Weeping Tile In Back Yard? What the...


C

CCDee

This year spring sprung and my basement had water problems. (I'm the new
owner. Surprising right! ha.) The basement is completely below grade (and
possibly then some) 8-10 feet. The floor above the basement is at ground
level therefore the top of the joists are ground level. The ground was still
frozen in late March, (plus snow = Canada) and we received a freakish three
inches of rain in a two day period. The basement walls, which were partially
opened already, (from a water problem years ago no doubt) were dripping from
the top. So what happened? No where for the water to go except push against
the house (virtually no grading outside BTW) and into every nook and cranny
(I believe my joists are set right in the concrete). So I decide to dig
against the house today to see what I can see now that everything's thawed.
I hit a plastic 4"-5" weeping tile about one foot down and about two feet
away from the foundation in a gravel trench??. But it only seems to cover
half that side of the house (the half of the basement which seemed to stay
dry)! It ends where I was digging...the spot I thought had the worst leaking
in the basement had occurred. Is this common with houses built with floors
at ground level?! The previous owner (an ironically a concrete foundation
engineer...dead and buried BTW) must of have problems on one side of the
basement and had the "weeping trench" installed, although I ask myself, it
couldn't possibly help in the spring when everything's still frozen right,
maybe it helped during the summer during heavy rains. Although I haven't
completly excavated the weeping tile yet it seems to run about 35' west to
the corner of my house where I noticed an odd "gravel bed" exists against
and around the corner. My guess is, the idea was for the surface water in
the back yard to get pulled by the weeping tile into the gravel bed and then
down into the weeping tile at the footing (10' down) into the sump and then
pumped out to the sewer system. Normally at this point I'd just start typing
AAAAHHHHH!!!....but I'll restrain myself. My plan is to basically "damp
proof" from the top of the foundation down about three feet with roll on
asphalt tar and improve the grading and see what happens next year. OK let's
hear it...Thx.
 
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D

David Meiland

CCDee said:
This year spring sprung and my basement had water problems. (I'm the new
owner. Surprising right! ha.) The basement is completely below grade (and
possibly then some) 8-10 feet. The floor above the basement is at ground
level therefore the top of the joists are ground level. The ground was still
frozen in late March, (plus snow = Canada) and we received a freakish three
inches of rain in a two day period. The basement walls, which were partially
opened already, (from a water problem years ago no doubt) were dripping from
the top. So what happened? No where for the water to go except push against
the house (virtually no grading outside BTW) and into every nook and cranny
(I believe my joists are set right in the concrete). So I decide to dig
against the house today to see what I can see now that everything's thawed.
I hit a plastic 4"-5" weeping tile about one foot down and about two feet
away from the foundation in a gravel trench??. But it only seems to cover
half that side of the house (the half of the basement which seemed to stay
dry)! It ends where I was digging...the spot I thought had the worst leaking
in the basement had occurred. Is this common with houses built with floors
at ground level?! The previous owner (an ironically a concrete foundation
engineer...dead and buried BTW) must of have problems on one side of the
basement and had the "weeping trench" installed, although I ask myself, it
couldn't possibly help in the spring when everything's still frozen right,
maybe it helped during the summer during heavy rains. Although I haven't
completly excavated the weeping tile yet it seems to run about 35' west to
the corner of my house where I noticed an odd "gravel bed" exists against
and around the corner. My guess is, the idea was for the surface water in
the back yard to get pulled by the weeping tile into the gravel bed and then
down into the weeping tile at the footing (10' down) into the sump and then
pumped out to the sewer system. Normally at this point I'd just start typing
AAAAHHHHH!!!....but I'll restrain myself. My plan is to basically "damp
proof" from the top of the foundation down about three feet with roll on
asphalt tar and improve the grading and see what happens next year. OK let's
hear it...Thx.
Some scary sounding stuff... joists embedded in concrete, framing
below grade, etc. By weeping tile I assume you mean french drain, and
that's what you need. The fact that one ends where the problem starts
is telling. You should probably continue the drain system all the way
around the house so that any water anywhere at the perimeter has an
easy route to drain away. What you have sounds like it was done by an
owner who was at least partly clueless if not completely.
---
David Meiland
Friday Harbor, WA
http://davidmeiland.com/

**Check the reply address before sending mail
 
C

CCD

Yes I think they call it a french drain or swail I'm not sure the
difference. I live on relatively flat land. My yard does have some sloping
to account for the split level design however. The area I'm talking about is
pretty flat however.
 
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J

John Smith

CCDee said:
This year spring sprung and my basement had water problems. (I'm the new
owner. Surprising right! ha.) The basement is completely below grade (and
possibly then some) 8-10 feet. The floor above the basement is at ground
level therefore the top of the joists are ground level. The ground was still
frozen in late March, (plus snow = Canada) and we received a freakish three
inches of rain in a two day period. The basement walls, which were partially
opened already, (from a water problem years ago no doubt) were dripping from
the top. So what happened? No where for the water to go except push against
the house (virtually no grading outside BTW) and into every nook and cranny
(I believe my joists are set right in the concrete). So I decide to dig
against the house today to see what I can see now that everything's thawed.
I hit a plastic 4"-5" weeping tile about one foot down and about two feet
away from the foundation in a gravel trench??. But it only seems to cover
half that side of the house (the half of the basement which seemed to stay
dry)! It ends where I was digging...the spot I thought had the worst leaking
in the basement had occurred. Is this common with houses built with floors
at ground level?! The previous owner (an ironically a concrete foundation
engineer...dead and buried BTW) must of have problems on one side of the
basement and had the "weeping trench" installed, although I ask myself, it
couldn't possibly help in the spring when everything's still frozen right,
maybe it helped during the summer during heavy rains. Although I haven't
completly excavated the weeping tile yet it seems to run about 35' west to
the corner of my house where I noticed an odd "gravel bed" exists against
and around the corner. My guess is, the idea was for the surface water in
the back yard to get pulled by the weeping tile into the gravel bed and then
down into the weeping tile at the footing (10' down) into the sump and then
pumped out to the sewer system. Normally at this point I'd just start typing
AAAAHHHHH!!!....but I'll restrain myself. My plan is to basically "damp
proof" from the top of the foundation down about three feet with roll on
asphalt tar and improve the grading and see what happens next year. OK let's
hear it...Thx.

I presume that there is no sump w/pump installed in the basement connected
to any sort of weeping tile system?

Building code generally requires a minimum 1 step (7-8") from the surface of
the finished 1st floor to grade.

First thing to do if possible is to grade the land away from the house.
Ensure that all eavesthrough downpipes lead at least 6' away from the house
and the ground slopes away from the opening of the downpipe.

All that said, look at all the following posts I made previously in this
newsgroup if you want to solve your problems permanently:

http://tinyurl.com/2bubf

http://tinyurl.com/369yz

http://tinyurl.com/2dohd

http://tinyurl.com/26eql


"Damp proofing" is a losing proposition. Do it right the first time - it
won't cost you much more.


If your foundation walls are made with ICF (insulated concrete forms), then
you cannot use Bituthene or Blueskin as the materials they are made from act
as solvents for the foam.

In that case you need to apply a 'foam-friendly' waterproofing compound.
There are several on the market which can be spray applied in a monolithic
coat, and dry in a few hours. www.blueseal.com is one. There are several
sheet/roll-applied waterproofing materials, conceptually similar to
Bituthene but 'foam-friendly'.



You may also have to apply a seal where the basement floor slab meets the
foundation wall to prevent water from forcing its way up via hydrostatic
pressure from under the slab.

Your best bet is to dig around your house down to the level of the footings
(BUT NOT BELOW), and use the approaches I have outlined at the links posted
above. If you have enough room around your house, you/your contractor can
use a mini-excavator that will fit in spaces as narrow as about 4' wide.
Saves your back.

If you are using any roll-applied material, like Bituthene, the best way to
apply it is to start at the bottom of the foundation wall and then overlap
the next section above 'shingle' style. In this way you will have fewer
seams, and the layer above 'sheds' water like shingles do, away from the
seam.

Also, be conscious of what type of fill you use immediately next to the
house - something porous will drain quickly to the weeping tile. When
backfilling, consider placing a layer of plastic or styrofoam from the
foundation wall out about 5-6' on a 2-5% slope, about 30" below grade. This
will drain any 'surface water' away from the house.


See http://www.big-o.com/hdpep/drain.htm#Big 'O' Sock Filter: --
also click on the Foundation Protection link on this page.

Consider using either a larger diameter (4" is what building code usually
calls for), or more than one ring of weeping tile around the foundation if
you have a lot of water to get rid of. If there is really a lot, consider
calling in a geotechnical engineer for consultations - the few thousand you
spend will save you much grief.


We are currently building a 14,000 sq. ft. (including basement) vacation
home for someone utilizing all these techniques and many others, in an area
where the seasonal water table rises to within 30" of grade. We WILL be 100%
dry inside, and no, that isn't wishful thinking - it will be a fact.. Of
course it is much easier to completely waterproof when starting from scratch
than trying to retrofit. Our extra waterproofing efforts will cost us about
$10,000 more than our "normal" efforts (which far exceed building code
requirements to begin with - remember, 'code' is a minimum, not a panacea),
and for this property the extra $10k is just rounding error in the cost of
construction.
 

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