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  1. #1
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    Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    A lot has been talked about on here about a lot of issues, well, i've torn down a few basement walls this past weekend and i can give you first hand knowledge of the downfalls.

    I put up standard wood framing in an area that "Had" been wet before but had not been wet for some time based on our conversations with the previous owner. Well, that wall had been painted with multiple layers of kilnz so it was water tight......not quite....

    Last year, we were eating and my wife said look at that gutter....well the gutter had clogged with debris and the water was sheeting down and right into this corner. So, i went to the basement and could see water coming out from underneath my drywall. Once i cleared the debris the drain would take the water some distance from the house and no additional problems - so i thought. I had not yet carpeted, kind of in flux construction - walls were done awaiting taping - mudding. Seeing water, i took the drywall down and low and behold saw mold forming on the studs. Well, this past weekend, i decided to demo the whole wall out and see how everything looked. The studs were blackened with mold and mold was forming on the paper of the standard insulation. Had we finished this room and gone down the road this would have been a sick room for sure and probably a sick house because of this water. After scrapping the molded kilnz off i began to see what they had done.

    In the grout joints, cracks had formed, so, they simply painted over and over until the hole was covered. News flash, this does not solve the problem. I had put standard walls, 2x4 held them off the outside wall by 1 inch and then vapor barrier on the drywall side which is correct (vapor barrier goes on the warm side of the wall) and applied the drywall. Whats occuring is the condensation is forming through the block with water vapors because my house is backfilled with clay and the water has no place to go - it just sits along the block and slowly seeps in over time. Nothing can be done as it is....

    My fix - long term because we don't foresee moving.

    I'm having the side of the house dug up by a small contractor - dig it and remove clay take it away. I will then go through and plug these grout joints from the outside and apply some form of exterior foundation water proofing. Then i'm going to insulate the foundation with 2" rigid insulation and replace the clay exterior drain with a 4" perforated drain. Backfill for the time being will be 3/4" washed river rock to allow all water that accumulates to get into the drain and away from the house. Backfill to top 3-4 feet with black dirt this spring. In the basement, i've chosen to spray foam all exterior walls. This has a sealing capability but it also provides 3 times the "R" value of standard fiberglass insulation and the biggest key is anti-microbial meaning mold cannot use it as a food source much like it does Fiberglass insulation. The other great thing is that mold needs air, the foam literally eliminates air flow, thus no vapor barrier. Then for the drywall, USG now has a gyp with purple binding its resistant to mold/mildew and water. Its about 3 times the cost of standard drywall and thus i'm only using it on exterior walls.

    Upon completion of this, i cannot foresee any problems with water and see this as the only real way to permanently remove any chance of mold growth and water infiltration.

    For those not willing to go through this much, i've found a product that appears to have a better capability for sealing then Kilnz, i'll provide a link but have not used it myself but have heard its a very good product.

    Basement Waterproofing, Do It Yourself Wet Basement Waterproofing, Wet Basement Repair & Finishing

    Good luck to anyone else battling this problem - it sucks!!!!



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    Re: Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    Once the mold starts it is difficult to stop.

    Your Sani Tread looks like it needs a lot of coats of paint before it is safe.


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    Re: Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    Often I long for a basement (no basements down here), mainly because there is no place to go during tornadoes, but when I read these things that you guys have to deal with, I kind of think I'm doing OK without one...


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    Re: Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    Another thing you might want to consider since it sounds like your yard is dug up anyway, is digging in solid drain tile to get the water even further away from the house. The tile attaches to the downspouts (adapters available at Lowes) in place of the piece that diverts water away right now and the other end you hook up pop up drains (again available at Lowes, they are a 90 degree drain with a green pop up on top). The water will sit in the tile until is enough hydraulic pressure to pop open the drain. This is pretty much standard protocol on every new home we build. Plus it looks really nice too.



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    Re: Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    I had to tear apart a room in the basement this year because I got enough water seepage that it ruined the crappy paneling and mold was growing on it and the room. I sealed about half my basement with this: Waterproofing basement - mold & mildew waterproof paint from Zinsser That stuff is pretty good if you have bare concrete walls. Does a good job of finding any hairline cracks in the motar too in walls that are already painted but don't think it's quite as effective on pre-painted walls but so far it's stuck on there very well and kept a good seal that I can tell. Menards had a demo going that had water running through the middle of a cinder block. Half was with water proofed with that the other left bare and you could feel the moisture and condensation on the bare half while the water proofed part was dry.

    I'm scared to rip up the other 1/2 of my basement because it had some water too but the paneling was much better quality and no mold growing on it that I can see although I have my suspicions that the walls behind it probably have some spots of it where it was seeping in. That 1/2 of the basement someone finished decently and would be an expensive remodel I think since the room is over 400 sq feet. Never had standing water, just enough to make spots of the carpet wet and I think some of that might be more in the floor than the walls in some areas.


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    Re: Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    I was there about a three years ago. I went with an interior drain system and for the past two springs, I have sat in my basement and a beer in it's honor!

    I was getting about an inch of standing water in my finished basement each spring from the meltoff and spring rain. I have a rather large driveway and I didn't it would be cost effective to install a new tiling system along the foundation. So I went inside and installed one in there. It works really well and drains to a triple sump pump set up in the corner of my laundry room.

    After waiting a year to make sure it works...which it did (during a pretty wet spring this past year) I finally began to finish my basement. So far so good.

    Besides all that, it is guaranteed for the life of your home and is transferrable to new homeowners.


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  7. #7
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    Re: Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    Quote Originally Posted by bufante View Post
    I was there about a three years ago. I went with an interior drain system and for the past two springs, I have sat in my basement and a beer in it's honor!

    I was getting about an inch of standing water in my finished basement each spring from the meltoff and spring rain. I have a rather large driveway and I didn't it would be cost effective to install a new tiling system along the foundation. So I went inside and installed one in there. It works really well and drains to a triple sump pump set up in the corner of my laundry room.

    After waiting a year to make sure it works...which it did (during a pretty wet spring this past year) I finally began to finish my basement. So far so good.

    Besides all that, it is guaranteed for the life of your home and is transferrable to new homeowners.
    I too have that system - it inherently has two main flaws. One, your actually bringing the water inside of your foundation line which can be a mistake. If theres ever a problem, the water will find its way possible through a radon effect into the house. Secondly, as debris etc is eroded downward it will fill your weeps which is what allows the water to flow through the foundation wall into your interior drain. Once that happens the problem will reoccur.

    With my situation, its completely different. I'm lower then my two neighbors to the south of my house so all the water from their propertys works its way to me through the underground soils. The problems gets to be when it hits my house, the idiotic builders that built the house (standard practice in the 50's) backfilled it with Clay. Well, clay does not allow water to percolate, instead it acts just like a sponge - it will absorb water and swell. It takes a long time for the water to seep or evaporate and if its against a wall, it provides a means for the water to get out of the clay. Thats the problem.

    Its a headache, but when done, what equity in my house, approx 2000 sq ft of unfinished basement. I finish that as i would like and it would also equate to a 4 bedroom 3 bath house and the changes will be worth the time and effort for comfort and entertaining.

    Good luck....



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    Re: Another look at Wet Basements - first hand....

    Quote Originally Posted by bhoodjer View Post
    Another thing you might want to consider since it sounds like your yard is dug up anyway, is digging in solid drain tile to get the water even further away from the house. The tile attaches to the downspouts (adapters available at Lowes) in place of the piece that diverts water away right now and the other end you hook up pop up drains (again available at Lowes, they are a 90 degree drain with a green pop up on top). The water will sit in the tile until is enough hydraulic pressure to pop open the drain. This is pretty much standard protocol on every new home we build. Plus it looks really nice too.
    I was going to do this last fall but never got around to it. Going to do it in the spring. How far away do you run the tile? Do you use corrugated(sp?) tile or PVC?



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