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the_art_of_design 04-06-2011 09:10 AM

How should I address my grading issue?
Greetings follower DIYers!

I humbly ask your experienced opinions on how best to address a grading issue I am having.

Some background information.

(It is a semi-detached house, no sump in the basement and condition or even presence of weeping tile is unknown).

My g/f and I purchased this house about 3 months ago. Recently (during the thaw) we noticed bubbling of the plaster in our basement at the bottom of our stairs. The area seems to be localized. Under the stairs is an unfinished storage area where we can see the exposed foundation wall (block) and some of the mortar joints are damp. So the hydrostatic pressure is pushing the water through the joints and into my basement... Why?

Now that my attention is re-focused I looked a little more closely outside to see what is going on.

The side door is installed at grade, not above grade like it should have been. The landing on the inside of the door is an intermediate landing for a set of stairs that goes to my main floor and my basement. Raising the door and landing would be a big job and not something im ready to consider (unless absolutely necessary).

The homeowner who had the driveway asphalted neglected to address the issue of the low door and now you can see where the water slopes towards the foundation of the house. This I assume is my root problem. I also assume the homeowner realized this after the fact and attempted to rectify it with an exterior sump pip and pump. Unfortunately, the pit is only 2' deep and not to the bottom of the basement footing so water below this area is being pushed into the basement. (Please ignore the pump being plugged into the exterior outlet. This I will have to properly address if I keep the pump). The location of the pump access cover (if on the inside if the house) would be where the highest concentration of moisture is located.

From the edge of the fireplace to the door sill there would be a height 2.5-3" difference.

Should I:

A) Dig the sump pit deeper and hope it collects the low standing water and pumps it out away from the foundation. I would also waterproof the wall at this location with dimpleboard and an elastomeric waterproofing material.

B) Cut away the asphalt 6' from the side of the house and attempt to regrade and create a swale in the asphalt in hopes to redirect the water away from the foundation.

C) Re-aspahlt all around and have a low area in front of the door with an area drain that would collect any water, pipe it to the adjacent sump pip and have it pumped out.

D) Raise the door 1 or 2 brick courses and have an awkward step on the inside of the door to the landing (so I dont have to rebuild my staircase)

E) Im open to suggestions!!!

Sorry for the long read. Here are some photos of the area in question.]

(The area of missing asphalt was removed as the driveway heaved in the winter and I could not open the screen door)... Hmm, could water be entering here and sitting against my wall as well...


nealtw 04-06-2011 09:49 PM

A B and C all of these need to be done and hopefully you find a drain down there to hook to.

joecaption 04-07-2011 04:23 AM

Look at the trim at the bottom of that door and see if it's already starting to rot out. It would be best if the whole door was replaced at some point with a fiberglass door with vinyl jams and brick moulding, it also needs to be installed with a vinyl sill pan under it. (google sill pan to see how one works) Most of the time there's some room up over the door so a piece of 3/4 X 6 vinyl lumber sealed with silicone at the top and bottom of it can fit under the door to at least give you 3/4" of height so water will not just run right in. If someone covered it wil coil stock my guess it's because the brick moulding was already rotting. Look at the area just inside that door. If it's a slab your going to see staining from water getting in, if there's sub floor you can count on that rotting out. Most of the time people trying to see try to cover up the old patches with carpet.
It would be good if you could cut out a 4' X 4' section in front of that door and add a steel grate over a pit and have that water run into the french drain your going to need.
Digging you pit you have now deeper will do little good, it needs drainage all along that whole wall.
Trying to add dimple board and sealer on the inside of the foundation will do no good and the board will not stay stuck to the wall. Water proofing needs to be done outside.

the_art_of_design 04-07-2011 10:09 AM

Thank you for the replies.

^^ Just to clarify, I was never suggesting installing dimpleboard on the interior of the wall :)

A few questions about a french drain..

How big would this have to be? What would it drain into if weeping tiles do not exist? Also, how deep would it have to be dug and how much backfill of stone would be required.

I understand the concept of a french drain, just not how you properly construct one.

nealtw 04-11-2011 05:49 PM

If you don,t find a drain pipe atr the footings, install sump pump at that level. If you dig out a yard of dirt order a yard of gravel.

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