Bsement flooding remidies?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by csr0831, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. csr0831

    csr0831 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Norfolk Virginia
    Hi Folks…

    If I am posting this under the wrong forum subject, I apologize. If someone would tell me where to go (which forum to post under), I will gladly do that. Anyway, here in lies my problem……

    I live in a fairly large older (57 years) ranch home. This home has a full unfinished basement. I have primarily sandy soil. There is a drain system around the foundation that drains into a sump. I have a pump and a couple of gravity drains that I can open up to allow drainage to a nearby river. Normally the basement is dry. The drain system in place is enough to handle the ground water. However, during very rainy weather or a heavy rain, I do get a lot of seepage under the walls onto the floor. I have no gutters on the house and do not plan on installing any. My over hang is about 2 feet. I think it’s pretty obvious my problem comes from all the water draining off the roof directly next to the house (2 feet away). The way I figure it, a one inch rain equates to about 1900 gallons of water. The existing ground in the back of the house is fairly level and in the front it slopes downward for about 10 feet and then back up again effectively creating a swale that runs parallel to the house about 10 feet away, along the front. I have thought about building a gutter into the ground directly under the drip line, out of bricks….maybe 8 to 10 inches wide and 6 inches deep. This could be channeled to lower areas away from the house. Alternatively, I have thought about putting in a French drain maybe 14 to 18 inches deep with perforated 4 inch pipe also directly under the drip line and routed away from the house. Will either one of those methods help alleviate my problem and if so, which do you folks think would be the better solution??

    I’ll do all the work myself, but I sure would hate to do the wrong thing! Thanks to anyone who can help!

    Chris
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    The best thing would be to landscape the yard so it slopes away from the house all around at least 10' or so. WIth your sandy soil, any that soaks in could put some pressure on the foundation walls, and any cracks will weep. Normally, a french drain isn't all that effective unless it is down near the base of the foundation and you've waterproofed the walls.
  3. csr0831

    csr0831 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Norfolk Virginia
    Thank you for taking the time and effort to respond. That type of lanscaping is not really an option in my case for a number of reasons, so I guess that means that I would look at installing "ground drains". Still pondering.......
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Building codes require a minimum of 6" of falling slope within the first 10 feet from the foundation. Despite your dislike for gutters, they would probably be the least labor-intensive solution.
  5. csr0831

    csr0831 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Norfolk Virginia
    This house was built in 1952 and no such code exsisted at the time that I am awear of. I agree that installing gutters would be the least labor intensive thing to do, but I would spend my life cleaning the things out. I live on a heavly wooded lot with lots of overhanging pines and hardwood trees. That is why I thought that constructing some kind of gutter in the ground under the drip line might serve the same purpose. A leaf blower would easly take care of the maintiance. Would be a bit of work to put them in, but I don't mind .....if it'll work.
  6. loafer

    loafer Mechanical Engineer

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Maine
    When I worked for an excavating company we used to dig along the foundation, maybe 1 – 2’ deep and install perforated drain pipe (similar to what you describe) in the bottom of the trench, then back fill to top with 1” crushed stone. This only works if you can slope the pipe downhill and provide somewhere for it to drain to. It sounds like you would be able to create a drain like this with your lot. It’s a much less expensive fix then digging out the entire footing drain and redoing it, though the latter is the best solution. Do you have a sump pump? That would also be a pretty inexpensive fix.
  7. csr0831

    csr0831 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Norfolk Virginia
    Digging to the foundation is not an option in my case as the foundation is approximatly 7 feet below the surface. I do have a sump pump and it handles ground water just fine, it's the heavy run off from rain events that I am having trouble with.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    In sandy soil, water can flow easily. If you have a new drain system that's down a couple of feet, you still have 5' of wall that water could come in laterally and get to the wall to seep in. Any drain would help, but it may not solve the problem, and you then have to dig it up to resolve it.
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