but won't be going it.

The place that inspects my car won't be the ones I pay to fix the issue. In the future be upfront about it.
I don't really follow this. If my car breaks down and i take it to the local dealer, are you saying I shouldn't get it fixed there? So should everyone hire and pay an inspector first, then take the issue (whether car or whatever else) to someone else? If i did that, and told the second company that i want X Y Z fixed, they may not agree with that if they don't think that's the appropriate solution/fix/etc, and don't want to perform work they believe to be unwarranted/unnecessary/etc.
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Joey_Freshwater
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Joey_Freshwater »

WOW! So many good replies and thoughtful advice. I'll try to respond to each one. Sorry for the late response have been quite under the weather today!

I will point out the my house is on a moderate hill so regrading might not be an option.
Summarized.
1
Grade the land around the home to take water away from the building, far away.
Prevents ponding.
2
Gutters and downspouts. Drainage pipe to take downspout water far away from home.
3
I had a building with foundation issues due to settling from water ponding. Besides the above, we put a sidewalk around the building to keep water away from the foundations. Just a thought as well.
4
Yes. Excavating and parging the exterior basement wall and fixing any scalding/cracks, etc, is prudent. As well as installing french drains. But doing #1-2 first, if not done already, is likely much cheaper and may solve the problem.
Great suggestions. Next time it rains I'll try to see where the water is pooling and where the downspouts are to make sure they are taking water away from house.
My first thought is, did you have any kind of building inspection done prior to purchasing the home? If not, why not?....I know it is "water under the bridge" no pun intended. If there are issues that the seller was aware of at the time of the sale, there may be some liability on their part. To purchase a home and then find out about water and on top of that, mold...seems to me would be something you may want to check out with an attorney. Beyond that, whatever, the issue needs to be dealt with and I agree that you should get additional estimates. Good Luck
Yes. We had a full inspection and the inspector pointed out that the basement was a wet basement. In fact, there was water in the sump pump at the time. However, because I was used to occasional water in my basement up in the mid-west, I didn't think it was an issue. Inspector maybe could have explained the pitfalls of a wet basement especially in the hot and humid Southeast a little bit better. Inspector also pointed out the mold which the previous owner fumigated at our request when we purchased, but it doesn't look like it killed all of it.
agree with the others. Instead of trying to seal the inside walls, I'd first try to seal/stop the water from getting into the "crack" on the outside wall. (But that may mean trenching outside which may be more costly.)


That being said, was the water & mold in the basement disclosed by the seller? Does state law require it? If so, you might have a claim against the seller (and realtor?) to pay for repairs.

Try spraying the mold with bleach. A basement dehumidifier is a must in the south, unless you have an a/c vent down there.
It gets in a lot more places than just that one crack. But I am going to look to see if I can regrade the land to prevent water from pooling around the house.

State law does not disclose, but we knew about it when we bought the house because it was pointed out by the inspector. As mentioned earlier, previous seller paid to have the mold fumigated but it either didn't work or just came right back.
I'd get at least a couple of more quotes from different types of experts -- perhaps a landscaper (who might see grading issues/solutions that the foundation expert would miss) and a general contractor (who works with all sorts of specialists and might have a broader view of the situation).

I used to have a chronically wet basement (also in the Southeast). Appropriately-sized and directed gutters solved most of my problem. My basement only takes on water now following a tropical storm, when it rains a lot for days and days on end. A new sump pump takes care of that residual problem by pumping the water out of the basement down my driveway to the street. I think I spend less than $3000 on these solutions.
Great idea!
I installed 6 ft gutter extensions ($10 each) on all of our above ground gutters and snaked all of the gutters that went below ground with a 50ft snake I bought from Lowe’s for $29. That solved 99% of our water problems. We just get a few wet spots in one spot on the unfinished side when there is torrential downpour.

$69 and an hours worth of work saved me $9k which is what I was quoted to do the same system you are looking st getting.
Another great idea. I know the gutters are pretty clogged high up on the house so I should probably have those cleaned as well!
I would get someone else to look at it. For $11k, I would be looking for someone who is planning to fix the water problem from the outside of the house, not the inside. Grading, drainage, water sealing the foundation from the outside, that kind of thing, will be a better, longer lasting fix, that will also be better down the road when you’re trying to sell the house. I would only be looking at fixing it from the inside if it was significantly cheaper.

And yes, the mold remediation needs to happen, but that can be a separate contractor once the water intrusion problem is fixed.

Edit to add....dehumidifiers use a lot of electricity. Figure that into the cost if your solution includes that.
I think the problem is that - at least in my situation this might not be possible because of:
1). Our house is midway down a medium sized hill
2). We could do an outside fix but we would have to dig up all the dirt around the outside of the house to install french drains but I think it would be more than 11k and french drains will eventually clog (our house has non-functioning french drains right now).
I agree with many of the other responses that you need to, if you can, stop drainage issues around your foundation first. Your downspouts should extend at least 6 feet away from the foundation and ideally more like 10 feet. Obviously, if you have grading issues where the ejected water ends up running back towards the foundation, that also needs to be corrected. Go outside (with an umbrella) during a heavy rainstorm and see where the water is running/pooling.

As a separate issue, the dehumidifier is a good idea. My basement is dry as a bone, but the humidity level still creeps up in the Summer months to an undesirable level. You don't want the relative humidity to be above 60%, and it's probably better to be around 50%. Running a basic humidifier is sufficient for my basement, but you may need one of the larger units. Dehumidifiers draw a bunch of power, so expect your electricity bill to be noticeably higher.
I am definitely going to do this during the next downpour!

Yea - definitely need a dehumidifier regardless.
Do it!

We had ours fixed in 2010, but our basement was finished which made the cost much higher due to replacing wall board/carpet/pad/trim/tile that had to be removed during the jack hammering for the trench. The trench with additional sump pump, two back up systems in case of power loss, etc... has been doing exactly what it was designed to do - keep our basement dry. We would do it again in a heart beat.

We tried the french drain, gutters, outside fix first - but water table was just too high in our area and the interior basement system was the trick that solved our woes.
Thanks! to be honest, the solution seems pretty great - I just wish it wasn't 11k!
Definitely get 2-3 more quotes. I would be wary of this first quote b/c you mention nothing about walk the exterior of the home.

Water comes from 2 "reason" - high water table or poor drainage.

If it is a high water table, the water will seep up through any deviation in the concrete from below/sides. a french drain, sump pumps, and waterproofing is a good solution there. However, this will happen constantly - not just during a good rain. IE - my in-laws sump pump runs nearly 24/7 due to a high water table. Newer homes in that area have either no basement or an english basement to avoid the constant water issues.

Poor drainage should always be first remedied with rerouting drain spouts, regrading your lot. Even look at the neighbors and see what their drainage is. You would be surprised what happens when someone directs their runoff towards your house.
The foundation guy walked the exterior and crawled throughout the crawlspace... he was very thorough and was more trying to educate us (was a great guy tbh).

It's definitely not a high water table as we live in a pretty hilly area far away from the coast. Poor drainage is the culprit because our house is midway down a pretty large hill. Hmm... good idea to see what the neighbors do. I think everything is directed way down the hill but I'll double check!
All four of those steps are essentially bandaids that do absolutely nothing in stopping the water infiltration. You need to start on the outside of the foundation to prevent the water from getting in to begin with. Then you should investigate those four solutions listed above only as measures to remove any water that should get into your basement in the future.

To solve water infiltration on the outside, one can look at better grading, better drainage through the addition of a perimeter drain and waterproofing the exterior of the foundation where hydrostatic pressures aren't an issue like they are when waterproofing the interior of a foundation wall.
Correct! The solution is to allow water into the basement but get it out ASAP by channelling it into a sump pump and using a huge dehumidifier.

The foundation guy made it sound like regrading the lot wasn't going to really help because we are mid-way down a large hill. He also said (and I believe) that digging around the foundation to seal it and also to fix the french drains will be actually more expensive and not last as long as this solution.
Where's the water coming in? One spot or more than one? Is it just coming in from that one crack that you reference? Is the crack vertical or does it run horizontal? Is there bowing of the wall or is the crack flush and not opened wide?

If it is a vertical crack, isn't opened way up and there's no bowing of the wall, you might find that epoxy injection is all you need to keep the water out. In my area, you can get a 8' vertical basement wall crack epoxy injected for $350.

Obviously if you've got water coming from more than one spot or coming up from under the basement floor, you've got bigger issues to think about.

99.9% of the time, basement water issues are caused by poor drainage. Get the water away from your house--downspout extensions, grading/sloping the dirt away from the foundation.

There is no good mold, and I'd absolutely spend some money to get it removed and taken care of. It can be tough to keep it from coming back.
It's coming in a lot of places but mostly along the wall that faces the hill that our house is built on.

Crack is sort of diagonal and not super wide, but it's coming in from a lot of places and not just the crack.
Typically, it is best to deal with basement wetness issues from the outside in - where is the water entering through the crack coming from?
In many cases, a gutter, grading or drainage issue is the root cause of the problem.

A French drain and sump system will do a good job of dealing with water ingress (flooding) after the fact, but is addressing a symptom, but not the underlying problem and will not address the moisture / mold issue.
A massive dehumidifier will address moisture/mold, but may not be efficient if the basement isn't air sealed (typical culprit is rim joists).

Not sure about local building practices, but undoubtedly one cause of basement moisture in the south is warm moist air during the summer coming in contact with the ground temperature (~60 degree) foundation walls causing condensation (think of the outside of a cool glass of water on a hot summer's day). In the north, air sealed foam insulation addresses this problem, but may not be economic in the south.

$11k for the scope of work seems a bit high, but could be reasonable depending on location and skill / reputation of the contractor.
It is concerning that this expert seems to be selling a lot of product to address symptoms rather than identifying and solving the root issues. I am surprised that a foundation specialist didn't have a specific solution for the large crack!

As a side note - before instaling a french drain, be sure to understand whether your area is prone to Radon as a french drain may allow radon into your house.

Should have specified that the water is coming from lots of places, but there is one large crack water is coming through.

The solution would include completely sealing off the basement from the outside.

The company has a great reputation in this area and there's quite a bit of work that goes into a solution like this.
Get a few estimates.

When you present the problem, don't interject what other vendors have mentioned to you about the problem. That way, you will get an unbiased opinion from each vendor.
Great idea!


Thanks for all the great replies.

To re-cap - I am going to:
1). Inspect gutter and downspouts doing the next rainstorm to see if they are working as intended
2). Make sure that neighbors downspouts are directed away from the house
3). Get more quotes including ones from general contractors/landscapers
brandy
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by brandy »

Have you considered an underground slope? This is another tool to add to your solutions, and you can do it yourself. I did, with my handyman. Google it, but here's one link: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/ca ... r-membrane

My ~30 yo house was shifting, as indicated by cracks I kept seeing in the drywall over the years after I moved here. The house is at the bottom of the hill for one thing, but Previous owners had an in ground pool installed and it appears some or all of the dirt was placed at the east and south edges of the yard and built it up, so all drainage was back to the house. The house literally sat in a bowl. My handyman corrected the slope in the east/south area by removing the required dirt, then laying 6mil plastic 6-8 feet from the foundation out, and covering it with gravel, which is what my yard has--no grass. He also installed a french drain next to the retaining wall, because the wall builder did not. Problem solved. That was probably 3-4 years ago, and the shifting stopped. I also added a gutter because of that slope, wanting to move as much water away as I could..
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nativenewenglander
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by nativenewenglander »

brandy wrote: Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:52 am Have you considered an underground slope? This is another tool to add to your solutions, and you can do it yourself. I did, with my handyman. Google it, but here's one link: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/ca ... r-membrane

My ~30 yo house was shifting, as indicated by cracks I kept seeing in the drywall over the years after I moved here. The house is at the bottom of the hill for one thing, but Previous owners had an in ground pool installed and it appears some or all of the dirt was placed at the east and south edges of the yard and built it up, so all drainage was back to the house. The house literally sat in a bowl. My handyman corrected the slope in the east/south area by removing the required dirt, then laying 6mil plastic 6-8 feet from the foundation out, and covering it with gravel, which is what my yard has--no grass. He also installed a french drain next to the retaining wall, because the wall builder did not. Problem solved. That was probably 3-4 years ago, and the shifting stopped. I also added a gutter because of that slope, wanting to move as much water away as I could..
I used the GBA forum when we bought our 1880 farmhouse. We had water and insulation issues. They helped me formulate a plan, which I put in place and it worked. We live in northern NH with a rubble stone foundation, so it gets cold here -30 is not uncommon. The first part was to have our foundation and rim joists sprayed with 1" of closed cell urethane. It solved 90% of the moisture problems for $2200, 1650 square feet of basement. Then we added gutters and did some grading the balance of the water was gone. We run a 70 pint fridgeaire dehumidifier, very quiet and still going strong after 5 years. It's also quiet unlike others we owned for former homes.
daheld
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by daheld »

Joey_Freshwater wrote: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:19 pm To re-cap - I am going to:
1). Inspect gutter and downspouts doing the next rainstorm to see if they are working as intended
2). Make sure that neighbors downspouts are directed away from the house
3). Get more quotes including ones from general contractors/landscapers
You say a number of times it's coming in "a lot of places". Can you specify what that means? Are there other cracks it's coming in or is it coming up through where the basement floor meets the basement walls? Both of these are issues but could be for distinctly different reasons. If it's just coming in through wall cracks that are not severe, you may be able to get away with epoxy injecting the cracks and correcting the drainage issues around the house. If it's coming up from under the floor, that is likely a bigger issue which may warrant sump pump, exterior drains, etc., in addition to the regrading and drainage work.

I wouldn't wait for the next rainstorm. Get the gutters cleaned and put on some downspout extensions now. During the next rainstorm, I'd go see if there's water coming over the gutters or if they're handling all the water that's sheeting off the roof.

Yes, regrade to slope the dirt around the foundation away from the home. As to your #2 above, there've been big discussions around here regarding the issue of neighbors and water drainage. You might find using the search function to read about this somewhat helpful.
Small Law Survivor
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Small Law Survivor »

I have a similar problem here in Massachusetts. Our basement is getting a relatively small amount of water during rains. It comes in where the slab meets the outside wall (this is ground level - it's a walk-out basement), and in front of a brick hearth that a wood stove is sitting on, not far from the wall leak.

I've had two "basement" companies give me estimates this winter, and they both want to install an interior drain and pump. The cost is around $5,000, but this doesn't include electrician costs (there's an electric heater on the wall), removing the wall 2 feet high, rebuilding and painting the wall. It sounds like a huge hassle.

I suspect the problem is outdoors, and involves getting the water away from the house. There is a downspout leading directly into the ground close to the outside wall leak. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no idea what is underground at that spot - whether there's a catch basin of some sort, and how the water is dispersed from it. And, I realize from reading online, that the batch basin or the downspout could be completely clogged up, so that it's not working properly.

Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated! I'm game to dig the catch basin out at that spot to clean it out, but I'm not sure who I would hire to do that.

Small Law Survivor
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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queso
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by queso »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:18 pm I have a similar problem here in Massachusetts. Our basement is getting a relatively small amount of water during rains. It comes in where the slab meets the outside wall (this is ground level - it's a walk-out basement), and in front of a brick hearth that a wood stove is sitting on, not far from the wall leak.

I've had two "basement" companies give me estimates this winter, and they both want to install an interior drain and pump. The cost is around $5,000, but this doesn't include electrician costs (there's an electric heater on the wall), removing the wall 2 feet high, rebuilding and painting the wall. It sounds like a huge hassle.

I suspect the problem is outdoors, and involves getting the water away from the house. There is a downspout leading directly into the ground close to the outside wall leak. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no idea what is underground at that spot - whether there's a catch basin of some sort, and how the water is dispersed from it. And, I realize from reading online, that the batch basin or the downspout could be completely clogged up, so that it's not working properly.

Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated! I'm game to dig the catch basin out at that spot to clean it out, but I'm not sure who I would hire to do that.

Small Law Survivor
I have underground downspouts and in order to figure out where they exited I used tracing dye (Amazon). With my catch basin I had to dig it up.
Rupert
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Rupert »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:18 pm I have a similar problem here in Massachusetts. Our basement is getting a relatively small amount of water during rains. It comes in where the slab meets the outside wall (this is ground level - it's a walk-out basement), and in front of a brick hearth that a wood stove is sitting on, not far from the wall leak.

I've had two "basement" companies give me estimates this winter, and they both want to install an interior drain and pump. The cost is around $5,000, but this doesn't include electrician costs (there's an electric heater on the wall), removing the wall 2 feet high, rebuilding and painting the wall. It sounds like a huge hassle.

I suspect the problem is outdoors, and involves getting the water away from the house. There is a downspout leading directly into the ground close to the outside wall leak. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no idea what is underground at that spot - whether there's a catch basin of some sort, and how the water is dispersed from it. And, I realize from reading online, that the batch basin or the downspout could be completely clogged up, so that it's not working properly.

Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated! I'm game to dig the catch basin out at that spot to clean it out, but I'm not sure who I would hire to do that.

Small Law Survivor
If it were me, I'd get a shovel and dig to see what's there. Only when you know what it is can you know who you need to hire to fix or remove it.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Epsilon Delta »

You might try a borescope.

The fancy ones some plumbers use are little robots with inertial navigation, but even a cheap one from Harbor Freight clipped to a fishtape and tape measure can provide useful information that avoids some some or much digging,
daheld
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by daheld »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:18 pm I have a similar problem here in Massachusetts. Our basement is getting a relatively small amount of water during rains. It comes in where the slab meets the outside wall (this is ground level - it's a walk-out basement), and in front of a brick hearth that a wood stove is sitting on, not far from the wall leak.

I've had two "basement" companies give me estimates this winter, and they both want to install an interior drain and pump. The cost is around $5,000, but this doesn't include electrician costs (there's an electric heater on the wall), removing the wall 2 feet high, rebuilding and painting the wall. It sounds like a huge hassle.

I suspect the problem is outdoors, and involves getting the water away from the house. There is a downspout leading directly into the ground close to the outside wall leak. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have no idea what is underground at that spot - whether there's a catch basin of some sort, and how the water is dispersed from it. And, I realize from reading online, that the batch basin or the downspout could be completely clogged up, so that it's not working properly.

Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated! I'm game to dig the catch basin out at that spot to clean it out, but I'm not sure who I would hire to do that.

Small Law Survivor
You can buy a boroscope and do it yourself. Another option would be to pay someone to come scope it with a good camera and you can see what is going on. Whatever you do, I'd absolutely figure out what is going on with whatever water is draining into that downspout/catch basin before you pay someone to do a bunch of work. Remedying that issue might just fix the whole thing.
Small Law Survivor
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Small Law Survivor »

Thanks, these are really helpful suggestions - boroscope, hmmmm .... :)
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
Small Law Survivor
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by Small Law Survivor »

Thanks, these are really helpful suggestions - boroscope, hmmmm .... :)
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
rebellovw
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by rebellovw »

we had this at our old house - due to the water table rising. The previous owner - had a hokey sump pump - hooked up with a hose that went out through the garage - through a hole in the door. You had to plug in the pump when the little basement was flooded. Totally stupid.

I repaired the hole in the door.
I replaced the sump pump with a auto sump from home depot - it clicks on - and off - and if water is present -- it pumps it out.
I re-routed the pump water outlet - via PVC pipe - out into the front garden. I just had to crawl under the house in the dirt to do it - worked like a champ.
rebellovw
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by rebellovw »

we had this at our old house - due to the water table rising. The previous owner - had a hokey sump pump - hooked up with a hose that went out through the garage - through a hole in the door. You had to plug in the pump when the little basement was flooded. Totally stupid.

I repaired the hole in the door.
I replaced the sump pump with a auto sump from home depot - it clicks on - and off - and if water is present -- it pumps it out.
I re-routed the pump water outlet - via PVC pipe - out into the front garden. I just had to crawl under the house in the dirt to do it - worked like a champ.
michaeljc70
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Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

Post by michaeljc70 »

My father kept getting water in his basement. After tracking down the source (cracks in the foundation), he drilled it out and used a hydraulic cement on it. The cement expands as it dries. I told him this is not the proper way to fix it (proper way is digging out outside $$$$, french drain, water shield, etc.) So far though, it has held. It was a cheap fix probably all but temporary though.
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