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Thread: Foundation excavation or sump pump?

  1. #1

    Default Foundation excavation or sump pump?

    My basement has leaked twice during large floods in the last 3 years. House was built in the 50ís. It is a middle townhouse in which the back yard is the problem. I have no access to drains that lead to the street. My property is midway down a hill in which all of townhouses above me in the backyard most likely donít help the water table during heavy storms.

    After the first flood, I did the easy things. Graded the slope away from the house, made sure the gutters are clean, and extended the downspouts out from 10 to 15 ft. The flooding in May wasnít as bad, but a Ĺ inch of water still ruins the carpet.

    The wall is cinder blocks on the inside and a thin layer (enough to match the bricks) of concrete on the outside (bricks come to almost ground level). When I pulled off the sheetrock, I noticed small holes where water might have gotten through the cinder blocks, but I believe that most of it is coming in from between the footer and the slab.

    I am looking to correct this problem, but am unsure as to the best approach. A masonry contractor wants to excavate the entire back of the townhouse about 2-3 ft below the footers, put a coating on the concrete and backfill under the footers with gravel to create a dry drain. A plumber wants to install a sump pump. The cost isnít much of a difference between the options. Any suggestions??

  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
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    Talking go with the sump pump

    depending on how nice a basement you have or want to have

    it is probably best to just install a pit and pump
    and pump it down the side of the hill

    Now their are places that will cut the concrete all around your basement ,
    and dig a perimiter drain all around the inside of your home, then install a black drain pipe and
    pee gravel and
    then pipe it into a sump pit.....

    also they will place a plastic panel up all the walls to
    force the water to go down into the pee gravel and ove rto the sump pit....

    this will cost you probably around 6 ,000
    at least in the mid west

  3. #3
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    North Carolina


    I deal with wet basements all the time and the first thing I recommend is the route that you have already taken. For most this works, so I suspect that your problem is due to your close townhouse neighbors. There should be a footing drain continuous around the building, teeing out to open air drains at several locations, The life of these systems my be 20 years if maintained (by keeping the outlets clear), and they are rarely maintained. So water that gets in through your neighbors poorly graded backyards gets into the system and has nowhere to go, therefore floods your basement.

    Iíve even seen people connect roof leaders to these systems, and since you donít have control over what your neighbors do this could happen any time in the future.

    In addition to the water issues the water in the footing drain will saturate your foundation soils over time and youíll develop settlements and possibly structural issues.

    The plumber canít address the root cause of the problem, so even if the pump keeps your floor dry you still have a wet footing and saturated foundation soils.

    Your best bet is to hire the mason and have him do what he proposed, plus separate your neighborís footing drains from yours, and making separate outlets for you and them. He should put a wye connection at the house with a riser and threaded cap for a clean out. That way you can maintain the system and keep the problem from occurring.


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