efflorescence problem

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Old 04-10-08, 11:28 AM
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Question efflorescence problem

I have a problem with my basement foundation. The house is over 80 years old, and the foundation walls are limestone/granite and are very thick. There is one part of the foundation that is experiencing efflorescence in the mortar between the stones. This problem appears to be only at one side of the foundation--along the front side of the house. The lot slopes toward the back of the yard, with the front of the yard being the highest point of the entire yard. The efflorescence problem is only happening at the front of the foundation where the ground is at it's highest point.

I have been told by a home inspector that the front yard needs to be re-graded to slope away from the house and also I should improve the drainage.

My question is this--is the inspector correct? Will re-grading the my front yard and adding corrugated landscaping pipe help with the efflorescence problem? Or could the problem be something else altogether? I don't mind the work or expense doing all this landscaping (the front yard is only 25 feet deep). I just want to make sure I'm being given the straight story.

I don't know if this makes a difference, but my downspouts tie into the city sewer system. (I live in an urban area and you're not allowed to let your gutters run off onto neighboring property.) All gutters/downspouts were replaced 2 years ago.
 
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Old 04-10-08, 12:15 PM
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Efflorescence is caused by moisture passing thru masonary. Everything you can do to keep the wall dry will help. Whenever possible, yards should be graded away from the house. Foundation drains also help to remove the water that collects against the wall. Sounds like you have the gutter's part covered.
 
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Old 04-10-08, 12:17 PM
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What exactly is a foundation drain?
 
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Old 04-10-08, 12:22 PM
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Usually when building a house that has a portion that is underground, drain tile [corrugated pipe with small slits] and gravel are set along the bottom of the foundation wall to collect water and then pipe it out to an area away from the house.

If you decide to go this route, you should also coat the foundation with a foundation tar/sealer which will further help prevent efflorescence.
 
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Old 04-10-08, 12:37 PM
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I'm sure my house does not have drain tile. I think part of the problem lies with a limestone patio and adjacent planter box was built added to the front house in the 1960's. I do not think the yard was properly graded the these were added. Due to these structures being attached to the front of the house, I cannot dig close to the front foundation in the front, but I could get as close as I can plus I could go down the sides of the house.

Do you know how deep to install the corrigated drain tile to get optimal results? (I planned on buying the nylon sleeve in order to avoid having to backfill with gravel.)
 
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Old 04-10-08, 03:12 PM
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I have a split level- the front of the house looks like a ranch and the back of the house looks like two stories. At some point over the last 20 years, I have dug around the entire foundation...by hand. I dug all the way down to just below the footers.

With the foundation exposed, I scraped off the old parging that was softened, put two new coats of parging, then two coats of foundation sealer. (Like blacktop, but it specifically states for foundations.

Then, I laid a bed of gravel, drain tile in a sock and two foot of gravel over the tile, before backfilling. Everything slopes away from the house. The backfill was solid clay soil, so I added some gravel and sand and churned it all.

Someone later told me I could have embedded heavy black plastic in the seal coat, but I didn't do that, so can't tell you for sure if that would help.

It's been dry for 8 years, and I expect it to stay that way long after I leave this earth.

Free exercise...just yours for the asking!

Connie
 
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Old 04-10-08, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Aseret_in_MO View Post
Do you know how deep to install the corrigated drain tile to get optimal results?
Unfortunately it needs to be installed at the footer depth to be effective.
 
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