I Need Advice on Exterior Drainage

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Paul C. Vokey

I Need Advice on Exterior Drainage

Post by Paul C. Vokey »

I have a split entry bungalow (22 years old) that has an entrance to the basement at the rear. The rear entrance has a concrete stairwell outside because the door is about 3 – 4 feet below ground level. When the house was built the height of the concrete walls at the rear of the house were not built as high as they should have been. As a result the land is very close to the top of the concrete and the grade does not slope away from the house as much as it probably should.

Up until now I have not had much trouble with water drainage, but last night we had a lot of rain and the ground was frozen with very little snow which resulted in an unusually large amount of surface water. I had a lot of water come into my house through the back door in the stairwell. Fortunately, we were home and were able to pump the water away without too much damage.

This Spring I intend to do some major exterior renovations and would like to know the best way to resolve this problem so it won’t happen in the future. Should I eliminate the rear entrance and fill in the stairwell (I have another means of exiting the basement)? How can I be sure my weeping tile is doing the job? Is there a product I could use to waterproof my basement walls better than they are presently? Is there a product that could waterproof my basement walls above the concrete and onto the wooden exterior walls so I could get better slope to my land and thus better drainage? Do you have any other suggestions that might help eliminate my water problems.

If I haven’t supplied enough information please let me know. I’m really tired of worrying about possible water damage to my home.

Thank You

Paul C. Vokey

Gander, NF


Ken Holmes

Re: I Need Advice on Exterior Drainage

Post by Ken Holmes »

I can sympathize with you: While I currently live in a house without a basement in the deep south (near Washington, D.C.), I've spent most of my life in more hospitable climates -- namely Maine, which doesn't have quite the weather you get in the winter, but nearly so.

One thing I don't see in your note is whether your basement has finished space, or whether it is used only for storage and workshop space. This information would help.

That said, yes, there are products that can be applied to the inside of basement walls that claim to add to their waterproofing ability. One local friend of mine offers such a system. You can find info by clicking here. (http://www.remodelwithmerrick.com/pages/serv02.htm)

From the sounds of your message, though, I'd guess the outside stairwell is the biggest problem. To make sure it stays dry, you need natural drainage that runs from below the bottom doorstoop of the stairwell downhill to an exit or a drywell. Is this in place? If not, can it be installed as part of your upcoming exterior repairs?

I'll add some other thoughts later.

Good luck, Ken Holmes


Re: I Need Advice on Exterior Drainage

Post by Sixkids/Pa. »

I just waterproofed the inside and outside of our basement walls on a home that we currently are renovating to sell. I used a product that is above 99% waterproof. When we built our current home a 3500 sq. ft. log cabin we 'stack and smeared' the basement blocks with Fiber Coat. This is a technique where you motar in the first row of blocks then dry stack the rest then smear .. or ..coat the inside and outside with Fiber Coat or Fiber Bond. You can just coat one side if you wish. I believe that they have changed the name of the product to Master Bond. It is a fiberglass impregnated cement product. You can use it on old blocks with a bonding agent or on clean blocks without. You mix it with water and put a thin coating on the blocks. When we put up our new basement, we let the blocks, (which were only coated on one side), stand overnight. Then my husband grabbed onto the top of the stack of blocks and tried to rock them apart. They didn't budge! There is an advertising group at our local fair that sets up a ramp made from blocks with this type of coating on it and runs a truck up the ramp! It goes on like cement and we don't think it is expensive. We buy ours where they sell cement blocks. When it dries you can see the outline of each block through the coating, you don't put it on very thick. But I DO agree with Ken that you need the correct drainage also. Good luck! Six

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