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Ali in PA
First time home buyers in need of advice about wet basement

My husband and I are looking for a home to buy and have fallen in love with the perfect house, except it has a wet basement. I've been told that it is the seller's responsibility to fix the problem, not ours. If the seller is not willing to fix the basement, around how much would it cost to waterproof it with a french drain? We were also wondering if this is the way to go? Some more info about it:

Cinder block walls
puddles in middle of floor (and it hasn't rained in a while)
bottom of walls look damp
no sump pump

Original owners lived with the basement this way for probably about 30 years without fixing it.

Any advice would be grately appreciated! Thanks!

Re: First time home buyers in need of advice about wet basement

The best method of water proofing the basement walls would be from the exterior.... which is the source for the moisture .... preventing the moisture penetrating the blocks in the first place.

Basically the exterior perimeter would be excavated down to the footings. Any cracks would be repaired then a waterproofing ( not damp proofing ) elastameric coating is applied to the walls. The perimeter drain system would be replaced or installed and might be tied to an interior sump pit / pump system .... depends on the requirment for your area.

A final covering of some type of isolation membrane should be applied for protection to the elastrameric waterproofing from the soil as well this membrane will also provide added moisture protection ..... example ... http://www.systemplaton.com/foundations.html

Around here the base cost for this would run from $100 - $120 per foot .... so for a 24 x 30 basement would cost around $7200 - $8640 .... depending on extent of any repairs or extras. Believe me after digging out an area of my foundation for repairs and waterproofing ..... those guys earn their pay.

There is a second method that can be done from the inside though it isn't as good a method in my opinion. The moisture would still be allowed to penetrate the blocks from the exterior.

Basically the the basement floor is trenched around the perimeter of the walls with a drain system installed. There should be drain holes drilled into the lowest course of blocks and covered with a dimpled drain product to allow the water that enters the block to weep into the drain system installed inside.
The drain system will flow into a sump pit/pump and be discharged out of the home.

This second method tends to be less costly since there is no exterior excavating involved. Around here this method is rarely done so I don't have any dollar value.

Don't accept the paint on products commonly found at stores that many folks apply to the inside walls as a water proof system.

Hope this helps. :)

Re: First time home buyers in need of advice about wet basement

I don't think French drains will fix this issue. I don't think it's coming through the walls but rather from the center of the floor from hydrostatic pressure. My guess is that there are springs in your area and this is a common occurance in such areas. I had the same issue in the house before my current one hence the name of my town of Cold Spring Harbor.
I too lived with it. Didn't really bother me being it didn't happen all the time and dehumidifyer dried it up when water occured. There IS a way to remedy it for good but to be honest with you I forget how they do it:confused:but for starters having the water from the roof drain down next to the footings can add to hydrostatic pressure problems, especially if the footing tile is leaking or blocked. This can occur over time due to soil movement or damage from tree roots. If the downspouts are draining into the footing tile system, the downspouts should be modified so they drain onto the ground and discharge at least 10 feet from the house. The vertical tile should be capped with a preformed cap or concrete.

Re: First time home buyers in need of advice about wet basement

Andy .... good points about the grading and down spouts.

Re: First time home buyers in need of advice about wet basement

canuk...well thats a start but if it's springs then it won't solve the problem. It;s a good place to start and then see what happens. Thing is..they don't own the house yet so it really doesn't help them in the buying stages.
They could always consider an indoor pool though..lol:rolleyes:

Ali in PA
Re: First time home buyers in need of advice about wet basement

I like the idea of an indoor pool as well!:D But, only if it's on my terms...haha!

We really appreciate all of the advice, but as first time home buyers we've thought about it, shown and gotten advice from our parents, and we are probably not going to take the risk of buying a home with a significantly wet basement. We love the home, but it sounds like it might be a little pricey if we try one thing and it doesn't work and then try something else and it doesn't work, and so on...

Once again, thanks for all of your help!:)

Re: First time home buyers in need of advice about wet basement

Sounds like it may be a good choice to keep looking.

Good luck.:)

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