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Basement leak in basement. Do I need to waterproof the entire exterior wall?

Basement leak in basement. Do I need to waterproof the entire exterior wall?

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  #1  
Old 09-21-14, 08:04 PM
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Basement leak. Do I need to waterproof the entire exterior wall?

Hi guys

I just discovered that we bought a lemon. There is a strange smell in the basement that I could detect but my wife could not. When we bought the house a strong air refresher was used, we thought it was because old people lived there.
The fact is that after a while , after we moved in and we removed the air refresher left behind by the former owners we noticed that the basement had smell.

I was talking to a friend about redoing the floor (the basement is finished) and he had a look at it and he noticed that there was a patch where the floor was removed and poorly replaced. At a closer look I realized that there might have been a leak
I went outside and I had a look at the house and there seems to be a crack visible under the cement coating that started falling on a larger area surrounding the crack. That crack corresponds to the vertical of the place where the leak happened. If you stay in that room you don't sense much but if you smell that area of the floor really close you could sense it

I need to fix that area (external insulation) and I want to know if I need to fix the entire wall or I could dig all the way to the footing around that area and insulate and fix just that. The crack is right below middle of an above the grade basement window.

Nothing else looks suspicious in that area of the wall. The grading is not fantastic, I am planning to redo that and to add pavers or concrete slabs.

So ..do I need to waterproof the entire wall ? Can't I just fix it locally ?

thanks
PF

PS: the house is a bungalow build in 1958
 
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  #2  
Old 09-22-14, 08:41 AM
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First things first--you need to stop the source of water entry on the exterior before trying to fix the interior. Spinning your wheels on a very slippery slope if you don't. And sealing just one small area is not likely to prevent water entry, as water will continue searching for other entry points (which most basements have many of).
 
  #3  
Old 09-22-14, 09:13 AM
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sorry for not being very clear, I am talking about exterior waterproofing.
Actually I think I mentioned below See "exterior insulation"
What I had in mind is digging a small trench where the crack is and do the work there
There is no other problems elsewhere on that perimeter. I am not sure if the cracks showed in the picture below are part of the same problem. There is nothing wrong or visible in the house

I think all these are due to a patio that was improperly built and has poor grading
The window mentioned below is near a corner (~ 3 feet away or more). You can guess it below in the upper left side of the picture. The corner has some cracks as well and that white efflorescence
The problem that originated all these is a patio that was built connected to the house. I am reading that it should be sloped away from the house (graded) but it is not, at least the bricks are almost level.
In heavy rain the water collects in that corner and it enters the enclosed perimeter that is dedicated to flowers, which perimeter is not properly graded either. So it works like this: it rains heavily, the water collects in that corner and later gets underground. This is not a lot of water accumulation but it is there.
If I want to waterproof that corner does this mean that I have to dig a trench around that corner only, or it has to go completely around both walls that form that corner ?

 

Last edited by PF4DIY; 09-22-14 at 12:03 PM.
  #4  
Old 09-22-14, 07:25 PM
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You were clear enough & Bridgeman was clear too. You don't know how far down the crack goes. It could go to the footing. The slope also needs to be corrected. What's the status of the gutters & downspouts? BTW, insulation is not the correct term. We used a membrane, to seal the foundation.
 
  #5  
Old 09-22-14, 07:55 PM
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no one knows where wtr enters the bsmt wall - we only know where we see it from the inside
 
  #6  
Old 09-22-14, 08:15 PM
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The gutters and downspouts are in very good conditions
I looked at them during our last torrential rain we had here during this weekend.
The roof is like brand new (3 years) and so are the gutters and downspouts

Yes it is membrane, sorry for that.
As far as this crack goes I will dig down to the footing if I need to. I just don;t see the point to go for the entire wall.
It is not a coincidence that the crack is where the floor was deteriorated. I should see that if the water can get in via other cracks.

The reason for this crack is simple, it is a corner where the water used to collect from our patio, attached to the house. I noticed that during this last rain that I mentioned above. I have good reasons to believe that the crack appeared because the water infiltrated that corner. We had a terrible winter last year (Ice storms and low temperatures, lots of freezing and unfreezing and so on)
 
  #7  
Old 09-23-14, 02:37 AM
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let's try this again,,, is it a semi-liquid OR cast fabric membrane ?

say you dig down to the footing & waterproof the crack ( we use hlm5000 or = ),,, we then protect the coating w/alrpnvest store 19mm pondliner,,, you'll be sure to stop the leak AT THAT POINT,,, however, your disturbed earth will now be less compacted than the surrounding undisturbed earth,,, wtr takes the path of least resistance,,, it now seeps down thru the softer earth til it reaches undisturbed earth @ which time it seeps sideways,,, so, you may have sealed the leaking crack but haven't you also created an underground pond ?

this is our method but we have to guarantee our work for the life of the structure & transfer the guarantee to the next owner - no strings, either,,, if necessary, we also install underground sumps & pumps.

yes, this is a lot of work,,, you can also manage the leak inside w/sump & pump - less effort

most often, every winter is terrible or not-so-bad-as-last,,, summers are always too hot & dry OR wet,,, just my $.03 from someone who does this work professionally
 
  #8  
Old 09-23-14, 04:58 AM
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hi sta(y)dry :-)

If I had the money to have it fixed by a pro I wouldn't be here asking for advice.
Please remember that we just bought the house. Here in Canada we are at all times freaking high with the prices so....please try to understand my position

As for the matter discussed here, I guess that if there was another crack there the water would have used it.
About the underground pond... hmm I doubt that it will collect that much water. There is gravity that will direct water downward first for the surrounding area. That is the main force here, the lesser ground resistance is secondary and the dig area will be too small to collect enough water to worry someone.

Also see this picture:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]38778[/ATTACH]
 
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Last edited by PF4DIY; 09-23-14 at 06:17 AM.
  #9  
Old 09-23-14, 06:37 AM
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Far too much to respond with beyond the issue you are posting so I'll give you some reading and a few one liners to see if I can help. My apologies in advanced if the information you get is not what you wanted to hear. It often happens that way.

1. If you have mold under the floor from a leaky wall, you probably also have mold in the walls.
2. Efflorescence can come from moisture vapor passing right through the wall as well as a leak.
3. Most finished basements have assumed the tar applied to the below ground area of the foundation has resolved the moisture problems. Wrong!
4. In your very cold climate, the patio/soil several feet from the house may rise with the frost. You need a minimum of 6" in 6 feet from the house for a slope. The soil next to the house doesn't freeze, therefore doesn't lift.
5. As a temporary measure, use a dehumidifier to lower the humidity down there. As much below 50% as you can get.
6. I assume the finished basement includes finished walls? Is there a vapor barrier inside the walls? What type of insulation was installed?

BSD-012: Moisture Control for New Residential Buildings — Building Science Information

BSD-103: Understanding Basements — Building Science Information

Bud
 
  #10  
Old 09-23-14, 09:10 AM
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Hi Bud

Thanks for the info.
1. I think that the problem is recent, it is not that advanced. At least in that room. I might have a similar problem in another area. I am planing to have a look at it but I am not sure how can I check this. Do I have to rip off the drywall to see what is behind it ? Can I do it with an inspection camera?
2. The crack is on the exterior of the wall and well above the grade. It can be because the moisture vapor
4. Do you mean that I need a 6 feet slope or it can in that proportion (ex 2 feet 2in and then flat) ?
5. Already done. I am using a delonghi AC that has a built in dehumidifier.
6. I don't know much about the way it was built. I just bought the house. How can I check that ?

regarding the white efforence, your explaination is a little strange. Maybe I got that wrong. Are you saying that the water accumulates below the grade and it finds its way out from there or it is because it is too humid at the base of the wall just above the grade and the water evaporates and goes up off the wall The best explaination that I could find was this

Resistance to Shrinkage

As water evaporates from the exposed surface and is absorbed by the sub-grade, capillary force pulls water from the voids between the cement particles in the main body of the matrix, and the concrete will continue to shrink. Differential drying and shrinkage rates between concrete at the surface and the underlying concrete create tensile stresses. This phenomenon is called resistance to shrinkage, and this resistance, caused by moisture surface tension in capillaries in the concrete, called capillary stress, can exceed 400 pounds per square inch (psi) in normal concrete. In high-strength concrete, capillary stress can exceed 600 psi. The tensile stress created by resistance to shrinkage is relieved by cracking. Greater differences in shrinkage rates will create greater tensile stresses, with the increased likelihood of cracking. Hot and windy conditions increase surface evaporation, so the concrete is more likely to crack than if it’s placed during cool, calm and cloudy conditions.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]38783[/ATTACH]


Resistance to shrinkage

The illustration above shows the underlying layer of concrete (B) that is slower to dry and offers resistance to shrinkage. In the image on the left, a vapor barrier is installed directly beneath the concrete so that all drying must take place from the upper surface. On the right, the lack of a vapor barrier allows drying both to the air and to the sub-grade, reducing the capillary force along AB, which reduces the resistance to shrinkage and makes concrete at the surface less likely to crack.
 
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  #11  
Old 09-23-14, 09:57 AM
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From what I have read so far my personal conclusion is that building a patio attached to the building was an idiocy. Even if you grade it, it settles down and you end up with a level surface. The base for this patio might actually make easier for the water to get to the building

An emergency plan would be to build a french drain around the wall of the house and to regrade from the outer edge of the drain toward the rest of the yard

I have no problems on the walls marked with thick lines in the figure below
Sorry for the duplication I don't know how to remove the attached images and to replace that with a link to an external site
 
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  #12  
Old 09-23-14, 10:04 AM
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When I do an energy audit, few home owners will let me tear out a section of their wall/s , so yes an inspection camera and I try to peak around electrical boxes. If an opening is requires I drill a neat hole in a hidden spot where it can be easily patched. Question six asks about a vapor barrier so if you peak inside the wall at any point, watch for a plastic covering or even the Kraft faced fiberglass. Any vapor barrier increases the moisture level on the moist side and inhibits drying to the other side. And that moisture has a habit of growing mold.

How far out the frost will form is dependent upon your soils and the heat being lost through your foundation walls. At 2' from the basement wall there would likely not be a lot of frost. Once you get 6' out the basement heat will be having little effect and whatever frost is going to form, it will. Even if it is only 2 or 3 inches, you would still want a good slope to move the water away from the basement wall. One of the more difficult seasons is early spring when the frost in fully established and you get early rain and snow melt. All of that water will struggle to find a place to go and nice warm soft soil next to the foundation is a frequent path, and any cracks will be a problem.

The section you quoted relates to new concrete and how it dries. Efflorescence is the result of moisture (or moisture vapor) moving from damp areas to a surface where it can evaporate and when it evaporates it leaves behind the minerals it carried with it. The source of the moisture can be many feet away as moisture vapor and liquid moisture can travel substantial distances through concrete. 20 feet vertically is possible. I'll add a link on capillarity.

Bud

BSI-011: Capillarity—Small Sacrifices — Building Science Information
 
  #13  
Old 09-23-14, 10:24 AM
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Wow! 20 feet vertically? I can't believe that

OK I have o lots of power plugs around the room, on the walls, the former owner installed them everywhere where he could :-)
That basement room certainly has like around 6 of them, one is located just above the area where the floor was replaced. I will look at that first, good idea!
Speaking of seasons, I might need to do some digging and I am not sure when to do it, should I try to live with this till the next summer or try to do something while the weather gets dryer (and colder) at the end of the hurricane season

There is one thing that I still have to check, the humidity in the house measures around 68% upstairs and around 70% downstairs. I have measured that mostly in cold conditions using this guy

It might not be very precise and I still have to use it outside and to send it to a friend of mine to see if he measures high as well (his place is dry for sure)
 

Last edited by PF4DIY; 09-23-14 at 11:24 AM.
  #14  
Old 09-23-14, 10:30 AM
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After reading more opinions I am more and more convinced that the patio is the culprit here, notice that the wall has many forming cracks on that side of the corner that faces the patio and there is just one formed because the big one extended
 

Last edited by PF4DIY; 09-23-14 at 10:54 AM.
  #15  
Old 09-23-14, 12:01 PM
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When watching humidity you need to adjust each reading for the temperature at the time. I'll add another link that will calculate the dew point, which is what you use to compare. I sometimes use one dew point to recalculate the relative humidity at the same temperature as another room to compare that way.

Also, note the temperature and RH outside as all houses exchange a lot of air, thus if humid outside it will be humid inside, unless you are running ac or a dehumidifier.
Bud

Temperature, Dewpoint, and Relative Humidity Calculator
 
  #16  
Old 09-24-14, 03:38 AM
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haven't met anyone yet who could mop on cold asphalt as it needs to be liquid for that to happen & you need to heat it for the change from solid to liquid to occur,,, an asphalt emulsion is a different material & much thinner therefore less fulfilling of the objective of sealing a wall,,, trowel or brush applied hlm5000 in 5g bkts is our standard protected by 19mm pond liner from backfill damage & abrasion,,, your diagram shows drainage stone but no collection/discharge piping nor is any soil filter fabric shown,,, its doubtful just stone can perform well for any period of time w/o clogging,,, whether or not 1 does this work as a diy project OR its hired out to a pro, method & materials don't change
 
  #17  
Old 09-24-14, 07:06 AM
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How about this: "Elastomeric Waterproofing Membrane" explained here

my diagram is schematic, high level overview, layout, whatever you like to call it.
the steps you need to take to install a french drain are well described on many pages in Internet
 

Last edited by stickshift; 09-25-14 at 01:52 PM. Reason: Removed quoting of entire post
  #18  
Old 09-25-14, 10:48 AM
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I am now reading on this topic so I can approach this project properly. I just wanted to leave a note here for whoever might need it.
The literature and the advice you get depends on the interest of who is giving you the info.
I have read 100K pages saying that the best approach is to waterproof from outside only to run into one that was saying that is not the best approach. Incidentally the guys sell all sort of equipment which would have no market if people like me will go all for exterior waterproofing.

It is common sense that you have to stop the water to get into your basement instead of continuously pumping that out of it.
It is good that there are lots of specialty books that deal with this problem. For competent advice look for books written for university and colleges, that is to get an educated opinion on the matter of the best solution for your case
For implementation you can search Youtube and the Internet for videos or How to pages where you can see how it is done.
 
  #19  
Old 09-25-14, 12:33 PM
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Waterproofing the wall around a crack

I wonder if this would work. As I mentioned in my other thread in this forum I suspect that I have a crack in one of my basement walls. This is just below an above the grade window on the same wall (for the layout see my other thread)

While I am waiting for my USB borescope to arrive so I can assess the damage behind the wall of the finished basement I am evaluating my options to fix the problem on that wall. I don't want to dig the entire wall and to water proof is since it seem to be ok for the rest of it. (the problem comes from the wall that forms a corner with this one where the crack is)

So I am thinking about digging all the way down to the footing but just around the crack and under the window. Next I will fix the crack using one of the recommended concrete or expoxy or whatever. After that I will apply whatever asphalt solution and membrane that is recommended and after that I am planning to backfill with the previously excavated soil. No draining at the base

As someone pointed here by doing the above I am going to create a sort of gap there where the soil will be softer that the surrounding soil and the water could migrate toward this spot due to some lateral pressure (I forgot the exact term)

In order to avoid this migration I am thinking of adding two plastic membranes positioned like in this picture (only closer to the exterior edge of the dig)

The idea would be to stop the migration of the water. I would put two of them because due to soils moving they might crack but it is unlikely that they will actually crack at the same horizontal level.

Do you think that this is going to work ?

Note: this is on top of the membrane added to the wall itself.
 
  #20  
Old 09-25-14, 01:30 PM
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BSI-011: Capillarity—Small Sacrifices — Building Science Information
This was an excellent link. Thanks Bud.
That site you pointed me to is a very good one, one of the very few with pertinent info, clearly exposed, right to the point
 
  #21  
Old 09-25-14, 01:46 PM
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hlm5000 does it all & is NOT an emulsion (mixture) but, rather, a compound... it is too thick to mop & doesn't need heat in order to be applied
 
  #22  
Old 09-25-14, 07:35 PM
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Here are some pros doing it !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXGtxxMhoq0
 
  #23  
Old 09-26-14, 02:29 AM
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you mean wanna-bee's, don't you ? pro's, my patoot no pro would put a man down there w/o cribbing/shoring no matter what the soil so i don't want to hear anybody say anything about the soil,,, the hole's over 4' deep - end of story,,, far's the material being installed, its not ' tar ' as the narrator states,,, both tar AND asphalt are solids & need heat in order to be applied,,, that stuff is probably plastic roofing ceement from the local apron/vest store,,, we use sheet membrane ( 19mm pond liner ) to protect the waterproofing material [ hlm5000 - no $ interest ],,, IF you need to protect the membrane, waffleboard works very well - its a cast hdpe fabric that comes in rolls,,, you might try finding some grace bituthane which would work well IF you can get it to stick to the wall

too bad its not a conc bsmt wall,,, all you'd have to do is inject w/hydrophyllic polyurethane & be done w/it - no dig, no backfill, no leak, MUCH less $$$
 
  #24  
Old 09-26-14, 02:34 AM
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here's a thread on the same thing: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ba...und-crack.html amazing how close to each other they were on the forum list,,, who says we never talk to each other anymore ?

2 more point - waterproofing is ALWAYS done from the exterior,,, anything done from the interior is water management,,, installing any leak prevention coating on the inside of a wall does NOT prevent that water from entering the wall where it can create more damage than imagineable such as wall implosion ( collapse ),,, many try to stop leaks, etc w/o much consideration of permanence, method, or materials - we do this work professionally w/o time limit on the guarantees,,, are we expensive ? i don't know - what's it worth to have the leaks repaired to you ? its no fun doing all this nasty work then finding out you need to sue yourself 'cause you did the work wrong
 
  #25  
Old 09-26-14, 03:51 AM
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Your posts are a little out of whack, time wise, but I merged the threads since they were on the same subject. Too many threads causes confusion.
 
  #26  
Old 09-26-14, 05:12 AM
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stardy,
how did you know it is not concrete basement?
I am not sayint that it is not ...I just don't understand how you could guess that.

the other question that I have for you is regarding the cribbing you are mentioning above. It is interesting that none of the videos posted on youtube on Basement Waterproofing shows such a cribbing even for bigger excavations.
If you manually dig that (which I think they did) how the hell do you get to dig that deep with cribbing inside ?
 
  #27  
Old 09-26-14, 05:23 AM
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@chandler
Sorry, my bad, I just thought that waterproofing a crack and waterproofing an entire wall would be two different things. Since I had trouble myself with finding "crack only" ) videos I posted that in a different thread so somebody else could find it and read it easily instead of reading my entire saga
 
  #28  
Old 10-03-14, 10:19 AM
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@bud or anyone else who can answer this: do you guys know why the dark grey spots that look like wet wall in my second post in this thread never dry? If you touch them you don't feel like they are wet.
I have seen the same with some concrete slabs at the entrance of the house where I have concrete slabs in front of the exterior door. When the weather gets humid (it is about to rain) you can see the marks of the cement slab increased in size. This is a very strange thing, is it superficial humidity ?
 
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