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Question DetailsAsked on 2/9/2017

my 50 yo house attached concrete garage floor seeps quite a bit of water, always in winter & sometimes in summer?

I have owned the home for 7 years, I noticed some drill holes that previous owner had made and there is some settling along the garage floor line to the house.
What is cause and what is the fix?

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2 Answers

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Hi,

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Answered 1 year ago by Member Services

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Since not year-around and continual, does not sound like a broken water pipe. Might or might not be septic field or broken sewer pipe depending on how much your soil dries out in the summer.


Usually settling of the garage slab relative to the house is not critical, though if the water is washing out fine sand or silt/clay with it that could cause settlement and eventual slab failure - if just a separate slab, not a structural slab connected to the foundation (which would not have a free bond-breaker filled gap around the perimeter or it). If a structural slab settlement could be an issue, though fortunately this is an attached, not tuck-under garage, so some settlement is not as critical as long as it isnot causing damasge to the main house walls or roof.


You did not say if winter is the wet season in your area - if so, then sounds like you have either roof runoff getting at the foundation, or high groundwater table that is breaking through to the slab surface - in which case (depending on soil permeability) a sump pump system might lower it enough to stop this - otherwise generally the solution is a buried (at least a couple of feet below the slab level) french-drain system around the wet area (commonly all the way around the house in generally high water table situations) draining to a natural low area away from the house. In some cases with slab-on-grade, just putting in an excavated trench filled with drain gravel and surrounded by structural (long-life) filter cloth several feet deeper than the bottom of the slab and one to several feet outside the foundation will intercept and drain this water away.


If not due to roof runoff issues (which can be controlled with gutters and downspouts draining the water away from the house) or rainfall/snowmelt draining toward the house (which unless down in a hole can be controlled with resloping by the house or berming or drainage swales or ditches or drains), then I would (after checking for utility conflicts) dig down outside the garage a couple of feet (a least 1 foot below the slab) and see if you hit groundwater during a period when it has not rained for a couple of days.


Another possibility - especially if only on the garage end of the house - could be from a leaking sewer pipe or a septic system that is backing up towards the house - locate where those are and see if it correllates with where the water is coming in. Some relatively shallow auger holes might pin down if it is coming from those sources - especially if only occurring in one area. If a hole is a sewer/septic source the ground will generally be septic stinky and grayish or gray-black- but if the garage is more than 5-10 feet from the source it might have filtered enough by then to not exhibit that.


A natural spring or underground drainage from a neighboring property is another possibility - draining down towards the garage or (hopefully not) popping up under the garage.


One other possibility I have seen a couple of times - a garage built on top of a pre-existing perimeter french drain, which got blocked in construction of the garage and now seeps up into the garage. Look around the house for any signs of cleanouts (other than the main sewer pipe cleanout usually 1-3 feet outside the foundation on the outgoing sewer line) or wetwell or french drain exit points.


You did not say if you have a wet basement or crawlspace (if you have such) - that might be indicative of the source too, and of whether it is a general orlocalized source.


Talking to the previous owner might also be helpful - though if he failed to disclose this water problem on the real estate disclosure he might be pretty tight-lipped about it now. Whether you would have possible legal recourse against him if he knew about it but did NOT disclose it is another issue entirely - one an attorney (not an Angies List category) could tellyou if you have a chance at - would involve proving HE did the holes or had them done AND that it was because of a water infiltration issue he had, AND that he knew the problem had not been solved.


You can find a LOT of previous questions with answers in the Home > Basement Waterproofing link under Browse Projects, at lower left. For a professional evaluation you would want a geotechnical (soils, foundations, and groundwater specialty) engineer (not an Angies List category - usually work for a larger or site-development Civil Engineering firm, who can do some test holes and evaluate the source of the water. Price for that likely $500 or so - probably triple that or more if a drill rig has to come in to do soem probe holes to determine water level around the house, so commonly that step is skipped and people just go ahead and put in a vrench drain. If the problem is only in the garage, a two-sided french drain might do it - around the front or back (whichever is the high side) and down the side to a lower area to drain to.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD




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