wet basement ... landscaping

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by GlobalTerrain, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    The other day my basement got very wet, ruined the carpet and padding in the finished area. The unfinished area, bathroom and HVAC room still bone dry. The water is definitely coming up through the floor in a few spots (hydrostatic pressure). There are no visible cracks and only one spot where the poured concrete basement floor has a hamburger sized chunk out of it, but no fishers or cracks in it. The walls are also poured concrete, and the house is about 10 years old. I have no evidence of water coming through the walls or any place else, that would be a slightly different scenario.

    My first mistake was calling a company that just wanted to sell me an inside trench system. These only divert the the water INSIDE the wall to a new sump in the center of the floor, doesn't stop mold, insects, radon, or hydrostatic pressure.

    So after a lot of research, and considering my specific problems here's my (becoming informed) plan.
    1) Hire an independent engineer that specializes in water issues. Someone who is not 'Selling' anything except expert advice, not referrals. Based on his advice:
    2) Find a reputable landscaper to reshape my yard to redirect water away from house, install a drainage system (french drain, swale, or rock swale) to the nearest primary storm drain.
    3) Ensure gutters are clean and maybe get larger gutters, but ensure the downspouts are far from house.
    4) Hire a reputable plumber to snake (clean) my 'storm trap' under the basement floor, to free any blockage.
    5) Raise the lip of my window well (egress window), and get a clear cover to put over it.
    6) Patch any cracks inside (3M concrete sealer), maybe seal the floor.

    Now I've already replaced my sump pump with a Zoeller M98 model (the best), and bought a 70 pint dehumidifier. I also bought a eu200i 2K watt Honda generator if the power goes out (decided after a lot of research this is the most practical solution, and I can use the generator for lots of power outage problems.

    I spent hours researching and making this plan because I couldn't find an article like it. Any advice appreciated, and if you know a reputable plumber that can snake the storm trap or a landscaping company, in central Maryland (near Laurel), please post here. Thanks an I hope this info helps someone.
  2. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Ok first things first, If there is access to the storm drains I would have them camera'd to see if there is a problem with them. Then depending on what they find either try jetting them (high pressure water) not snaking as this can damage the pipe, or repairing a problem if necessary. After making sure the storm system is good if the problem persists, start the other thngs you were suggesting. It could be as simple as your lateral being partailly blocked, so that when there are heavy rains the system can't handle the volume and saturates around the house.
  3. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Great points, thank you! Would a plumber have a camera to do this?
    Is there a special high pressure hose, who does this kind of work?

    I believe this is the most likely problem and solution, just don't know what kind of tradesman does work like this.
    But I'll start asking around, plumbers and landscapers in these parts to start with. Thanks!!
    (so worried over this I can't sleep)
  4. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Not all plumbers will have a jetter/flusher as they are pricey, most will have a camera though. You may find a drainage company that specialize in storm drainage and have the equipment needed.

    A jetter/flusher is basicly a big power washer with a hose that has a tip with small holes. They are pointed on a 45 degree angle backwards so the pressure feeds the hose through the line and cleans the pipe as it goes. So if your drains are half full of dirt/mud it will break it down and allow it to drain away leaving a full size pipe.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  5. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    That explains a lot thanks. My understanding is the collection pipes under my house that lead to the sump will eventually clog with silt and debris, so what you are saying makes sense to have this checked/cleaned.
    You do you mean the PVC pipes under my house that lead into my sump hole or something else? The couple landscapers I asked about this with were unfamiliar with this.
    Thanks!
  6. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    An excellent landscaper came out today, he walked every inch, looked in the collector in the back yard, jumped in my window well, talked with me for about an hour. Will write up a bid this weekend, I was extremely pleased. He never mentioned cleaning the drain or anything, I'm really not sure what drain you mean.

    Any other ideas, suggestions? Appreciate all.
  7. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Normally you should have a storm drain connection at the city unless you are in a rural area that doesn't have a storm system. If you do have a rock pit that your storm drains to then this may have failed, meaning it is not dispersing the water into the ground anymore due to saturation or blockage. in this case you may have to replace the pit, basically by digging a big hole and filling with drain rock. Again the first step is the camera, it can tell you alot and locate the pit if you have one.

    I'm talking about the whole system, there should be a perimeter system around the foundation of the house. This go's to either a storm lateral that go's to the city drain or a pit, or it sounds like in your case you have a sump that is pumped somewhere.

    Your house is only 10 years old so there should be cleanouts maybe at the corners of the house outside that you can access the system if not get out a shovel and start digging.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  8. Fireguy97

    Fireguy97 Irrigation Contractor

    What does this have to do with Irrigation?

    Mick
  9. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    I appreciate all the advice. It's unwanted irrigation...LOL, ok, seriously I couldn't find a better place to ask this question.
    Here's a good pick of the back yard, the water is coming off the hill, most of it is going over the storm drain in the back yard and into the window well by the HVAC unit.
    I'm certain I need better drainage, just unsure what kind and where to have it em-placed. Any suggestions welcomed.

    [​IMG]
  10. Fireguy97

    Fireguy97 Irrigation Contractor

    You don't say where the water is coming from, or who owns the drain.

    In most states and provinces there are clear cut rules and regulations on what you can and can't do with draining water onto someone elses property. Have you had someone from the municipality come out to inspect what is happening? If they own it, then shouldn't they be involved, or pay for a fix?

    Mick
  11. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Yes very true, as I understand it same rule here, you aren't supposed to have your water drain into others property. I called the water company and they came out and looked at the drain. They said the drain was installed by the developer but the would fill in the hole (they haven't). No mention of the neighbors water spilling onto my lawn. If I can fix the problem by tying their downspouts into that drain, I'd rather do that than possibly damaging our relationship by getting any authorities involved, unless it is a major issue that can't be resolved any other way.

    Most of the water is coming from up the hill, where I'm standing to take the photo, the grade gets even steeper, it's also coming from drainage pipes from both my neighbors yards onto mine.
  12. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Here's my latest plan to discuss with the landscaper, any ideas appreciated by both of us.

    Dig a trench from the left rear of the house around under the deck on the outside of the steps. (or go all the way to the outside corner of the right rear of the house)

    Under the deck install a large running drain, just short of the entire 14' (or all the way to the corner), collection point at the right rear corner of the house

    Install a drain from the left corner downspout.

    Backfill the dirt near the house sloping away toward the drain (use plastic?).

    Connect from the neighbors drain line, into the storm drain.

    Connect from the neighbors drain up the hill underground to the collector in the right rear corner.

    Connect the downspout and the sump outpipe into the right rear collector.

    Run a line underground from the collector all the way to the front yard. Install a 4x4' rock collection area so the water can run over the yard and to the street. (better to run it to the street directly?) Nope, when it freezes better to have it go to rocks.

    Building a brick/stone shield around the window well (not sure how to do this with the plastic cover. Could dig a drain in the bottom of the window well (but where would that water go?, it can't go up to the collector). Or could add another metal window grate then build a stone wall around it. Many options.

    Is it possible to lift the sod and excavate dirt to improve the swale then replace the sod, at the storm drain?
  13. GlobalTerrain

    GlobalTerrain New Member

    Messages:
    16
    He said it's going to take about 5 days, and $5500 bid.

    Several pipes, longest a 6" that runs about 50' the entire length from back yard to front.
  14. Estrogen Hostage

    Estrogen Hostage New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    NE KS

    I would focus on the downspouts first - not sure you need the rest.

    Where are you at? Around here that's backhoe work at $90/hr for about six hours and maybe 200-300 worth of materials. At least you could start there and see what happens.
  15. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    Yes, start with the most likely causes that also the cheapest and work up to the expensive fixes.

    It also helps if you can somehow find out immediately whether a particular fix worked.

    If later fixes interact with earlier ones this can get complicated.


    1) Hire an independent engineer that specializes in water issues.
    In this case you should find the EVPI, the Expected Value of Perfect Information, so you know what to pay for this.

    2) Find a reputable landscaper to reshape my yard to redirect water away from house, install a drainage system (french drain, swale, or rock swale) to the nearest primary storm drain.
    You may need a pump. The level is easily and precisely checked with one of those water levels that use a garden hose.

    3) Ensure gutters are clean and maybe get larger gutters, but ensure the downspouts are far from house.
    There are specs on the downslope away from the house for the closest 6'.
    Gutter size can be figured: inches per hour max rainfall for your area times roof sq. footage, vs. downspout/gutter capacity. Border's has handbooks on this type of thing, probably in the Civil Engineering dept.

    4) Hire a reputable plumber to snake (clean) my 'storm trap' under the basement floor, to free any blockage.
    If it needs it. I guess you could check capacity with a bucket of water poured in at a certain flow rate. The first bucketfull may be needed just to reach the obstruction; the next one gives you a better indication of flow rate.

    5) Raise the lip of my window well (egress window), and get a clear cover to put over it.
    How much comes in this way? How much cost?

    6) Patch any cracks inside (3M concrete sealer), maybe seal the floor.
    May have to withstand pressure.

    Costhelper.com can give you relative costs. Likelihood of fixing your particular problem is a little harder to come by. A $5K fix with 20% likelihood of fixing the problem = a $2K fix with 50% likelihood of fixing the problem.
    Doing a survey on this site may help with this.

    Was this problem due to excessive rainfall? The newspaper publishes rainfall within the last 24 hours. If this rainfall was a 10 year rainfall or a 20 year rainfall you may not want to fix it at all.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010

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