Finished basement. Wet box bottom after storm

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Old 08-21-15, 08:35 PM
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Finished basement. Wet box bottom after storm

hi all. Came home after a trip. During the trip, my town got hammered with over 4" of rain in three hours

I noticed that some boxes in my finished basement are wet/damp on bottom. Carpet/floor seems dry now.

Just wondering how to appoach this. Is a little wetness "ok" in a finished basement? Or should they always be bone dry? This area is right next to my garage which does seem to get water coming up from underneath it (leaching tri cement?)

I reaaaaaaally don't want to tear out my basement

If the carpet gets wet but dries quickly, is mold still a concern?

Any advice appreciated
 
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Old 08-21-15, 09:06 PM
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Is there a high water table? Are the gutters & downspouts installed correctly? What about the pitch? Is it away from the house? There shouldn't be any water at all & mold is a concern.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 04:35 AM
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How long has the basement been finished? has there ever been moisture problems down there before?
 
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Old 08-22-15, 07:28 PM
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It was finished when we bought 2 years ago. I haven't ever noticed water before, but I know it always smelled...wet?...after a storm. Not moldy. I always equated that to smelling the earth under the crawl space off the room. I know it's open above the drop ceiling into the crawl space, if that makes sense
 
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Old 08-23-15, 04:48 AM
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Have you been running a dehumidifier in the basement? Do the downspouts carry the rain water away from the house? Can you further explain about the wet floor in the garage?
 
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Old 08-23-15, 05:11 AM
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A carpet with a pad may have difficulty drying from above. Once the water is under a pad it has little chance of drying quickly. Also, the type of carpet contributes to the possibility of mold.

I agree with the dehumidifier advice. but if you get some dry days (I know you are in NJ no dry summer days) but fans to the outside if that happens. Timing is important. If I remember, Katrina advice was to get it dry in 48 hours to prevent the start of mold.

Moving into a home with an existing finished basement leaves you with too many unknowns. You have been on the forum for awhile so you have probable heard some of the difficulties people face when finishing a basement. The people who finished yours probably didn't read those answers.

First order is to dry what you have, quickly and determine what is on the floor, carpet with pad?
While it is drying, try to determine where/how the water got in, walls, floors, drain?
The wet smell you mention is the canary in the mine. It is telling you there is mold somewhere. Water has no smell, mold and mildew do.
Check with your insurance to see if you have coverage in case the floor has to come up.

Bud
 
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Old 08-23-15, 08:00 AM
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Thanks for the responses! Been doing this from iPhone so it's tough to reply in detail

For the carpet: I think they used a quick dry carpet. Because I have spilled water on it before and it dried on its own before I could get a towel to clean it up.

The smell I mentioned wasn't mildey-y... It was more damp earth, which I though was me smelling the crawl space....

About the garage:

I will try to dig up an old post where I was asking (think it was this forum) about whether installing a dry well. I ended up doing nothing as I assumed that I was wrong and the landscapers were right: that water was coming in up over the foundation after the snow melt

After seeing it again this time, I really am starting to believe my original hypothesis: I think it's coming up through the floor



Here is the mold under the box in basement:
 
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Old 08-23-15, 08:03 AM
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And yes. I run dehumidifier 24x7. If I dig up the old thread about the water in my garage, there is a picture showing the downspout nearest this corner. It is extended away
 
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Old 08-23-15, 08:13 AM
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Sometimes a gutter or downspout will become plugged and a large percentage of water will spillover the gutter. This overabundance of water, along with poor water proofing, can cause occasional wetting in the basement.

If a valley is nearby, water can shoot over the gutter if there is no deflector on the inside corner of the gutter. If the grade is flat, water can pond or run back toward the house. 2x3 downspouts can be replaced with 3x4 downspouts that will drain 2x the volume.

Those are just a few thoughts... but I would suspect the root problem is poor waterproofing dating from the original construction of the home. Of course, it could be seeping up from below too... but if its happening right in conjunction with a heavy rain... I would say its the former.
 
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Old 08-23-15, 08:57 AM
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The house is an expanded cape. The problem area is in he corner of the house where the addition meets the house, also where the attached garage ends (it lines up with the back of the original house)

On my earlier (months ago) thread, I was wondering if a drywell would help. If it's getting in to the basement, is my only option to tear out the basement, re water proof and re finish?

The rest of the basement is bone dry. I have a sump on the opposite corner of the house and French drains coming into it

I have noticed water weeping in the foundation in that unfinished corner into the sump pit, that being said. Very small trickle
 
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Old 08-23-15, 01:04 PM
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is my only option to tear out the basement, re water proof and re finish?
Waterproofing is always best accomplished on the exterior side of the foundation wall! Ya, I know that means a lot of digging/excavating

Is the damp portion of the basement also connected to the french drain?
 
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Old 08-23-15, 03:06 PM
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Hmmm. That makes the argument for adding that French drain outside and running it to a dry well (see my old post--I'll try to link to it tomorrow from the office)

In the garage, it really seems like it's coming up from under the floor.. But I guess if that were the case in basement, water would be everywhere
 
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Old 08-23-15, 03:57 PM
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I can't get a good idea of where water in the garage might be coming from but its very possible water from the roof could be getting behind the vinyl siding near the end of the gutter, running down the wall and leaking in at the sill plate. The siding in your old thread does not look detailed properly at the gutter and the wall flashing looks odd all along the shingles.
 
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Old 08-23-15, 05:12 PM
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Hmm.

Weird how? I hadn't considered the flashing/siding aspect.

But I am starting to wonder if this could be as simple as a downspout issue. On the side of the garage, there is a downspout that dumps on the ground right at the foundation of the garage, on pavement . I have a long pipe attached to it to get the water away, but I do see some water on the pavement where the spout connects to that pipe (pipe is much larger than spout... By no means a "glove fit"

Taking a look in the garage, the water is pretty much dry in there except from the area near the wall where they downspout is. Maybe it's coming in from there and then running through garage into basement?

I took this pic to show the outside view of the house. Very similar to my old thread. Don't know if it adds any context now
 
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Old 08-23-15, 05:30 PM
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Don't want to make you move all the stuff in post #7 in the garage, but it might be helpful to see an interior shot of the area where it's wet... to see how the wall is built on the foundation... if there is a stem wall, etc. I would imagine you would want to keep a close eye on this area next time it rains. If the water is coming in at the bottom plate of the framing, it would narrow down the problem to the way the siding or gutters are installed.

That downspout isn't plugged in one of the elbows, is it?
 
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Old 08-24-15, 09:52 AM
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ill have to check that gutter. I definitely saw a small puddle right where the gutter led into the pipe. You can see the pipe beyond the fence in the pic I posted below, fwiw.

I am pretty anal about keeping gutters clear. But, by all accounts, this was a monster storm--more than likely it would have swamped all the gutters
 
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Old 08-24-15, 06:52 PM
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Well you could also get on a ladder and make sure the back side of the gutter is flashed behind the drip edge or gutter apron. With no soffit to speak of, if any water is getting behind the gutter, it is almost certainly getting behind the siding too, and could be leaking in on top of your stem wall/ under your sill plate.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 03:05 PM
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Here is my hypothesis (and it will take the next big storm to try to get evidence to support or disprove).

I think that maybe the water is getting in to the garage at where the gutter meets that pipe. The foundation of the garage is practically at driveway level


Here is a close up. You can see, a week since the rain, there is still some puddling going on here:


This corresponds to the left side of the garage in this picture


My hypothesis is that the water was higher (see the white, chalky residue on the right, near the stroller?) and found a way in to the house on the right side of the garage picture.

The only other thing that it seems I should consider is checking the flashing and also the whole drainage question from my old thread...

I think I may see if there is a cheap way to redirect that down spout temporarily to see if that eliminated the water collecting near the garage...
 
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Old 08-25-15, 03:27 PM
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If I'm not mistaken there is a drain pipe fitting that matches the contour of the downspout and would make it harder for the overflow to leak where the downspout meets the drain pipe.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 06:44 PM
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Went down to the basement room again today to see if anything was still wet (it isn't)

This time, however, I noticed that the Sheetrock tape it coming up just above the baseboard molding.

Wondering if I need to rip out some Sheetrock

Reeeeeeaaallly don't want to. At what point do I engage my insurer? This is the only physical damage visible. Just a little bit of tape coming up and Sheetrock a little spongy

Interestingly, this is NOT on the garage wall. It's the crawl space wall.

In the outside pic I posted earlier, the crawl space is the section under the addition (to the left). The garage is straight ahead, with the gate to the right and that pipe in the distance
 

Last edited by sirk98; 08-25-15 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old 08-25-15, 07:34 PM
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Insurance will only pay if it is a single occurance such as storm damage... not some slow leak that has happened over a period of time.

As we mentioned before the basement leak is probably a waterproofing issue that is only repairable by digging on the outside. I would be willing to bet that you have no waterproofing where the crawsplace wall meets the full basement wall. Digging only costs you the price of a shovel and your time. I bet you could get a decent estimate from someone in the business if you did the grunt work.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 07:52 PM
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I think it's just raw dirt. Who am I looking for? A basement waterproofing company? Landscaper? Contractor?

In this case, the Sheetrock damage occurred after the storm. How could they deny coverage? They would have to expose the leak then wouldn't they have to resolve it? Or would they not water proof, just replace carpet/Sheetrock?

Thanks for all these comments. This is really helpful
 
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Old 08-26-15, 07:51 AM
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wanted to show the 'damage'... Dont know if its necessary to poke a hole and inspect--or if I should have insurance handle this (based on this thread, seems that insurance isnt going to help, I just want to make sure I dont hose myself)



this is a side view
 
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Old 08-26-15, 08:39 AM
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Basically moisture rewet the joint compound which caused it along with the tape to loose it's bond with the drywall. The fix is fairly easy, you just cut out the loose and retape and mud BUT the source of the moisture needs to be fixed first you'll be back making the repair again. Repeating moisture issues always brings a mold concern.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 11:39 AM
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that is what concerns me. The question is:
  1. Do nothing. See if it gets worse
  2. Just fix the tape/mud once sheetrock dries
  3. Cut an inspection hole out to see if theres mold and/or where the water came from
  4. Get a waterproofing company in to inspect
  5. Call insurance company to see what they say

I have an appointment with a waterproofing company tomorrow. I just dont want to be sold something for the sake of keeping them in business. If I have an issue, of course I want to get it addressed. But I have also learned (in the last two years, since owning a SFH) that sometimes you are just spending money for little to no reward (in terms of actaully fixing an real problem).
 
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Old 08-27-15, 03:47 PM
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OK! So the highly-recommended-by-a-friend basement company came by. I liked the guy. Seemed very earnest in what he was saying. Much made sense. Some didnt.

HE recommended doing nothing in the basement. Turns out, we do not have French Drains. If the problem is a once a year or less occurrence, just drying it out should be enough.

If i wanted to address it, he would put in at least two french drains and a 2nd sump. This would be around $3800+

The garage is a different story. Given the complexity of the lot (driveway right against garage... paved to the property line, etc)... he wants to put a french drain in the garage. This, and the sump in the garage and the line to the street would cost $2200.

The problem with this approach, from my perspective, is that the sill plate keeps getting wet. Once the water penetrates the wall, it then gets collected and pumped out.

I called my trusted contractor, and he agreed with me. Suggested that we should take up about a foot around the side of the garage, put a french drain OUTSIDE and gravel on top. Then we would have to jackhammer up the driveway in front of garage door, put in a drain or something that can be driven over, and do the same for about 3 feet of the driveway near the house until we get to dirt/grassy area

this sounds involved. kills me to cut up a perfectly good, two year old driveway
 
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