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Question DetailsAsked on 6/8/2014

We have moisture thru the foundation and possible mold in the house. What type of contractor is our best starting?

For the old house we bought, we have recently installed gutters, graded the soil around the foundation, considering French drain and still moisture is coming through the foundation. In addition, one of the bathrooms has a hole on the concrete floor to accommodate the u trap drain pipe and water accumulates in that hole from time to time. This seems to relate to the rain although we are not entirely sure. Some of the wall sidings also appeared to be leaky. Who can provide us the most help? Structure engineer? landscaper? Any thought or recommendation?

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If you check out the similar questions and many answers in the Home > Basement Waterproofing link in Browse Projects, at lower left this page, you will find a large number of answers about how to prevent water from getting into your basement, french drains, basement in-floor drains, sump pumps, etc.

In a vast majority of cases, excluding those where the natural water table is as high as the basement slab (or gets high during flooding events) or you are too close to a body of water so the water level is always high, you can normally solve the problem with control of roof runoff and rainfall by directing it away from the foundation over compacted properly sloped semi- or impervious fill, yard drainage swales or topographic changes, or redirecting runoff coming in from your neighbors yard before it gets to the house. Of course, in areas where a high water table is unavoidable, then french drains can work reliably only if they have drainage to free surface during all water conditions or you count on an outdoor wetwell with sump pump - otherwise waterproofing the outside of the foundation and providing interior underslab drainage and sump pump can sometimes be the only viable solution on a retrofit.

In many cases like yours, if exterior control does not work for you, since you do not seem to have water coming into the basement, a sump pump with pit in (preferably) the wettest corner can solvbe the problem - in many cases just using the underslab gravel fill as the drain, but in more severe cases or where free-draining fill was not placed under the slab, then requiring perimeter drain tiles or pipe around the slab, connecting to the sump.

The leaking siding issue of course is separate from the basement issue, unless water is seeping down inside the walls to the basement, whcih you would probably see and certainly be getting mildew/mold issues from over time.

If you are not up to tracking these issues down yourself, a General Contractor with experience in basement waterproofing can help - though you do have the catch 22 of getting advice from someone who is going to profit from the most work possible. For an unbiased opinion, but costing $250-500 more probably in the long run because the work, whatever it turns out to be, will still ahve to be done, a civil engineer with house leakage and geotechnical expertise is probably your best bet for an unbiased opinion.

Personally, I would advise you to peruse the suggestions and figure out if you can solve the problem on the surface - and ask around with neighbors and look in nearby ditches and such to see if you have a high local water table problem or not - maybe even rent a hand auger (if easy digging ground in your area) and dig a hole away from utilities near the house to see if the water table is withing a foot or two of your slab level - or use a carbide bit and drill a large diameter hole in the slab and then augerdown a few feet underit tyo see where the water level is - and maybe watch after rains to see how it changes. (If you do this method, buy a $7 or so rubber plug to fit the hole at your plumbing supply store, so you can plug it in case water tries to come up through it - though I doubt it will if it does not do so in the trap area in the bathroom.

If not a high water table, then maybe surface water control will handle it, or maybe even just compacting the fill you regraded around the house with a plate compactor to improve its runoff behavior willl fill the bill. You would be surpirsed how many people regrade the ground around the house to promote runoff, by puttingin free-draining fill or loose fill wich jut acts as a sponge and frequently lets more water accumulate at the foundation then beofre the fill was placed ! It should be a well compacted clay, loam, gravel or crushed rock with enough silty or clayey material to be relatively impervious to infiltration.

Otherwise, starting with an indoor sump pump and pit along the wet wall might be a cheap start to a solution - making sure to install it with capped drain pipe stubouts for adding drain pipes along the walls if needed in the future, so it will be usable without modification in that case. If that works, great - if not, then you can always add the expensive part of the system - slab perimeter drains - later on.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


You said you recently bought this home. Did you use a Home Inspection Service, if so you should probably call them first and even if they charge you for a follow up inspection (which I think they shouldn't) they should discount it. Otherwise a Structural Engineer might be my first to call.

You say you installed gutters, I would assumed they are piped away from the house. If the water level in the pit for the tub trap rises and falls in sync with rain it could be from the gutters if it happens quickly. Most landscapers can help possibly with directing the leader pipes away but most know nothing about the structure and I have seen some that have caused problems like yours.


Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

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