Putting in Bigger Basement Window/Outside Window Well - General Questions

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Old 04-26-15, 01:21 PM
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Putting in Bigger Basement Window/Outside Window Well - General Questions

Hi Guys,

I am getting ready to have a crack fixed in my foundation and to add a bigger window so that I can have a legal bedroom in my basement. I will have to add a window well, and I know nothing about this, so I'm looking for advice.

I am going to need to put drain in the window well, but I dug down to the footing yesterday and did not see a french drain. Am I supposed to add a french drain pipe (the one with the holes in it) to the window well and just direct it under the footing?

Also, my house is built on clay. I was told I shouldn't fill the hole back up with the clay I took out of it and use sand instead. The issue I see with this is that if the rest of the soil around the house is clay, and I fill the hole I made around the window with sand or something that drains better, I will end up creating a place for ALL the water to drain to, which I worry would lead to problems.

Any advice will be much appreciated. I posted a similar post in the waterproofing section about 3 days ago and got no answers.

Thanks
Nic
 
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Old 04-26-15, 01:30 PM
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That advice is good advice, and will actually be a benefit if you do the drain right. If there is no french drain (aka drain tile) around your footing now this is the time to at least add it in this location. I would advise you to dig up along to the foundation to the footing along the wall the window is on, and run a proper drain tile pipe along it. The direction you go from your window depends on the grade of your property. You will want that pipe to exit into a ditch or some other low-grade spot away from your house. Cover the new pipe and footing with 2" crushed rock, then cover with a geotextile fabric. connect a solid pipe from the new drain tile vertical to the bottom of your new window well. You don't need to backfill with pure sand, but it should be something that is well drained. This new soil will certainly collect the water faster than the rest of the clay soil, but with the new drain it will also run away at the same rate.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 01:38 PM
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Thanks alot for your answer Keith.

When you mean to add a french drain along the wall of the foundation in which I am working on, I hope you don't mean along the whole wall? I just hand dug a 6'x4'x7' hole in clay, and let's just say doing that for 80' is not an idea I am in love with.

Also, there isn't really a way for me to direct it to a ditch, because this is is in my back yard...
 
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Old 04-26-15, 01:43 PM
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Yes, that is what I meant, but if you have nowhere to run the drain now, there is no point. Do you have a sump pump in your basement now?

You do need a drain in the bottom of the window well for sure. Other wise it is likely to fill with water during heavy rains, especially if you have clay soil. Do you have enough grade to run a drain from the bottom of the window well to somewhere? Is your house located in a 'bowl' so all the water runs to it? I am surprised you are not having water issues in the basement now if there is no drain tile and nowhere to run a drain.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 02:38 PM
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I don't know if I have a sump pump.

Is it possible that I have a french drain beside the footing (as opposed to ON it)? Now that I think back, I did have stone on the footing, so maybe it wouldnt make sense to put an inch of stone on a footing of there's no french drain... I will dig a bit more and investigate when I get back from work tomorrow.

My basement is below grade (by about 6'). I will have about 4-5' below the window well to drain, so I am assuming I will be good for drain.

In november of last year, I chipped out a part of my basement slab to run some plumbing. The 3/4" stone under it didn't seem wetter than it should be (it was damp, but I'm guessing that's normal).

I have a floor drain in my basement. Is it crazy to assume that it just dumps into the soil and then eventually drains out?

If it helps with anything, the house was built in 1968 and the only water I've seen in my basement is through the crack in my foundation, which I am having fixed wednesday.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 02:51 PM
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You would know if you had a sump pump. You would have a big hole in your basement floor with a pump motor sticking out of it, rattling the windows everytime it came on.

Yes, the drain should be beside the footing if it was installed correctly. I assumed you had dug down to that depth.

Yes, it is normal for the stone under the floor to be damp.

If you have a floor drain, it definitely goes somewhere. Years ago, they would tie it into the drain tile around the footing. Today you are not allowed to do that. I would look around your property to see where it comes out, or run a long snake down it and see if it stops around the outside of your wall.

I am inclined to think you do have a drain around the basement. Do a bit more digging and report back what you find. If you have one, you can tie your window well drain into it.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 07:18 PM
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I dug to the footing but I only "cleaned up" the actual 12" footing and kinda climbed out of the hole to drink beer and complain to my old lady that I was hurting after all that digging

It will only take me a minute to investigate further away from the footing to see if there's something beside it.

As for looking around my property to see where drainage goes, I don't think that's a possibility. There's no ditches or culverts here. It's all underground. So If I have some kind of drain on my property that is drained somewhere, it would drain from my house to the sewage under the street.
 
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