Re: Drainage Problem Please Help!!!
Posted by Moore on October 10, 1999 at 22:00:34:
In response to Re: Drainage Problem Please Help!!!
:If the house is a two story with a slab in part of the basement, and has a crawlspace that will allow you to see dirt too, you are probably experiencing groundwater pressure at the hill side which is trying to percolate into the retaining wall. The lime buildup and the peeling and patches are evidence of this. The lime is being leached out of the concrete block and mortar joints with the water, and when the water dries as a result of the dehumidifier, the lime remains. There are excellent wall paints that are sealers that you can buy from Home Depot which will prevent the water seepage from getting into the interior of the house. But please remember, that you are still trapping that water inside the block, and you'll be looking at a deterioriation problem of the blocks and joints if the water can't escape to a lower level. The french drain could be as expensive as you are hearing if you are in an exclusive neighborhood, and access for machinery is a problem. Please understand that if the retaining wall is prevented from allowing the water to escape, hydraulic pressure could build up in the rainy weather, and push the whole house structure. This is exactly what happened in the Laguna Beach area last year after the fire, and this happens every year to houses in Malibu to San Diego. You don't say where in Southern California you are buying, but I will be willing to look at the situation and make an estimate, based upon your wishes. I have more than twenty years experience in drainage and hydraulic pressure, and can probably offer some solutions.

You could possibly core holes through the retaining wall and horizontally drill french drain like structures.
You could possibly slightly re-landscape the dirt at the wall sides to allow drainage.
You could possibly construct a drainage pit to receive the water overload.
You could possibly access the largest trouble spot with an access panel.
There are commercial building type remedies you can apply in residential applications.

e-mail me if you want to engage in further discussions, and I'll call you and offer some potential drawings that you might be able to consult with your local Department of Building and Safety with.

My wife and I are buying a house on a hillside property. The house is a two
: story on a slab. The current owners tell me that there has been a humidity
: problem during the rainy season on the first floor. They have used a
: dehumidifier. The house is approximately 40 years old. They tell me that
: this past year when we had the heavy rains up here that there was quite a
: bit of water under the house in the crawlspace and that they rigged up a
: sump pump in a hole about 2 feet or so that they dug in the crawlspace.
: There is some blistering and patching on the walls and ceilings of the
: downstaris level of the house maybe related, maybe not. Also downstairs
: there has been an addition and there are some slight lime deposits where the
: old and "new" slabs meet indicating some moisture maybe coming up through
: the slab. The present owner tells me that prior to this past year they
: haven't had a problem with moisture to this degree. I called a geologist who
: charges a minimum $900 fee to access the situation. The house as is is a
: good deal, the cheapest house on the block. It is basically being sold "as
: is." Are French Drains the only alternative or is a good exterior drain
: system with a professionally installed sump better? I hear that French
: Drains can cost $20-$40,000??? The house is approximately 2100 square feet
: on a relatively small lot. I am down in Southern California. Any idea who
: I can call to look at it short of a $900 evaluation bill??? The house is
: basically ours at this point and there is no room for negotiation of price
: so I am trying to solve the problem within our budget. My wife and I will be
: living on pennies to make the mortgage and cannot afford a disaster waiting
: to happen. Any advice, help, suggestions would greatly help me.

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