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Keeping the basement dry

Posted by Bruce Miller on August 10th, 1997 11:10 PM
In reply to Waterproofing basement DYI by Andy McGill on July 14th, 1997 01:06 AM [Go to top of thread]

Hi Alan:
You don't mention why you want to waterproof. Do you currently have a water problem? Have you checked the obvious first: gutters/downspouts or poor drainage away from house.

In my case, I wanted to convert my basement to a finished livin g area. My sloping lot has the south side about 50% underground, while the North side is completely below grade. I figured if I was going to spend the $$ to finish my 8.5' deep basement, I wanted to make sure it always stayed dry.

What I did was break u p my basement slab about 18" or so back from the wall, around the entire perimeter of the basement, and dug down to the top of the footing that was about 16" below the slab. In this trench, I placed 4" ABS drain pipe, pitching it from a high corner to the opposite corner at 1/8" per foot of run. I put clay fill under the high end to get it up to grade....don't use gravel for this. I then drilled holes at the bottom of each cinderblock column, then covered the pipe with builder's (tight weave) mesh, and th en back filled and tamped with p-gravel up to the bottom of the old slab, then mixed up and repoured the slab, feathering it onto the old. To break up the old slab, use an electric jack hammer so you get a ragged edge. Don't use a concrete diamond saw, as this will form a sharp line between old and new....very hard to feather to.

The low corner goes to a sump pump pit, with a 1.25" pvc pipe that runs up and out the wall on this lowest corner of the house with good slope-away drainage.

Did this almost 4 years ago. Basement has been dry as a bone, even during simultaneous hard rains and melting snow. Total cost to me: about $250

Oh, and there is an excellent article, same subject, in the Sept 97 issue of Fine Homebuilding.

Best wishes

Bruce M

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