perimeter drain system stagnant water

Old 10-21-05, 04:26 PM
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Question perimeter drain system stagnant water

gurus out there!

I have put a new home under contract.

My closing is in few days. I am worried with a drainage issue this house has. This brand new house is on basement. One of the perimeter drain pipe had a stagnant water with redish film on it. My inspector advised me to get an expert's opinion. Builder hasnt explained it to me to my satisfaction..he just says that he will extend the pipe to few feet away on the downhill so it will drain better.

By this drain pipe, there is a retaining wall which is damp at least a foot or two. Do you think that the drain isnt working properly.

Drain system has two ends. The other end is dry.

what do you think? Please let me know or direct me to someone who knows about it.

I appreciate your help.

Old 10-21-05, 05:35 PM
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perimeter drain system stagnant water

Am I correct to assume you have perimeter drain tile around your basement?

If so, stagnet water indicates that there was water and it did not drain dry. The stain could be from the soil of materials in the backfill. The dry drain could mean it is either plugged or it drains well.

The damp retaining wall indicates there is not sufficient drainage from behind the wall.

I would definitely take the builder up on extending the drain if the slope permits it. This is also an opportunity to get him to guarantee (in writing) that the drain tile system is indeed installed correctly.

Since you had a home inspection, and it is probably a part of the purchase agreement, you can threaten to walk away unless it is approved by an expert. Since this was recommended by the inspector, the builder should also pay for the expert you select, since he agreed to the purchase agreement. This should get his attention and a guanantee to make the deal work.

The money (only $250 - 350) you invested in the home inspection should provide you with insurance you are getting what you pay for. Few people bother to have a new home inspected and just assume everything is good because it is new. What you have in a new house is just an unproven structure without the bugs taken out.

Good luck.

Old 10-21-05, 06:18 PM
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Question Thanks!

Thank you Dick!

That is very precise and to the point answer.

I was thinking on the similar lines that I should get it in writing. As you know the purchase agreements are written in favor of builder. One of the clauses I remember was I could not sue the builder in any eventuality. Even if they give me in writting that it was in fact done correctly but later on If I experience the problem; how could I get them to fix it? I know water problems are messy and difficult to prove. I have a degree in Civil Engineering but havenít practiced the profession.

Where can I find such an expert?

Thank you again.
Old 10-21-05, 06:23 PM
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I forgot to answer your question, sorry about that.

I dont know if they have the drain tile around the basement. I will ask them.

Also, the builder said that the stain is from the waterproofing spray (tar).
Old 10-21-05, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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perimeter drain system stagnant water

Civil engineer also home inspection and enough law to make me dangerous to myself.

It is obvious you are worried about what you see. The "no suit" clause is strange and may not be proper in all states. Does this mean that other normal warantees(structural, etc.) are also not covered?

Check to see if the builder has built other homes in the immediate area and see what the history is.

I don't know what your purchase agreement says, but many say that if something is found by a home inspector (independent third party) and is not corrected, you can walk away with your ernest money and the seller starts over again.

You obviously want this house (in proper condition). The seller does not want to start over and look for another buyer.

You now can force the builder to guarantee the performance of the basement waterproofing (including a law suit if necessary), since the agreement eliminating that option to you could be voided if you walk.

The basement could be perfect, but you do not know that and you are concerned. It is curious that a red "waterproofing" spray or sealer dissolved and managed to get through the gravel backfill and through the drain pipe if it is supposed to be a sealer.

There are several options:

1. Hire another independent expert (waterproofer or engineer specializing in moisture intrusion, etc.) to look at the house and make an evaluation.

2. Have the builder put money in escrow in case a problem occurs (he woun't because he needs cash from the closing). A promise is worth little since he could start a new company (common).

3. Have the builder waive the "no-suit" clause in the contract in the case of water pentration into the basement.

Hopefully, you will find the builder has a good history and the expert feels everything is proper if installed according to the drawings and specifications used for the permit. Otherwise some sort of enforceable guarantee should be agreed on.

In the end, there are no real guarantees when Mother Nature is involved. You will have to use what you can to get what you are paying for.

Good luck!!!

Old 10-22-05, 10:03 AM
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Arrow Thank you!


I really appreciate your precise answers.

Structural warranty is in place for next 8 years and for next 1 year its all inclusive I feel little bit secure.

I am worried about water intrusion through the basement walls. Also, what if it just makes the basement damp but doesnt cause any structural issues in next 8 years. In that case builder might say that since it is not a structural issue its not see.

Nevertheless, I will have them put it in writing whatever explaination they have on the issue.

Well, the only correction they are offering is extending the drain pipe. I discussed hiring an expert with my agent. He seems to think that builder wont pay for it but we should get more information on the issue. We are going to the site tomorrow to take a look at the thing once again and prepare our response.

It rained heavily in the area I am going over there to see how the drain is performing.

I agree with your objection on waterproofing spray. It should not dissovle in the water. The backfill dirt is reddish clay..but what is the oily film on it?

Meanwhile, I am also gonna try to hire someone to take a look at it. I will keep you posted.

Can I PM you? may be we could exchange emails?

Again, I appreciate your help.

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