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Question DetailsAsked on 6/28/2017

can a concrete basement floor with a high hydrostatic pressure be overplayed with concrete

home is 48yrs. old don't think floor cured correctly, had french drain put in seems to have corrected leak, wanted to have epoxy painted to help with moisture problem & looks. Was told by a professional would be better to have an overlay because epoxy & water don't mix. Moisture # was off the meter. Mostly all the homes in the area have problems. Hope you can give us the right answer as to what to do, so frustrating. Thank you so much. Gene L.

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I doubt the slab curing was an issue - unless it is all cracked up from drhying out or freezing too early, in a wet environment a concrete slab would have the ideal curing environment - concrete gains strength and becomes more water-resistant the longer it is saturated, as long as the water does not have adverse chemistry. However, if the bottom of the slab is wet or in contact with wet or very damp soil/sand, you WILL have a substantial (as much as 5-20 gallons/day in a typical "wet" basement) water transmission through it to the surface where it evaporates. The french drain did not "correct" the leak - it is just controlling the water, and as long as the inflow occurs, assuming the french drain is just right below slab level (or if an exterior french drain unfortunately they common put it even above that level, when it should be a good foot or more below the slab level), so the bottom of the slab is likely wet all the time - meaning you will have very high moisture in the slab, as you are seeing. Ditto with the typical immediately under-slab underdrains leading to an interior sump pump.
Sometimes - and only sometimes - overlaying the slab with vapor barrier and then a concrete overlay over that will bring the moisture down to the point that it allows the floor overlay to be finished or flooring put over it - but sometimes, and especially if the vapor barrier is light weight (should be about 20 mil or more pond liner for that application) or if it is not sealed to the foundation wall totally watertight, it will still get wet at the perimeter and cause problems as the water permeates the concrete, which any water wicks through quite well. Yes epoxy floor finishes do not do well on damp concrete - there are some water-cured aliphatic polyurea and underwater epoxy paints (designed for use in the water for pools, ponds and boat hulls) which can work if done right, though they generally do not have the wear resistance of normal floor epoxy. So you would have to find an expert with experience in doing this right - with good recommendations for that specific wet floor application. Normally, in your situation, people find that just leaving the concrete bare, possibly putting on a water cured modified topping grout wear surface (assuming the concrete is just moist, no free water coming through) and maintaining dehumidification to keep the surface of the concrete "dry" to minimize mineral bleedthrough and buildup - the white coating you commonly see on pavers and concrete drives. Sort of the price you pay for having a house with wet feet.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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