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Question DetailsAsked on 8/26/2014

What type of professional should I call to diagnose and fix water leaking through the sub-floor into my basement?

I have had a contractor and 2 different basement waterproofing companies come out and none of them can agree on how to fix the problem. I am tired of the guesswork and still see the water in my basement after heavy rains. I can see the water damage in the sub-floor from the leaks. I am concerned about wood rot, having to replace the sub-floor - on top of fixing the leak and any mold issues. Finally, I need to find out if home insurance will cover the damage and repairs.

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Well, it is not in the least uncommon to get 3 (or more) solutions to a basement water problem from 3 contractors. You will find that contractors tend to push what they normally do, regardless of whether that is the "best" solution, like one contractor who sold a homeowner on interior drains with weepholes through the foundation for a house on a seashore lagoon with the basement slab about 5 feet below high tide level, in open sands and gravel. Ended up with about 250 gpm of inflow through the weepholes at high tide. By the time I came on the job, the water level in the basement regularly rose and fell about 5 feet every tide, of course ruining the nicely finished basement and the furnace and hot water heater.

Typically for this sort of situation you can end up needing to go to a civil engineer specializing in residential foundations and drainage for a deliberate design of a solution, to be able to separate the hype from the reality.

If you want some more possibilities (and some checklists and suggestions about keeping the water away from the house in the first place) there are a LOT in the Home > Basement Waterproofing link in browse Projects, at lower left. in a vast majority of the cases surface swales or shallow french drains, combined with proper gutters and downspouts and surface diverters combined with surface grading in the first 5-10 feet around the house so all water drains away from the foundation will take care of the problem. Generally speaking, the cases the require deep drains, interior drains and sump pumps, or total foundation waterproofing are the cases where it is due to high water table (either permanent or during floods), close proximity to large sources of water like streams or lakes or ocean, or where the house is basically built in a hollow so you cannot divert the surface runoff away.

On the insurance - unless you have a groundwater intrusion rider on your policy, and I have not seen that on residential policies in decades, you will generally NOT be covered - nor by FEMA flood insurance, as that generally covers surface flooding only. Certainly read your policy - but I would NOT talk to your insurance company about this unless you are SURE (perhaps with an attorney's input) that it is covered, because that is likely to dramatically raise your rates or perhaps even result in a cancellation of your policy.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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