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Grading Away For Lowest House Around


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Hi there,

Thanks in advance to any suggestions or comments that you all can offer. I bought a house that had water problems in the basement. When the inspector checked it out, he made it sound like throwing some dirt down around the foundation to change the grade and extending some gutters would solve the problem easily. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.

I have a very low house, relative to other houses in the neighborhood. The point at which the next door neighbor's house's siding and foundation meet is about a foot higher than mine. The property line is about 12 feet from their house, and only 6 feet from mine. I cannot add dirt near my foundation, because the land is already only a few inches from the base of my siding.

I've considered putting some drainage near the property line, but this is pretty much the lowest spot on my land all the way to the sidewalk. WHAT I'M CONSIDERING DOING is to put 2x12 pieces of treated lumber about 6" from the siding, on their side, and adding dirt against those boards to fix the slope.

-Does anyone have any experience with this?

-Other things I should consider?

-Reasons why I shouldn't do this (with an alternative)?

Again, thanks in advance for your help!!!!!

Colin

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Hi,

There's no need to "add" dirt if all you need to do is take some away. Why don't you and the neighbor get together and put a curtain drain right on the property line and then regrade both yards so they slope into a drainage swale located directly above the drain?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mike and Kurt have the right idea. Drainage issues are seldom very complex so the obvious remedy is overlooked. Water runs downhill. I suspect we recommend adding dirt one time per hundred problems. We have very good results with swales and I believe them to be ecologically sound; no erosion, very little ponding, easy to construct with natural materials, etc.

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You/others need to find how/where water is getting in.

Need to correctly identify the problem(S).

Grading/adding soil and sloping it away does NOT identify how/where water is getting into the basement nor does it fix/repair whatever your problem(S) turn out to be.

Other than some sort of interior leaky plumbing fixture,most basements leak due to one or more of the following.........

-The wall(s) has crack(s),loose-cracked parging,one or more open-leaky rod holes,opening where a service-line enters etc

-Opening(s) above ground level such as...open mortar joints,loose siding,openings/gaps in-around-under basement windows and doors

-A possible blockage/clog in the lateral line between house and street,possible problem on CITY`s end/beyond the street. Or if there is an existing sump pump and pit,a possible need to adjust sump or replace it or possible need to snake tile(s) that empty into pit or, need to drill holes/create openings in pit-wall.

Raising the grade/lowering the grade,extending downspout extensions 1 mile away,mudjacking slabs etc does not IDENTIFY the above problems-possibilities NOR does raising the grade etc fix/repair those problems.

Further explain, raising the grade etc does not waterproof an existing crack,loose cracked exterior parging (a defect-flaw) in a basement wall.

Raising the grade etc does not tuckpoint possible open mortar joints,does not caulk aroun-replace window/doors, does not snake-rod possible blockage in a lateral line or tile that empties into pit,does not adjust-replace a faulty-old sump and so on.

Here is a homeowner (one of many) who TRIED raising/sloping the grade and also dug down and poured concrete against the basement wall where water was coming through a crack,didn`t do squat,never does.

http://www2.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare ... 111847456/ play slideshow or click individual pic`s

Here is a block wall, they often have EXTERIOR cracks and/or loose-cracked parging on the OUTSIDE of the wall, this is where water first enters into the hollow blocks and is most often only seen inside basement at-along the FLOOR-WALL joint. Raising the grade etc does NOT repair/waterproof the existing exterior cracks....the cracks/openings are THE problem,period.

http://www2.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare ... 111847456/

Underground ROOTS against basement wall CAUSED exterior cracks in wall which then allowed water,insects to enter.Inside drain tile/pressure relief systems and/or raising the grade etc does not remove the CAUSE of the cracks/leaks,does not repair/waterproof these cracks

http://www2.snapfish.com/slideshow/Albu ... _111847456

Adding soil,clay especially can INCREASE the lateral pressure AGAINST a basement wall,can cause problems.

Your water problems in basement should have been correctly and honestly identified BEFORE you made offer on house and imo, the inspector was incompetent/negligent on supposed-solution/recommendation

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Colin,

I am sure there is a qualified inspector in your area of Ill. Call him/her. email or call Kurt M and he can direct you to a qualified inspector.

I really can't give expert advice based on a photo, nor can others on this forum. They are asking good questions to get more info, but sometimes we (as inspectors) get detailed before we first address the core issue.

Go outside your home and look where the water goes, then proceed. Be careful of "wet basement" contractors. Get yourself an advocate (inspector) locally.

Try ASHI.com, NAHI.com etc.

Don't get discouraged!

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Your water problems in basement should have been correctly and honestly identified BEFORE you made offer on house and imo, the inspector was incompetent/negligent on supposed-solution/recommendation

You haven't even seen the property, nor do you know what the inspector said or wrote in his report. Incompetent and negligent? Pretty rash accusation without knowing all the facts.

You related to Barry Stone?

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Here is a elderly lady who ONLY got water at floor-wall joint at/near the back corner/driveside. Other`s recommendations to her as a solution were to caulk along driveway and house and to add a long downspout extension.

If any care to see/learn then click this slideshow or individual pics.

http://www2.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare ... 111847456/

Pic`s 2,3,4 Long downspout extension and caulking along drive. First, this doesn`t correctly and competently IDENTIFY where/how/why water enters the basement,nor does this fix/repair the actual problems.

By the way, Insta Dry and Everdry also gave her estimates,they tried to bs her and told her she had a supposed hydrostatic pressure problem under the basement floor and only installing an inside system w/sump pump would solve this supposed problem. Est`s were $10,000 and $15,000.

My est was $975.

Pic`s 8-14

This is why/where/how water enters her block wall at corner,these cracks/gap ARE the PROBLEMS....period. Downspout/caulking etc did not repair/waterproof these cracks thus,she continued to leak and more mold and efflorescence grew on some of the inside blocks/wall.

IF....she had hired any company to install an inside system then THAT also would NOT have stopped water from entering those exterior cracks and the mold/efflorescence would have continued to grow inside because they would not have stopped water from where it was entering.

To state/recommend to any homeowner that they can solve their/most leaky basements by raising-sloping the grade/longer downspouts etc is,always has been incompetent.

Please explain how raising the grade/longer downspouts identifies how/where water is getting in basements?

Does raising the grade/longer downspouts identify whether or not there is a crack/loose-cracked parging on the outside of a block wall?

Does it identify whether or not water/rain is first entering above ground through open mortar joints or through/under basement windows?

Does it identify whether or not there is a blockage in the lateral line?

And again, does raising the grade/longer downspouts etc fix/repair/waterproof existing cracks-rod holes etc?

Does it snake a possible blockage in a lateral line? Does it tuckpoint open mortar joints or seal gaps under-around basements windows? And so on.

This lady in Eastpointe MI bought this house about 6 months ago, was told by seller and HI there were no previous or existing leaks/problems/cracks.

http://www2.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare ... 111847456/

Pic 2 See tar someone put along driveway-house? THIS does not repair/waterproof existing crack(s),rod holes etc etc etc.

3,4 Underground root,hairline vertical crack where root hits basement wall. Does mujacking slabs/grading etc remove exterior roots or lateral soil pressure that 'causes' many cracks and subsequent leaks?

Pic 8 inside view of vertical crack that was patched and painted over to try and hide/conceal an existing flaw-leak. Thats fraud.

9 they also put a cove along bottom of wall,this also does repair/waterproof any cracks or remove exterior cause(s) of cracks.

See water stain?

Other pics, another leak/problem that was also pathced and painted over on the inside to try and hide-conceal.

Lateral pressure,pic`s.....

http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/AmherstSo ... hotos.html

Pic 1. Lateral pressure CAUSING typical 45 degree stair-step in block basement wall (inside system was installed,it does NOT remove-relieve exterior soil pressure,roots,concrete slabs,footings nor does it waterproof exterior cracks etc in block walls)

2. Lateral pressure CAUSING vertical crack in basement wall (injections,patch jobs do not remove-relieve exterior pressure)

3. Lateral pressure CAUSING top of basement wall to bow inward 9 inches...pilasters failed to brace wall.

Scroll down about 1/2 way -A Little crack.................

http://www.plickandassociates.com/newsletters/Mar06.pdf

About 1/2 way down ---Basement Wall Damage

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/publ ... neclay.htm

...Cause,Resolution

6th paragraph.........

http://dwightyoderbuilders.com/concrete.cfm

Backfill with......gravel and why.

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John,

I believe you have some very good knowledge and obviously experience. That said, my reading of your last comments leaves me searching for your logic. I get confused easily so bear with me.

It seems you are saying the same thing over and over and not allowing or considering other views or suggestions.

I ain't no fan of most basement water proofing companies and as I stated water issues are typically quite simple and require more thinking and less "digging" caulking, etc. I think we are on the same page, but get the feeling you are telling us you are the "water wizard" and everyone else is wrong/incompentent.

Stick around here and maybe we can learn something!

Did you make the trip to Eastpointe?

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It sounds like John is convinced that to achieve a dry basement you must have crack-free foundation walls and you must have every hole through that wall sealed tighter than a gnat's ass in order to keep out water; and, that as soon as you've done that, all that exterior stuff - properly sloped exterior grade, gutters, intact downspout receivers, downspouts that empty far enough away from the house, etc. all become superflous.

I'm not saying what you are saying is wrong John; what I'm saying is that there are different drainage issues in different climates and you seem to be making a blanket generalization about all drainage and foundation walls that all one has to do is find and seal the entry point in order to facilitate a cure.

After doing this 13 years in this climate, I'd have to say that's flawed logic 'cuz, around here at least, we see lots of basements that are perfectly dry that would blow your theory completely out of the water. You should come to Seattle and see what we experience in our climate where the frost line is never more than about 8 to 12 inches below grade but we can experience 90+ days of rain at a time.

You'd see an amazing array of really old cracked foundation walls; some with cracks so big you can put your thumb into them - with perfectly dry basements. You'd also see newer houses with cracked basement walls that are perfectly dry.

You'd see that, where we find those cracks and water infiltration, we usually find that the downspouts are dumping right next to the foundation, or the downspouts are emptying into old concrete crocks next to the foundation where the overdig has settled and caused the concrete drain tile to separate, or where some ijit has installed an irrigation system right next to the foundation and directed it at a yard that slopes continuously to the foundation at the point where the water is coming in.

Many of the older houses where we see infiltration pre-date the use of footing drains; so, even when exterior drainage and downspouts are configured correctly and the foundation walls are free of cracks, well sealed around penetrations and coated with a thick intact layer of mastic, they still get infiltration up through the cold joint between the foundation wall and the floor slab until a footing drain is installed inside or outside (it's inside most of the time) to relieve that pressure.

I could take you to a home that's 100 years old and elevated well above the street with drainage around it configured fine where an owner complained to me on a rainy January day that for the entire 11+ years he lived in that house water had trickled across his basement floor every time it rained. There were cracks as wide as my thumb in a couple of the basement walls where for a century constant moisture under the home had caused that glacial till to settle and the foundation to crack decades ago. I could show you where I found old leaking crocks next to the foundation and added bubbler pots in the middle of a very rainy afternoon and where, by the time I got done connecting the last one, the basement floor had completely dried up, despite those huge cracks and the fact that it was raining cats and dogs outside.

I could also take you to homes with beautiful crack-free basement walls where every penetration had been carefully detailed inside and out and the foundation wall was carefully coated with sprayed on butyl and DeltaDrain membrane was carefully installed around the exterior of the foundation where water was was still coming in until someone finished properly grading the yard outside so that it drained away from the foundation, or until downspout receivers or bubbler pots were installed to move that water a mere 6ft away from those foundation walls, and nothing more, to achieve dry comfortable basements. All in a climate that some folks would consider a little bit wet.

It's not just one thing that achieves dry basements; it's striking the right combination of proper exterior drainage and getting the roof water away from the house as well as properly detailing the foundation walls. If you can't see that, I'd say that the competency issue is on your end, not that of the inspectors you so easily trashed.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Wet/leaky basements. MOST importantly one needs to correctly IDENTIFY how/where the water is getting in.FIND the actual problem(s). Say again whether some want to believe it or not,adding SOIL has not, does not identify the problem(s),doesn`t fix/repair anything.

Some HI`s concur, least for the most part.

http://www.nachi.org/forum/f23/somethin ... dex28.html

http://www.nachi.org/forum/f23/somethin ... dex29.html

30 years in this business with zero complaints. Haven`t said ALL homeowners leaky basements are due to cracks in walls or openings above grade....no.

Example of 'some other' potential-possible problems and true solution which again is not raising-sloping the grade. Some homeowners will need to snake the lateral line.......or possibly replace part or all of it due to a possible break-crack-collapse

http://www.msdgc.org/downloads/wib/comm ... sement.pdf

PG 2. Fixing the Problem......'fixing your wet basement may be as easy as RODDING your drainage or lateral line'...........

PG 4. Broken or Clogged Lateral Lines/Sewer Line Backups.....'IF your lateral line is clogged or broken,water in the line has nowhere to go and can backup into your basement.....groundwater can seep into a lateral line through cracks,separated joints etc...

As for gutters,sure, don`t want water coming off roof and soaking-saturating bricks etc. Been to PA and noticed quite a few homes have NO gutters. This could obviously cause problems/leaks but has nothing with the other most likely reasons basement leak.

Archived story, what happens all over

http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager ... 324782&z=2

Was titled.......LOOKING For the CAUSE

In part said, "Evidence showed a tremendous amount of rainwater got into the CITY`s sanitary sewer system....the system is SUPPOSED to be a closed system. Rainwater got in and CAUSED the system to overrun which LED TO backups in at least 106 homes.Water got in the sewers a number of ways....through leaky manholes,cracked pipes or improperly connected private drains.Any of those pipes-public or private-can crack,be infiltrated by roots or develop leaky joints that grow and admit water"

Heavy Rains Overwhelm Pipes,Flood Basements....

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/48646722.html

...'Caused backups in hundreds of basements' Explanation from CITY officials....aging sanitary and storm sewer unable to handle the deluge.......massive amount of water seeped through cracks in the sewer LATERALS and main pipes,then flowed back into homes,often combining w/sewer water.Any BLOCKAGE in the laterals from homes to the main pipes compounded the problem'

Flint MI, Faulty sewer system, lengthy lawsuits against city

http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?secti ... id=6872295

And so problems like this have nothing to do with cracks in walls or open mortar joints etc but also have nothing to do with raising the grade,longer downspouts etc.

And as i stated, some folks who have an existing sump may simply need an adjustment or sump replacement or snake tiles that empty into the pit or for some, they may need to drill/create holes in PIT-WALL.....just under the thickness of the concrete basement floor so water that can accumulate under-the-floor can get into the pit faster instead of potentially backing up and then rising up through floor cracks or sometimes up through the cold joint/cove. They won`t/don`t need ANY inside perimeter system but are very often told/lied to that they do.

Then there are some, like this lady who has already spent $20,000 for an INSIDE SYSTEM,new floor and STILL leaks.

http://www.wqad.com/news/8onyourside/wq ... 7966.story

Yep, alot of fraud/incompetence on this subject

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ ... 4261.story

Scroll down a tad to.... WATERPROOFING

...."Be prepared to weed through an array of proposals from waterproofing contractors--A LOT of them BOGUS. Done right, basement waterproofing is an exterior operation...."

That`s when people do not have a basement backup or possible interior leaky plumbing fixture or condensation problem etc. Have to correctly define/identify the homeowners problem(s) and most who only install inside systems do NOT do this...they are most often the BOGUS ones. They sure are.

BEWARE basement waterproofers

Inside system company bs`d homeowner into installing an inside system,over $14,000.....still leaks

http://www.moneypit.com/ask-tom-leslie/ ... ofers.html

Have SEEN this happen repeatedly and for many years. No, do not agree w/every single word-assumption where they later talk about 'drainage', have said why. Is right about being TAKEN by a COMMON SCAM (inside system co`s) and certainly about suing the company in last paragraph,yep.

More on those who love to install INSIDE systems

State Wants to Shut Down Waterproofing Businesses

http://www.theindychannel.com/station/2 ... etail.html

Bridgetown Man Has Problems With Leaking Basement

http://www.local12.com/content/troubles ... Ld2JQ.cspx

Over 70 complaints,inside system company

http://www.doj.state.nh.us/publications ... ckson.html

Target 11 Investigates Everdry Waterproofing

http://www.wpxi.com/video/15442125/detail.html

Have talked w/this lady,she`s out about $10,000

'Basement Systems' installation.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28992838@N07/2708820850/

HO says, would not recommend....

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28992838@N07/2708000265/

still leaks, some mold and efflorescence

Do you see the GAP,the space between floor and wall? Radon gas/other gases can easily enter here,sure can. Also, on block walls, most inside system companies will drill HOLES in bottom blocks and leave them OPEN! So thats more openings where radon gas can enter,they CREATE more openings and the potential for more radon to enter a house-basement.

How radon enters your house

http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/physic.html#Character

"Radon gas can enter a home from the soil THROUGH cracks in concrete floors and walls,floor drains,sump pumps,CONSTRUCTION JOINTS and tiny CRACKS or PORES in HOLLOW-BLOCK WALLS..."

A-K....how radon enters

D. FLOOR-WALL joints

And when there are exterior cracks, loose-cracked parging etc in block walls, these inside companies do NOT repair/waterproof them. The exterior walls are not, were not waterproofed when built. Parging and damproofing is not 'waterproofing'.

Do these companies who install inside systems explain to all HO`s they are creating more openings,EASIER access for radon/other gases to enter the basement?

This guy gets 'some' of this subject....

Waterproofing Foundations

http://www.askthebuilder.com/NH058_-_Wa ... ions.shtml

2nd para....there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between damproofing and waterproofing

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One more point please,ADDING soil,especially clay can-could CAUSE problems.

http://www.helium.com/items/1022235-pla ... ised-patio?

page=3 John Mann, SE

...'Many contractors that install patios do not understand the effect of a new raised patio on the adjacent foundation wall'

...'what may be considered relatively small increases in backfill can cause large increases in lateral pressure AGAINST the WALL'

'Additional WEIGHT(of ANYTHING) placed on top of soil backfill causes additional lateral pressure against the foundation wall'

Hence, adding soil,especially clay and/or concrete or pouring concrete on top of existing concrete can-could cause crack(s) in basement wall and subsequent leaks/seepage or cause wall to bow inward.

'Some' recommend/actually give as a SOLUTION for wet-leaky basements to REGRADE with 10-20 wheelbarrows of CLAY

http://www.weinspectforyou.com/03-07%20newsletter.pdf

This is nonsense and incompetent. Further they say,'it may be advisable to INSTALL a hydrostatic pressure relief system' and go on and claim for an average size basement these systems cost $2,500-$4,000.

This is not correct. Most charge between $7,000-$17,000 or more for inside systems w/sump. Lets get the facts/numbers straight on this please. Should not be recommending anything when you don`t understand much, if anything on THIS-subject. HI`s are not experts on this-subject, sorry but it is the truth, believe what ya like.

On the other hand,here is an HI who understands more than others and understands more than many inside system owners-salespeople.More we understand the more helpful to homeowners we`ll be.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/index. ... icle&id=24

He talks about FIRST, identifying-diagnosing the problem(s). This is crucial. Last para......'Internal weeping tile installation is NOT a good solution... ...as the messy and COSTLY installation may affect the structural integrity of the basement floor slab AND does NOTHING to stop further deterioration of the outside of the foundation walls'

Something like what happened here..........

-Wall Collapses During Basement Leak Repair Job

http://www.wwmt.com/news/edwards-25979- ... ement.html

$15,000...............broke up (j-hammred) edges of basement FLOOR

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One more point please,ADDING soil,especially clay can-could CAUSE problems.

http://www.helium.com/items/1022235-pla ... ised-patio?

page=3 John Mann, SE

...'Many contractors that install patios do not understand the effect of a new raised patio on the adjacent foundation wall'

...'what may be considered relatively small increases in backfill can cause large increases in lateral pressure AGAINST the WALL'

'Additional WEIGHT(of ANYTHING) placed on top of soil backfill causes additional lateral pressure against the foundation wall'

Hence, adding soil,especially clay and/or concrete or pouring concrete on top of existing concrete can-could cause crack(s) in basement wall and subsequent leaks/seepage or cause wall to bow inward.

'Some' recommend/actually give as a SOLUTION for wet-leaky basements to REGRADE with 10-20 wheelbarrows of CLAY

http://www.weinspectforyou.com/03-07%20newsletter.pdf

This is nonsense and incompetent. Further they say,'it may be advisable to INSTALL a hydrostatic pressure relief system' and go on and claim for an average size basement these systems cost $2,500-$4,000.

This is not correct. Most charge between $7,000-$17,000 or more for inside systems w/sump. Lets get the facts/numbers straight on this please. Should not be recommending anything when you don`t understand much, if anything on THIS-subject. HI`s are not experts on this-subject, sorry but it is the truth, believe what ya like.

On the other hand,here is an HI who understands more than others and understands more than many inside system owners-salespeople.More we understand the more helpful to homeowners we`ll be.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/index. ... icle&id=24

He talks about FIRST, identifying-diagnosing the problem(s). This is crucial. Last para......'Internal weeping tile installation is NOT a good solution... ...as the messy and COSTLY installation may affect the structural integrity of the basement floor slab AND does NOTHING to stop further deterioration of the outside of the foundation walls'

Something like what happened here..........

-Wall Collapses During Basement Leak Repair Job

http://www.wwmt.com/news/edwards-25979- ... ement.html

$15,000...............broke up (j-hammred) edges of basement FLOOR

Oh Dear,

Didn't realize I was dealing with a fellow who's got a Peck complex and is on a mission to wipe out all interior waterproofing companies.

I surrender. There's no point in even attempting any further discussion here because it won't be heard.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Who is he trying to educate?

John,

If a soul had nothing better to do than run around the internet, I am sure you would be engaged. As for me, I want to learn something and not listen to how much you know.

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[quote]Originally posted by John Bubber

Wet/leaky basements. MOST importantly one needs to correctly IDENTIFY how/where the water is getting in.FIND the actual problem(s). Say again whether some want to believe it or not,adding SOIL has not, does not identify the problem(s),doesn`t fix/repair anything.

Some HI`s concur, least for the most part.

http://www.nachi.org/forum/f23/somethin ... dex28.html

Judging from the tone and content of your post in the above link, I think you will be much happier if you stay over there. Birds of a feather and stuff...KOKO.

Tim

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