Water in basement -- please help

Old 12-19-10, 02:27 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Unhappy Water in basement -- please help

Our newly finished basement (house was built in 1930) was 'flooded' (for lack of a better word), with about

1.5" of water that stood (on carpet and tile) for a maximum of 6 hours. The flooding was caused by a fast & furious rainstorm with a LOT of precip.

We did, of course, "fix" the water problem before finishing the basement. (ha!)

We have always had a drainage problem: 1. all the downspouts on the house lead directly down to the foundation; 2. Our driveway slopes directly down to the front of our house, with a city sewer "drain" at the bottom of the slope closest to our house (approx. 20 feet from our front door). The land our home sits on is basically the pass-thru to the drain for the neighbor houses + the newly constructed ones uphill from the front of our house; 3. Right behind our house (perhaps 20 feet) are protected wetlands with a sizeable creek that flows to the lake nearby. When it rains hard, the creek turns into a raging river.

We do have a sump pump and it does its job well (when the power doesn't go out!) -- is there some sort of backup mechanism for those things? Nonetheless, we were getting quite a bit of water with the power on & sump working.
I have observed water seeping through the cracks in the floor in the furnace room of our basement where there is no carpet, so I can only imagine what's going on where there *is* carpet.

I'm really not sure what to do. I spent a lot of time with my steam cleaner sucking up the water, airing out the
basement, etc. but there's mold showing on the baseboards of the walls and it's smelling foul. The water I
sucked up was quite clean, it was dirty only from whatever small amount of dirt that managed to accumulate
since we finished the basement. Do I need to rip up the carpets? Tear out the walls? I'm just horrified at these
options because we spent a lot of time and energy (and money!!) on this project... just to tear it all out again?

Another problem is the solid maple cabinetry that sits on the carpet; it's also wet, about 1" up from the bottom.

Please, any ideas? The mold is growing very fast =(
Old 12-19-10, 07:41 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 27,511
Received 2,112 Upvotes on 1,891 Posts
Yes, there are many different options for back-up sump pumps. Water powered, battery powered, or my favorite another AC powered sump pump and generator.

First, I would remove the furniture from the room (move it upstairs) or at the very least raise it up out of the water. You can put bricks, cement block or blocks of wood under the furniture's feet.

Since you see water coming up through cracks even when your sump pump is working I don't have a happy, cheap answer for your finished basement. At best I think you've got a unfinished basement with a water problem.

I would remove the moldy carpet and wall material. I don't think re-doing it is an option unless you don't mind replacing everything again when it gets soaked, again.

The big issue is keeping the basement dry. After hearing the description of your lot I do not think it will be cheap & easy and might require professionals & digging. I know you want the finished space but you have a underground space with a lot of water nearby. Sounds like a boat, with a leak.
Old 12-19-10, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,940
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
I'm sorry to hear about your problem. A good friend went through the same thing this spring just weeks after her husband died.

There are no easy (or cheap) fixes for most basement water problems. My guess is that your carpet is ruined and must be replaced. The same may be true of base molding and the bottom sections of drywall. You need to open the walls to get air circulation or the mold will keep spreading. We ended up tearing all the drywall and insulation out at my friends house.

There are things you can do to keep this from happening again. Gutter extensions will get water away from your foundation. You can install a driveway drain or even a "speed bump" in the driveway to deflect the water.

If your flooding is caused by a high water table, properly installed sumps will help. Do you know why your sump failed? Your basement should not have had standing water if the sump pump was doing it's job. Does it have drains that cover the entire slab? Where does it discharge?

You can buy a battery operated backup for your sump in case of power loss.
Old 12-19-10, 12:24 PM
shacko's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Baltimore County Maryland
Posts: 2,002
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I hate to be negitive, but you have a situation that's going to take a lot of money and effort to resolve, I think you should forget the use of the basement to when you fix your water problems; the main one is to get the water away from the house, sorry.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: