When it comes to waterproofing and drainage many customers are misinformed and often times work backwards taking the last steps before doing the initial less intrusive, less costly steps first often times failing to correct some of the same issues that remain.
Many customers who have frequent water infiltration and who end up with water in their basements after a storm or who have a damp basement believe the first course of action and solution lies with the installation of a a French Drain. A French Drain although effective at removing water from a basement should be the choice of last resort, the nuclear option. Installing a French drain means that homeowners have surrendered to water infiltration of their basement to begin with and have accepted the fact that water infiltrating their basement is inevitable. While that may be true in some instances in may not be true in all and the installation of a pump and drain system doesn't necessarily mean your basement will be "dryer". It simply means that the water that infiltrated will be channeled back out in a predictable fashion. That doesn't prevent the basement from being damp and musty as water continues to sit and pool in and around the foundation. Very few block foundations and concrete footings are absolutely waterproof, including new construction. In fact the uniform building code specifies that newly constructed homes under certain conditions contain a "foundation drain" to process infiltrated water. (Section R406 Damproofing and Waterproofing).Since foundations can't be depended upon to be bsolute waterproof and a French Drain only pumps out already infiltrated water the focus should be upon diverting and preventing water from entering in the first place.
Rainwater Run Off
Allowing water to collect, pool and penetrate to grade level needlessly adds a considerable amount of rain water to the equation. Consider a typical size colonial home with a roof area of 600 sf. A rain storm lasting four hours and a total rainfall of 1" will divert approximately 300-400 gallons of water from the roof to the gutters. Depending on where the gutters outlet if they outlet at all, rainwater can be driving down to the perimeter of the foundation and pool in and around the footings. Many customers have clogged leaders and disconnected downspouts that channel that water in and around the foundation to pool and seep through and infiltrate compromised areas of the foundation. If homeowners simply opt to pump out infiltrated water nothing is done to reduce the factors that cause dampness and excessive moisture as water still remains on the outside perimeter and within the porous confines where it found entry through the foundation. Water that infiltarted a basement that becomes the permanent source of dampness and moisture even when pumped out is water that should have been diverted beforehand. Improperly pitched, concrete, walkways and patios can have the same effect or exponentially add to the gallon problem as well as natural pitches to the nearby ground and topography.
The first step in waterproofing is to evaluate the exterior of the home and eliminate any and all factors that contribute to water buildup in and around the foundation. All downspouts from gutters should connect to a underground drainage system that diverts water off the property to the street. The pitch of the natural grade of the land when and where possible should be corrected to divert water away from the property. When applicable we recommend to customers installing and erecting structures (retaining walls, curbing, berms) that act as barriers to prevent water from making its way onto your property. Lastly one of the best ways to divert water away from the immediate area of the foundation is masonry work.
Masonry & Drains as Waterproofing
Properly installed masonry work in conjunction with drains can all but eliminate a majority of drainage and water infiltration issues. Masonry is relatively impervious to water and acts to divert and channel water as it is directed to do. It can be directed to run off to other impervious materials such as asphalt or collected and streamlined out by means of a drain. Even in situations where the grade prevents water from being diverted to the street by means of a drain, a weeping drain station can slowly disperse the water to eliminate it as a problem from infiltrating areas such as attached garages below grade that often have inverted pitched driveways. We have multiple strategies for preventing and diverting water out and away from your home.
In some instances cracks that occur in the foundation walls from settling are obvious open sources of water infiltration that can be seen coming soon after a downpour begins. In these instances and for other applications a barrier wall can be built along the the outside of the foundation in front of the existing wall and backfilled with mortar to make a waterproof barrier to a compromised wall.
French Drain and Sum Pump
As the last and final option after all water has been diverted away from the foundation and property some home still manage to accumulate water infiltration in their basements due to a high water table. As rainfall occurs the water table in and around that home rises causing the basement areas to sit in a basin of water that inevitably finds its way through the footings seeping out onto the basement floors. Even with additional measures that can be taken to waterproof the interior masonry, often times in these cases an interior French Drain and sump pump is needed that removes infiltrated water back out to the exterior of the home to be carried off accordingly through subsequent drainage.
Whichever option fits your property best. Contact us for an expert evaluation of your drainage and waterproofing issues. Scroll down below to see the problems faced by some of our customers and the solutions we provided for their waterproofing and drainage issues.