Where To Start Waterproofing Basement Stairs?

Old 07-07-18, 02:52 PM
IATompkins's Avatar
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Unhappy Where To Start Waterproofing Basement Stairs?

Hello, Forum,

I'm struggling to figure out how to tackle this waterproofing issue. I've been reading up on how to better waterproof our basement, as it's become a problem that the stairs have water flow out of them during heavy rains. It is not coming through the doorway, but rather up from the bottom of the stairs and out of the tops of the steps, and out of the stairway walls. The house is about 100 years old, and the stairs seem to have been added later on. My guess is that the stairs were added around 60 years ago, and the basement was probably a dirt floor basement up until maybe 30 or so years ago when the basement and stairs were cemented over.

The basement is tiled, and finished, for the most part, and I'm trying to determine how to seal up the stairs, and whether that's sufficient, or if I should also trench around the exterior and install a french drain system, and whether I should go all the way to the bottom of the foundation to install the french drain, etc.

So, See attached pics, some are of the stairs, some are of the exterior adjacent to the stair way, and one is of a wall opposite the exterior where there are some signs that the basement has been affected by leakage. You can see where I smashed the bottom cement step because it was cracking and I wanted to get a look at what was under it / how thick it was, and you can see the "mole hill" where I piled on some hydraulic cement in desperation the first time we had water leaking, before I discovered that it was coming out of all the steps and was futile.

Note, there are also signs that some water is coming up through the basement floor, little white phosphor stuff shows up between the tile grout on occasion, though I've never witnessed actual wetness on the floor other than at the stair way.

So, here are my questions:
1. How do I even start to fix the stairs, do I dig out the dirt, and lay down a new concrete stairway? Should I remove the existing Granite steps that the cement was adhering to, or just cement over them like the previous owners, it seems the front face of each step is granite, and the top is cement (and a wood plank under the cement???)
2. Should I also trench and install a french drain system? Should I go all the way down, or will half-way down the foundation be sufficient? (Go big or go home?)
3. Should I tear down that interior wall and get a look behind it? I'm pretty sure I want to replace that wall anyway, but if it's not remotely necessary, it would obviously be easier to leave it where it is.

Thanks a ton.

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Last edited by PJmax; 05-14-19 at 10:11 AM. Reason: reoriented/resized pictures
Old 07-08-18, 04:17 AM
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You wont be able to fix your problem by sealing or rebuilding the stairs you need to remove the source of the issue, the water, from getting to them.

The very first response is always what is going on outside?

Are downspouts directed away from the walls, is the ground sloped away from the house so that water is directed away?

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