SOLUTIONS TO BASEMENT MOISTURE PROBLEMS
The best way to approach any building problem is to first do the things that are easy and low cost. Then proceed in a logical order doing the next least costly technique with the most positive likely result. With moisture problems, the best approach is almost always to remove or control the source of the moisture, not to try to stop it at the last line of defense.
First, the simplest and least costly techniques are to remove excessive internal moisture sources in the basement (humidifiers, cooking) and ventilate other sources (clothes dryer, bathroom). Second, if condensation in the summer is the problem, do not ventilate the basement directly with warm, humid air. Ventilation through an air conditioning system or with a desiccant-type heat exchanger is recommended.
Dehumidification can be used as a means of reducing the symptoms of humidity and odor in a basement, but it is not a permanent or complete solution.
It is appealing to solve a basement moisture problem with a membrane or coating on the inside. It is less expensive than a drainage system and seems to work for a period of time in some cases. The water is still there, however, and eventually these systems deteriorate or simply move the water to another pathway into the basement.
The recommended approach after removing interior moisture sources is to evaluate the gutters, downspouts, and surface grading around the building. These should be corrected first and may solve the problem. Then, if a moisture problem persists, proceed with an interior or exterior drainage system. If your goal is to finish a basement that has water problems, it is recommended to first deal with the water problem.
An active sub-slab depressurization system including a washed-rock layer below the slab is recommended. This draws moist air from beneath the slab and may help to reduce the amount of moisture vapor that enters the home through openings in the slab. It also assists in controlling radon and other soil gases. Sumps and other open connections to the soil outside the foundation and below the slab should be blocked and sealed. More information on soil gas management can be found in “Building Radon Out,” a booklet available in electronic format (PDF) from the Environmental Protection Agency.
APPROACH 1: INSTALL PROPER GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS AND CORRECT GRADING
A great number of basement water problems can be solved by handling rainwater and surface drainage properly using gutters and downspouts with extenders or splash blocks to carry the water away from the foundation. Sloping the grade away from the house, which may require hauling fill to the site, is very important. This should be done before any below-grade drainage system is installed, since the above-grade corrections may solve the problem. Even if a drainage system is required, removing water at the source as much as possible is necessary.
APPROACH 2: EXTERIOR DRAINAGE SYSTEM
Installing an exterior drainage system at an existing building is the most costly, but also the most effective water control approach. This requires digging up the area around the foundation and rebuilding it similar to a new house installation. It also requires digging up shrubs and other obstacles around the house.
Usually, waterproofing and insulation are installed at the same time, in addition to making any repairs to the structure. The traditional exterior drainage systems use free-draining sand in the backfill. Drain tile can be placed beside or on top of the footing. Level drain pipe installations are satisfactory. A minimum of 12 inches of coarse aggregate should be placed around the drain tile.
Free-draining Membrane or Board
It can be expensive to haul pea rock or sand to a site for backfilling purposes. Instead, a drainage mat can be placed against the foundation wall and then backfilled with any soil on site. The drainage must have a free-flowing path to the perforated drain pipe below.
Draining to a Sump
All exterior drainage systems must drain to a sump that can be pumped out. The sump must have an airtight, childproof cover.
APPROACH 3: INTERIOR DRAINAGE CHANNEL ABOVE THE CONCRETE SLAB
In most cases when water is entering the basement, an interior drainage system is installed. The simplest and least costly approach is a drainage channel adhered at the base of the wall and the floor slab. Water is collected and drained into a sump using another channel placed on top of the slab, then through a trap to the sump basin. The sump should have an airtight, childproof cover. This system is best suited to a concrete wall with cracks. It does not solve the problem in masonry walls because water remains in the block cores at floor level and the water level is only lowered to the top of the slab. With this approach, the water is not completely removed from the space. The result is that humidity, mold, and mildew can still be a problem. This system cannot drain groundwater from under the floor slab.
APPROACH 4: INTERIOR DRAINAGE CHANNEL WITHIN THE SLAB EDGE
Another technique is to place a drainage channel at the base of the wall on top of the footing. This requires removing and then replacing the concrete along the slab edge. The drainage channel is connected to a drain pipe leading to the sump. The sump should have an airtight, childproof cover. This approach is effective for concrete masonry walls with water problems because it drains the block cores completely. Holes must be drilled at the base of every block core to permit drainage. This may require removing more than the minimum amount of concrete, as shown, to fit the drill in. These systems have different shapes and prices depending on the product installed. Because moisture is allowed to penetrate the block cores, it is essential to cap the tops and place a vapor-retarder coating on the interior basement walls.
APPROACH 5: INTERIOR DRAINAGE SYSTEM BENEATH THE SLAB
The most effective of the interior drainage systems is a perforated drain pipe installed inside the perimeter of the footing. This requires removing and replacing concrete at the slab edge. By placing the drain pipe beneath the slab, it drains the area to a lower level. Similar to an exterior system, the drainage pipe connects to a sump. The sump should have an airtight, childproof cover. A critical component of this approach is the dimpled plastic sheeting placed at the base of the wall and beneath the slab edge. Dimpled sheeting is similar to a small egg crate and permits free drainage of the wall into the drain pipe. It is less expensive than many specialized drainage channel systems. In low permeability soils, this system cannot accept rising groundwater unless there is an aggregate layer under the slab. It is recommended that this approach be combined with an active soil gas management system that connects with the sump and perimeter drain pipe.
THE PRODUCTS BEHIND THE SOLUTION
Panels & Barriers
– SECG offers the permanent solutions for leaking walls. Our waterproofing panels and barriers stop access moisture from entering the home. Durawall, Safewall, and Flexi-Seal are the best ways to keep your basement or crawlspace dry. Textured panels are designed as a permanent solution to water seepage by covering and sealing interior foundation walls. Panels direct water flow into any drainage system, keeping the basement interior dry. Panels are extremely durable and guaranteed not to fade, chip, peel, rot or splinter for the life of the structure. The textured surface will not support mold, mildew or other bacterial growth and cleans easily with various common household detergents.
Drains & Diverters
– The water diverter establishes pathways underneath your basement/crawlspace floor to allow water to exit your building. Polydrain, Channel-Cove and System Platon are the best solutions offered by SECG for redirecting water in your home. PolyDrain uses air-gap technology to significantly increase water drainage and replacement of the foundation floor at the original thickness. Polydrain maintains a 5/8” air gap between the footer and the replacement slab. PolyDrain is laid directly onto the footer and extends over the drain system. Eliminating gravel on the footer boosts water flow by removing resistance. The drainage solution that is versatile enough to be used in exterior and interior systems. Utilizing air-gap technology, System Platon provides a permanent water and moisture barrier along the entire foundation wall. System Platon has been used in foundation protection for more than 25 years and complies with BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI building codes. Use System Platon on the exterior to create a permanent barrier that is installed without any special crews or equipment. 100% environmentally compatible and can be installed in any weather, rain or shine, down to -20ºF. Proper drainage is what makes a basement waterproofing system successful. Syracuse Environmental, LLC drains allow substantial amounts of water flow to quickly leave the home. Quik-Flo is the highest quality drain on the market today. Quik-Flo is a low-cost alternative to traditional drain tile systems. Quik-Flo is specifically designed to be installed directly on the footer, reducing installation time by up to 50% compared to traditional drain tile systems. Corner and connector pieces maintain a continuous, high-volume drainage loop. Quik-Flo has a higher water flow capacity than standard pipe and gravel systems. Oversized water inlets eliminate clogging, even in high mineral situations. Quik-Flo is perfect for sandy soil environments where undermining the footer is a concern with traditional systems.
Sump Pumps and Backups
- Whether its ¼, ½, or ¾ horsepower pumps to be installed in our factory sealed crocks, we will always want to safely secure a pumping system for your buildings protection. The Pitbull Battery Backup Pump System is always on guard against basement flooding! This energy efficient system out pumps the competition and uses less battery power. Audible alarms notify owners of power interruption or primary pump failure and can be silenced for up to 24 hours. POWER GUARD is an innovative emergency backup power station designed to provide power to a primary sump pump during a power outage. POWER GUARD provides full protection from power outages and maintains maximum pumping capacity until power is restored. POWER GUARD monitors the power line and automatically detects when a power failure occurs. The POWER GUARD provides AC power to the sump pump to maintain normal operation during the loss of power. When power is restored, POWER GUARD recharges the battery to a full capacity charge. POWER GUARD requires a 12-Volt Deep Cycle battery and is designed to work with most sump pumps.
- The Inforcer Foundation System™ is a pre-engineered, effective and permanent solution that restores structural integrity to a foundation wall. The Inforcer's innovative adjustable design works in any installation scenario. Bowed, sheared and tipped walls can be quickly repaired and restored with just one product. No outdoor excavation is required for most repair jobs.
THE COMPLETE SOLUTION
There is always a time and a place to pick a la carte when choosing a solution that best meets your needs. At SECG we believe there is a right solution that is specific to everyone’s property and justified need. Our approach to your water intrusion will be one that is specific to the water control system that is necessary to meet your needs. A water control system is just that, a system that will address the identified needs of waterproofing your building. Whether the system involves one component or ten components, your certified inspection specialist will help assist in the best solution for you. You must remember, left undisturbed, water will destroy anything, so you must consider the past, present, and future of your waterproofing investment.
WHY CHOOSE US?
We can handle every facet of the waterproofing process safely and effectively, leaving you to deal with only one certified contractor.
Over 20 years of specific commercial and residential experience of all facets of Waterproofing Wet Basement Foundations.
Proven track record of on-time and on-budget completion.
Large resource of equipment and labor to get the job done right and efficient.
Insured, Bonded and Verified Staff for every facet of the project.
A+ BBB Rating. Our staff is the highest trained and certified of our industry. We ensure every client is completely satisfied, a customer referral is our best compliment.