Ground Water Issues in Basement Floor

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cshahar

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Hi Everyone:

Some Background: I bought my present home a year ago. During that time I noticed that the basement floor developed white or discolored spots as a result of moisture. Within a few months, the paint that the previous owner used to hide this issue was peeling and crumbling. The cement base itself was a little soft in spots. Apparently, the house was built in an area that used to be a swamp. The ground water level is quite high. I actually have three pits with sump pumps working, which is unusual for a small house like mine.

So a few days ago there were heavy rains and a flood warning. I noticed that a couple of puddles started to form on the floor. One trickled across the laundry room to form a puddle at its center. It was not a dramatic event (I have had basement flooding before) but I am concerned.

My question is, would a French Drain fix this problem? Do I need to change the whole of the cement slab? Both these options are expensive and require a lot of excavation. What could ease this problem of ground water seepage?

I wanted to install a membrane floor with vapor barrier, but my concern is that the water that is trapped underneath would erode the integrity of the cement slab even further. Am I right?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Thanks!

-Charles
 

nealtw

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3 pump pits' in the basements. Did some one just dig holes and put a pump in it. Usually a trench is dug around the perimeter and drain is run to the to a sump
 

cshahar

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One is just a hole, the other two have pipes leading to them.
 

cshahar

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I am now wondering whether maybe water is getting through my chimney because I noticed the water follows the air pipe leading to the chimney. Hmmm. maybe I should seal it? In that case it may not be groundwater that is responsible!
 

joecaption

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At least 95% of the time an issue like this needs to be addressed on the outside to prevent the water from getting in there in the first place.
Working gutters, no mulch or flower beds forming ponds against the foundation, grade running away from the foundation.
In rare cases like your may be there should have been drain tiles laid before the slab was poured.
If there just pits with a pump sitting in the holes there useless.
There just is nothing you use on the top of a slab to stop water from coming through it, it needed to be done under the slab.
 

joecaption

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Post a picture so we can see what your seeing.
Once again if it is the chimney it needs to be addressed on the outside.
Not going to do any good to seal from the inside, water will still be getting in and will just find another place to come out.
 

cshahar

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Here is the picture. Light areas are water traces. Its not the chimney. i asked my inspector friend and he corrected me. And if it was that air pipe on the left it would leak in other floors as well. Is it coming from underneath the wall? Any help would be appreciated!
 

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nealtw

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Here is the picture. Light areas are water traces. Its not the chimney. i asked my inspector friend and he corrected me. And if it was that air pipe on the left it would leak in other floors as well. Is it coming from underneath the wall? Any help would be appreciated!
We would like to see the wall water proofed on the outside and a drain tile out there at the footing well below the floor. The next would be to trench the interior beside the wall and lay drain tile to the sump where it gets pumped out.
It sounds like you have a sump but for what ever reason the water is not getting to the pump. Perhaps you don't have the drain tile or it is plugged or it doesn't extend to the source of the water or the dirt below the floor does not let water pass quickly.
 

cshahar

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Actually, a lot of water gets to that pit. It comes from two drain pipes, and I hear a constant gushing of water. Is it possible that one of these pipes has ruptured?
 

nealtw

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Actually, a lot of water gets to that pit. It comes from two drain pipes, and I hear a constant gushing of water. Is it possible that one of these pipes has ruptured?
Usually a drain pipe is surrounded with gravel so a problem with the pipe is not lost the gravel will to the job. Gushing of water.
Does water come back when the pump stops running? have you compared your water usage with neighbours that should have similar usage..
Watch what happens when some one pulls the plug on a bathtub, sink or laundry.
 

cshahar

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Hi. This problem only happened during a few hours of very heavy rains. The cement floor generally shows the effects of moisture by staining and cracking, but I had never seen a couple of puddles accumulate before.
 

nealtw

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Hi. This problem only happened during a few hours of very heavy rains. The cement floor generally shows the effects of moisture by staining and cracking, but I had never seen a couple of puddles accumulate before.
Water on it's own doesn't do much damage to concrete and with a sump pit any flood should be coming from the pit, I think.
This sounds like you have expansive clay under the floor that absorbs the water and pushes at the floor and doesn't drain all that well.
I think Your best bet would be to add drainage to the outside at the level of the bottom of the footing and catch the water before it gets inside.
 

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