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Newly Installed French Drain Failure - Contractor MIA

Newly Installed French Drain Failure - Contractor MIA

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Old 03-29-17, 07:05 PM
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Newly Installed French Drain Failure - Contractor MIA

Hi all,

I am new here. I'll just get to it:

We've been in our house for ~2.5 years. We never had flooding; but there was evidence of hydrostatic pressure after heavy rains and spring snowmelts. There was also some pooling of water at the wall/floor joint in some spots. We tried some things with pitching the grading away from the home; not much success. But we decided to just take care of it with a pro. After getting 3 to 4 estimates, we hired a seemingly reputable company that we found on Home Advisor (almost 5 Stars PERFECT from 18 verified customers). This was a local company in business since 2004. Local guy, seemed very knowledgeable; advertised that basement water issues were their specialty. Long story short; as strongly recommended, we had them install french drains (on the inside) around the entire wall/floor perimeter. Two sumps were installed; with a water-powered back-up system. The job was completed last March (2016). There were problems almost immediately as there were still wet spots on the walls (one of the original symptoms); this was evidence to me that we still had hydrostatic pressure. We've had MANY heavy rains since the install and just had a major snow melt. I've never seen a trace of water in the sumps. Sumps have been DRY but walls are still getting wet. So the water is still pressing up on the outside walls but NOT getting to the french drains as designed. We called the contractor back and he came back a few times. That stopped in July 2016. Now he seems to have gone out of business. This was an expensive job. I filed complaints with Home Advisor, The NJ Div of Consumer Affairs and the Federal Trade Commission. I tried to go after his insurance but hit a dead-end. I don't have high hopes of getting in touch with him but will continue to try.

Does anyone have any thoughts on why the water is not getting to where it should be going? As far as I can tell, the system is a complete failure.

Thanks!!
 
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Old 03-29-17, 07:16 PM
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We tried some things with pitching the grading away from the home; not much success.

Grade and downspouts are #1 priority, what was done and was there any improvement?
 
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Old 03-29-17, 08:17 PM
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Hi Marq,

Yes, one of the first things we did was have all of the downspouts go underground; all water from roof is now routed underground and into the storm sewer. It reduced overall water amount; and the spotting was lessened somewhat but was still an issue; that's why we hired the contractor. We researched for about a year; almost all of the research and estimates cited the the french drain solution as the way to go - the most expensive but the FINAL remedy; the first part of that was true. I saw him install the system - I don't know what he didn't do - the water is not going down; I'm no expert but perhaps he didn't drill the holes (weep holes?).

Thanks,

Mike
 
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Old 03-30-17, 05:17 AM
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we had them install french drains (on the inside) around the entire wall/floor perimeter
Sumps have been DRY but walls are still getting wet.
The french drains are inside your house? Or did you mean outside? The water is outside coming in from outside obviously. And the concrete is cracked? Or its not cracked but the water is wicking through the concrete?

My french drains (we call them interceptor trenches) are outside and are quite a few feet away. They work quite well for surface run-off water.

Assuming yours are actually outside your house, and very much closer to your house, that makes me wonder if the source of your water is not surface related, but is much deeper like a spring and is coming up to your house; instead of going down to it. If your are actually inside your house then I don't know this design and can't see how that could even work in keeping your walls dry given the water is outside. Aren't all drainage systems supposed to be between the house and the source? I realize in some designs the sump might be inside but the interception of water is most always done outside right?
 
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Old 03-30-17, 05:33 AM
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I believe the OP had a weeping tile system installed in the floor on the inside of the basement walls, not necessarily a traditional French drain system on the outside.

My only thought would be that you have poor draining soil with a high clay content and the path of least resistance for the hydrostatic pressure is to relieve through the CMUs before it ever reaches your interior weeping tile / sump system.

If the water was coming up from the ground, I think you would see flow in your sumps.
 
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Old 03-30-17, 06:27 AM
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Hello psustang89!

This is what was done. I had no idea that exterior installation was the standard.

I've heard that we do have high clay/poor soil draining here. With that, what can I do; are there any options to remedy this?

Thanks!!

Mike
 
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Old 03-30-17, 06:44 AM
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When you say "this is what was done" what is "this"? Is your weeping system installed inside the basement walls or did they excavate outside and install a moisture barrier on your foundation/basement walls and install a drainage system outside?

Outside is the only real effective way to stop water from entering. After all it intercepts the water outside before it can pass through the walls. If a system is installed inside it relies on the water getting inside before it catches it. Many will say that because the drainage is installed below the floor that it will also work outside but in low permeable soils like clay significant hydrostatic pressure can build above simply because the water can not move through the soil fast enough. The cracks in the basement walls then become the path of least resistance.
 
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Old 03-30-17, 07:03 AM
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Hi Dane,

Thanks for responding. Yes, weeping system on the inside. No excavation on the outside. Funny, all of the 5 estimates we received, not one suggested doing it on the outside. I would have done it that way. The clay explanation makes total sense. My question is; is there anything I can do now to help the inside system work more effectively?
 
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Old 03-30-17, 07:38 AM
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Typ construction, at least up here in MI, is to put in a drain tile outside the basement walls so exterior water can drain to the pit which also collects the floor drains from the basement.

Assuming your soil is so bad that water can not even get down and under the basement wall to your new interior drain it would seem that some exterior excavation is needed to provide a path.

I have no idea if that is some bored holes or trenching down around the foundation and filling with good soil?
 
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