What is the best way to end basement flooding ?

Asked by Linda
Phoenicia, NY

I have a modular on top of a block wall basement installed in an old creek bed area in the 1980's. With heavy rain it literally fills up to the windows with water. Drylok was brushed on inside on most of the lower wall area but it still takes on two feet of water with every heavy rain. Do I need to excavate all around the outside and install a waterproof membrane, especially near the footings ? I don't know if there is a perimeter drain and the builder and original owner have died and I'm low income.


Sean Lintow Sr

Answered by Sean Lintow Sr

Naperville, IL

SLS Construction & Building Solutions

February 13, 2013

Well Linda I hate to be the bearer of bad news but all the membranes and paint in the world isn't going to solve the issue.

  • It might slow it down some, 
  • but it won't solve it.

The biggest issue is you are sitting on a dry creek bed... and as you have found out - dry creek beds don't always stay dry. Even when one appears to barely have any runoff in it during a rain storm, water can still be flowing just under the surface.

The fix, assuming you are not affecting any wetlands or other areas regulated by the EPA,  and moving the house or losing the basement is not an option: you first need to find a way to divert the water around your house.

  • There are numerous methods and means but you need someone on site to tell you what would be best given the site conditions.
  • You also will need to excavate around your house, install &/or fix the existing membrane and install a French drain (aka drainage tile) that drains to daylight.
  • When filling everything back in you will need to make sure you grade the land back out away from your house by 1" for every foot (minimum 6').
  • Gutters should also be used with downspouts directing the water out away from the house.

On the interior, hopefully they installed a French drain inside the basement and dump it into a sump pit to be pumped away.

  • If so, scoping the line and taking care of any issues should be done.
  • If they didn't... hopefully the outside changes will handle everything but you will still need at least one sump pump with a backup with both of them draining to daylight.

For more information:

Read "My lawn is lower than the lawns of the homes that surround me. What is the best strategy for keeping water out of my basement?" a Q&A answered by Elizabeth DiSalvo.

Tagged In: basement moisture

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