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More than one way to fix a basement leak

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  • More than one way to fix a basement leak

    I'm a newbie to basements and would like an opinion on possible ways to fix a basement leak.

    House is a 1971 ranch that is on a hill. No sump pump has ever been installed and the basement was always dry.
    Now there seems to be a small leak from leaving water running on the outside faucet. In the back of the house no amount of water running next to the foundation will enter the basement. But in the front there seems to be a problem. The basement is finished so finding the leak has been a problem.
    After tearing out some drywall it still is not that apparent. I would need to tear out the 2x4 footer, I suspect its leaking where the wall meets the floor.

    It only leaks in the area directly below where the outside faucet is.
    One might think (don't leave the hose running) good point! The leak is not from ground water but from water running down from above. Rain, water, melting snow.

    I've had a few people look at it and they both want to demolish the basement. They want to cut the walls out at the bottom and dig a trench with a gutter like pipe leading to a sump pump. Its going to make a mess and does not include all the drywall fix and painting needed after.

    No one ever mentioned fixing it from the outside. I don't like the idea of just letting it come in, it will create a nice channel for bugs and mold. (the gutter has slits in it for any wall leaks, so its open to the air) It will outgas into the finished wall and probably create new issues.

    I found out that my home has a drain tile system that is tied into the basement floor drain. My guess is its old and plugged up.

    What are my options for outside fix?

    I'm thinking of

    1. digging maybe 3 feet down in the front of the house and putting a french drain in and running it downhill to the storm drain. We are probably 12 feet above the storm drain on our lot. So there is little chance it could back up.
    This would be a gravity feed. Also I was thinking of taking black plastic and gluing it to the wall and running that away from the foundation. So in case the french drain ever plugged the water would run away from the house at least 3 feet. The plastic would be under the drain.

    2. Digging all the way down (6-7 feet) to the drain tile and replacing it.

    3. Hiring a plumber to snake the drain tile from the basement and get lucking that he can clean it out.

    4. Tearing out a 10 foot section of wall (where I'm pretty sure its coming in) and sealing the seam where the floor meets the wall.

    I really want to avoid the sump pump channel if possible. We don't have a high water table, its all from water from above the surface.

    What do you think would be the most cost effective way to fix it?

    It seems a little worse in that snow melting near the front will send a little bit of water through that floor/wall leak.

    One more question: Why is it called drain tile when its actually just a plastic pipe? Tile makes me think its ceramic or like floor tile.

    Thanks for any input!

  • #2
    Its a poured basement. clean all the way round no cracks on the inside.

    I can soak the ground around the entire foundation and it does not leak. Except the spot in the front right where the outside spicket is. I checked it and nope its not a pipe leak.

    Whats a drainage board?

    Maybe a drainage board which slopes to a french drain and not even mess with the tile way down. Would save digging all the way down.

    Cost? Heck they wanted like 6k for the inside and thats not including fixing all the messed up drywall, painting etc. Probably 8k.

    Digging a 4 foot trench on the outside sounds way cheaper.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.

      Checked the bricks and pipe. Bricks are good and they are sitting on the poured basement in a groove which is like 8 inches below the top of the poured basement. Its not leaking there. I tore out drywall and found where it comes in.

      After a snow melt, heavy rain the water comes in at the seam between wall and floor. The wall is not wet at all, so nothing dripping down from above.

      If it had good tiles it would not come in even with a seam that was less that waterproof.

      It only happens in a 5 foot long area. If I soak the ground on the corner of the home (15 feet from spicket no water comes in. Its just around the spicket area.

      I'm guessing that the hose has been left on so many times that the water found a way in, it gets a little worse each year.

      If I were to take a 12 foot wide roll of visqueen and glue it to the brick so water would flow away from the home ZERO water would get in.

      I've tested it with a hose. Trouble is visqueen will get full of holes from roots, it won't last.

      But maybe this drain board would last, that along with a french drain might by me a few years or more.


      • #4
        Here is my lease expensive fix.

        1. Use epoxy to seal the seam where the floor meets the wall. Sort of like fixing a leaky fish tank.

        2. Use drain boards. I don't know what they are but I envision sheets of plywood (waterproof) that I bury a few feet down. They start at the foundation and are sealed where they touch it. and then angle away from the home like a roof that's underground.

        3. This drain boards angle to a french drain that leads to a hill so the water can just run to the ditch then to the sewers.

        The epoxy might be all that's needed. The french drain and board are icing on the cake.


        • #5
          Least Expensive More in the End

          Sealing the wall and floor connection "like a fish tank" does not take care of the problem. Here is only one of the reasons why:

          The water is still there and will eventually work its way back in. Once draintiles fail water no matter what will pool around the base of foundation. Concrete is pourous and water will seap through.

          Next the drainage board is not a wooden board that would rot underground. The drainage board is a toughened polymere product that is attached to wall (not landscaping). This sheeting will guard against water penetrating foundation wall. Thus directing water down to "working" draintile.

          While proper landscaping will help direct excess water away from foundation. Once draintiles fail, it is only a matter of time before water will enter the basement.


          • #6
            Thanks for the reply.

            Yes working drain tiles is probably the best answer.

            The french drain and fishtank like seal will buy time. The drain board will divert any water away and to the french drain.

            Unless the french drain fails no water will get down to where the drain tiles are.

            We are on top of a hill so the water entering is not from underneath.

            I'll get a estimate of both the french drain and the harder to do drain tile fix.

            It seems basements could be waterproofed much better while being built. Especially in areas where the poured wall meets the foundation. My boat is 20 years old and does not leak. It takes much more of a pounding than my basement.

            Most basement companies today will not address the outside of the home, they prefer the just let the water rush in and want to tear up the floor with a trench and add a sump pump.

            I think the outside fix is the way to go.