fixing laudry room wall

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Hi I am trying to fix my laundry room wall, which has this issue now (please s ee video below)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M91IraGxkc8

One contractor came and said that area in the wall is not isolated and it i s not drywall but somewhere in the middle of that wall, drywall starts from middle until the window. he said that area (from the middle to the button) need to be removed to install new drywall.
I am thinking about quick and more cost effect solution. I thought of buyin g a drywall and cut it to cover that area and that will provide a support t o existing wall. I will be very similar to what i did in the following vide o but the board will be bigger (higher) so it will meet with another dry wa ll and then screw them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qZvPxKf9Rs

is that good idea?
Went to Home depot and found they have the following 1) dry wall 2)tile backer (dens shield) 3) cement board 4) cgc gypsum board 5) fiberock panel
Which board should I use in this case
Thanks a lot.
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leza wang wrote:

First, you would need to know what the wall is made of -- meaning how it is constructed.
You are using the terms "dry wall" and "drywall" in different ways.
A "dry wall" is a wall that is not wet (in other words, a wall that is dry).
"Drywall" is another name or term for sheetrock (also known as plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, or gyprock):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drywall .
Water is causing the damage to your wall. From the view that you showed, it looks like the wall under the window is below the ground level. In other words, when looking at the window from the outside, it would be above the ground level, and then there is dirt. The exterior wall below the ground level in your basement/laundry area is probably stone, or masonry, or cement, or whatever -- but I doubt that it is "drywall" (sheetrock). But, the only way to know what the wall is on the inside in the laundry room is to break out a little section of it where the leak and wet area is and see what's there.
The next problem is figuring out how to stop the water from getting into the wall from the outside. That can be done in different ways, but sometimes it is just a matter of directing rain the water away from the wall.
Can you provide a photo or video of that laundry room window area from the outside so we can see what's out there?
If the wall itself (on the inside in the laundry room, under the window) is some kind of masonry or cement, you may be able to repair the wall with mortar, masonry, cement etc.
Putting any kind of sheetrock, wood, etc. on the inside is not going to stop the water from coming in.
I have a hunch that when the contractor was telling you that you don't have "dry wall" at the bottom, but you do have "dry wall" starting about halfway up and going up to the window -- he just meant that the wall is "wet" at the bottom and "dry" on the upper half -- NOT that you have sheetrock ("drywall") on the upper half of the wall.
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On Friday, June 28, 2013 6:13:07 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

Thanks TomR for your reply. Actually I meant Drywall (sheetrock). I just we nt there and removed some part of that wall to see what is behind it. It lo oks to me it is like a Drywall but different material (like mud inside) and it is mounted on cement (i think the foundation is cement), please see thi s video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
ïOpazKu_z0
now i am thinking i can take out all that board and put a new one (Drywall) maybe, but I am not sure how to mount a Drywall onto cement. I really scar ed from damaging the foundation if i hammer a nail that might crack it sinc e the house is old (1925)
the window from outside is look like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfazDyGeh2Y

Thanks once again
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On Friday, June 28, 2013 6:13:07 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

The videos help a lot.
It looks like you have some type of masonry/cement (I don't know the exact term) foundation/basement wall. And, the wall is covered on the inside with sheetrock/drywall as you said. It looks like someone added the sheetrock to try to give a finished look to the walls in the laundry room.
It's hard to tell how the sheetrock is attached. It could be that there are wood furring strips attached to the basement foundation wall and the sheetrock attached to that. Or, maybe the sheetrock is just glued to the foundation wall.
The problem is that with the wall leaking, no sheetrock or anything else that you put there is going to stop the water from getting in and the wall deteriorating. And, no sheetrock or other wall covering is going to make the wall stronger or hold it up better.
The water is coming in because the bottom of the window is at ground level, and I'm sure when it rain water creates a little lake on that slab of concrete and paver stones and then flows down in through the bottom of the window and probably down into the ground next to the wall. To help direct the water away, you could put in a smaller window (smaller in height) and create a cement/brick barrier a couple of inches high along the bottom of the existing window opening. Or, build a small cement/concrete barrier a couple of inches high across the front of the existing window to help keep water from coming in. It would also be good if you could find a way to grade the water run-off in the back so it flows away from the house and window -- but that doesn't look too easy to do. And, if those are cracks in the concrete slab next to the window, seal those cracks to prevent water from draining down into the ground underneath the slab
For the inside of the wall, you could break away the sheetrock covering that is there now. That won't weaken the wall. Then, after solving the water problem, decide how to "finish" the inside of the wall. Depending on what is underneath the sheetrock, you could patch and fill any cracks in the wall with patching cement that is made for that. Then, maybe just paint the masonry/cement wall with Drylok paint or something similar.
Good luck.
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On Friday, June 28, 2013 11:13:09 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

Agree with the essence of what Tom said. There is a lot wrong here and it's not a simple easy fix. First problem, like Tom said, that window should not be touching the concrete slab outside. If the window hasn't rotted away yet, it will. How is the slab pitched? I would not be surprised that it either has no pitch or it's pitched toward the house, instead of away. The bottom of the whole window, ie the outside of the window frame, should be 2" min ABOVE the concrete slab. Is that window made of wood, have an outside wood frame? Any wood in direct contact with water like that will wick it up and rot. It may take 10, 20 years for it to be totally shot, but it will happen. If the window is vinyl and set into the foundation wall without wood, then it will last, but it still will have the water leakage problem.
A possible way to fix that would be to put in a window well. That would work as long as only a reasonable amount of water gets to the well and the soil has decent drainage. If not, then it can be solved with a window well that drains somewhere. The "somewhere" is the next problem. Unless there is a low enough spot on the lot to drain it to above ground, the other option is to dig down all the way to the weeping tile system and direct it there. I saw Holmes on Homes show do exactly that in one of their episodes.
Next issue outside is what is happening with the gutters? Are they clean or overflowing? Where is rain water being directed? It should be taken 6 to 10 feet away from the house. And the grading all around the perimeter should slope AWAY from the house.
With any basement water issue, you always want to start with the outside. Some simple, easy and cheap things to fix outside can keep a lot of water from coming in. And if you don't do that, a lot of expensive attempts from inside won't work.
Moving to the inside, what you have there is just cheap, dumb, poor construction. Someone put up drywall almost directly in contact with the basement foundation wall. As Tom pointed out, looks like there is some very thin furring strips, then drywall. It should have been framed out using 2 x 4 studs. Then you have some decent seperation from the masonry wall which will always have some dampness and the drywall. There should also be a vapor barrier. IMO, as built, it's destined to fail, no matter how much you try to fix it. It's also a great place for mold to grow. The plywood sheet, as you realize, is just a bandaid.
Another thing I would consider is how necessary having that laundry room drywalled really is. There are plenty of basements that have a washer/dryer that don't have them in a finished area. Just thought I'd throw that out as an option that could simplify things. To really solve your problem down there, if you want it finished you have to:
A - Fix the water issues outside I listed
B - Tear down all that sheetrock mess inside and redo it as stated above.
IMO, anything you do short of that is just a bandaid. I also take it from your other posts that this house is a relatively new purchase. Before I rebuilt that basement laundry room, I'd make sure I had some history of what happens in heavy rains. I'd also put on a raincoat, go outside in a heavy rain and look at where water is going that comes off the roof. Do the gutters take it away from the house? Or is it pouring out near the house, some downspouts overflowing, water flowing the wrong way, towards the foundation, etc. And see what water comes in the basement during a heavy rain.
Finally, if you had contractors over and they didn't discuss all, or at least most of the above with you, I'd look for another contractor. Also, I'd be interested in knowing if you had a home inspection done and what the home inspector said about this. If the inspector missed this, then you have a legitimate claim against them, because this is very basic inspection 101 type stuff. Whether you could collect anything is another matter. If they have small claims court there, that could be an option. And if the inspector didn't flag this,I'd be very concerned about what else he missed. Also, regarding the water problem, IDK what the laws are in CA, but here in most of the US, if the seller didn't disclose this to you, you'd have a decent shot at a case against them to make them pay. It's hard to believe they didn't know the laudry room was getting wet and rotting away. What did you see when you looked at it? Fresh paint?
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On Saturday, June 29, 2013 9:05:06 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Thanks tra for the help, i really appreciate it very much. the cement/concr ete slap in front of the window, i am the one who made it! There were brick s there and i removed them and put cement there. Now the water stays at som e part, so what I am planning to do now is to put more cement there to uppe r that part. I will start from the window and move away toward the outside as you suggested.
About the inside, I started tearing up the Drywall. Sorry did you suggested to keep as it is after removing the Drywall? I do not mind it to leave it unfinished. I do not care about the look now, I care if it works or not.
The house was not inspected and I bought it "As-it-is" condition! Clearly, I am paying the price now!
The contractor did not even talk about the window, he just said he will rep lace the Drywall. I will do it myself with help from friends and people fro m here and thank you so much.
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On Saturday, June 29, 2013 9:29:37 AM UTC-4, leza wang wrote:

cks there and i removed them and put cement there. Now the water stays at s ome part, so what I am planning to do now is to put more cement there to up per that part. I will start from the window and move away toward the outsid e as you suggested.

I don't seee how you could do that. The cement is already up to the bottom of the window, looks like it covers the window frame, which again isn't right.

t unfinished. I do not care about the look now, I care if it works or not.

You can do what you want. I for sure would not waste money on attempted fixes inside until the water problems are fixed. I don't know how the laundry area fits in with the rest of the basement, whether the rest is finished or not, etc. IF you can live with it unfinished, that is the easiest solution.

discount. Even then, unless you know enough about how to inspect yourself, I would never recommend anyone buy a house without an inspection. You could pay $100K for a house that needs $50K of work.

rom here and thank you so much.
Cross that contractor off your list. This is very basic stuff and if he didn't address the real issues, you would just be paying him $$$ for a fix that isn't going to work. If he just replaced that inside drywall, you could have problems again after the first big rain.
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leza wang wrote:

From looking at the videos, it looks like it will not be easy to add to the cement/concrete slab to make it higher and make the water run away from the house. There doesn't seem to be much opportunity to raise it along the house side due to the window.
If it were me, I would start with trying to deal with the window where the biggest problem is that the bottom of the window is at ground level. There are a couple of possibilities that would be quick, easy, and cheap to do that will probably help the problem for now. These won't be complete fixes I don't think, but you could try one or more of them easily and see what happens.
The idea is to use the wall of the house and the existing concrete slab as the barriers that prevent the water from getting into the basement. But, one major "weak point" is the bottom 1/4 or 1/3 of the window. You need a barrier across the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the window to keep the water from getting in there.
I have one property where 2 basement windows are located like yours are -- with the bottom of the window at ground level. For various reasons, I can't lower the ground level or get it to slope completely away from those two windows. So, what I did was get 2 pieces of "Lexan" (clear hard plastic) that are longer than the window width and about 8 inches high. In other words, two pieces that are about 8 inches by 30 inches. I slid them down into the dirt along the wall in front of each window so that the piece of Lexan goes across the bottom of each window and covers about the bottom 4 inches of the window. That creates a barrier to keep the water from flowing into the bottom of each window. I used clear 100% silicone caulk and put caulk between the Lexan and the wall on each side of the window to help keep water from getting in through the sides along the wall. That worked. The real fix for me would have been new windows where I created a higher window sill first and put in smaller-height windows. But, I ended up not having to do that because my quick fix worked well for me.
In your case, you have a concrete slab that goes right up to the wall and window, so you probably can't slide Lexan pieces down in that space along the wall (I had dirt to slide the Lexan down into). But I would bet that you could do the same trick by using Lexan plastic as a barrier, and just figure out a way to set it in place across the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the windows on top of the concrete slab, and then use clear 100% silicone caulk to caulk it at the bottom and the two sides to make a waterproof seal to keep the water out of the window.
Next, caulk along the area where the concrete slab meets the wall. And, if the lines that I see in the concrete slab in the video are actually cracks, seal and caulk those cracks. What I am think looks like cracks may just be an extension cord or something like that laying on the slab, but if there are cracks, caulk them to seal them. For the concrete cracks and along the edge where the slab meets the wall, use the right type of caulk -- maybe not the 100% silicone, but I'm not sure about that. You could look and see what they have at Home Depot for caulking or sealing concrete cracks. Or, you may want to try this stuff called "Quad": http://www.homedepot.ca/product/quad-low-voc-advanced-formula-sealant-grey-517-295ml/969588 .
I'll write a separate post about keeping more water away from your house and foundation in that area in general.

I agree with the idea of keeping the wall as-is after removing the drywall. Leave it unfinished for now. Then, figure out how to do any patching if needed. But, don't add back any covering like drywall etc.
And, don't paint it. If, after fixing the wall, you decide that you want to paint it, you should use something like Drylok waterproofing paint. Don't do that until you are at the right point where that may make sense. Drylok is just one brand, and there are others. But, those waterproofing products/paints do not work if you paint the wall first with any regular paint. The FIRST coating on the unfinished/unpainted wall has to be Drylok or other brand waterproofing paint. It is really a waterproofing "cement-like" mixture and I think some people call it waterproofing cement (not sure).

Don't lose too much sleep over whether you had a home inspection or not. Yes, they are a good idea, especially if you are not sure about what to look for on your own. But that's "water under the bridge", or in this case, "water into the laundry room" now (my little poor sense of humor), and you can't really do anything about that now.

That's an indication that the contractor is not someone that you would want to use. He should have seen and explained what the real problem is, and then talked about various options that you may have to correct the situation.
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On Saturday, June 29, 2013 1:38:01 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

Thanks all for all your help. I removed the Drywall, please see the video below. Now should I paint it with "Drylok" paint? if yes which one of these I should buy?
http://www.rona.ca/en/brand/DRYLOK
now the wall look like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XMXebzxaC8

if you noticed there are some crack close to the window (0:30), can I use the silicon you just suggested for that?
I am thinking to clean the wall with paint Thinner and wait to dry before i paint it, just to keep it clean, is that good idea?
There some black ants going in/outside the Drywall, when i removed the drywall found some tunnels (nothing inside)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snIXZTuMiHg

are these termites tunnels? i do not see they ate the concrete!
Thanks a lot.
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I would say do not paint or repair the wall just yet. First, wait for more rain, and then watch and see where the water is coming in now that the wall is almost fully exposed. Once you know more about where the water is coming in, you can decide how to solve the water leak problem first.
The exposed wall does not appear to be in that bad of shape. I have a hunch that when it rains you will find that most (or all) of the water that is coming in is coming in at the top of the wall where the window is -- meaning through the bottom of the window and then the water running down from there.
Do not patch any cracks in the inside wall with silicone sealant. Any wall patching or repairs on the inside will need to be done with cement-based products and/or Drylok products -- not silicone.
If it turns out that most or all of the water coming in is through the window, you can probably fix that in a couple of different ways. It may be that replacing the window with a slightly smaller window (in height) will work. By that I mean, you may be able to remove that window, including the wooden frame and wooden window sill -- and then build a new concrete window sill that goes up a few inches higher than the existing window sill. You would probably do that by breaking out the section along the bottom of the window where the cracks are now, then building the new concrete window sill from there up. (That would be better than trying to fill or repair the cracks under the window sill). Then, you would have to put a new window in on top of that new (higher) concrete window sill. The new higher concrete window sill will block the water from coming in through there.
The other options are to leave the window in place now and build a barrier across the bottom of the window on the outside to block the water -- either cement/concrete or Lexan -- as I described before.
Once you have figured out and solved the water problem; then you can later deal with patching and sealing the exposed wall -- but don't do that now.
Here is a brief link that shows the steps that Drylok describes for waterproofing the wall:
http://www.drylok.com/step-by-step/ .
They talk about "etching" (or acid washing) the wall first, then patching any cracks or holes with Drylok FastPlug, then using the Drylok waterproofing paint (probably the Latex version, in my opinion).
About the possible termites -- I don't think what you have there looks like termite tubes or tunnels. It looks more like where the ants made a home behind the old drywall.
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One possible fix for the window is to remove the old frame, get down to good block and mortar in a 2” thick patio block to create a flat surface for a glass block window. The patio block (or 2?) may give you the height you need to keep the water out.
And guess what? You can get a dryer vent designed to fit in a glass block window. Here's just one example.
http://www.starkglassblock.com/m_photogallery_photo.asp?idv
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On Sunday, June 30, 2013 9:18:04 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

Do the "ants" have wings? The video is blurry, can't see much. Termites have wings. There are also carpenter ants, which are large black ants, no wings. If you see tunneling into the wood, eating it away, then you definitely have some kind of wood insect that needs to be addressed. Left untreated, they can destroy the whole house.

+1. I would not use Drylock until the water problem is first fixed from the OUTSIDE. The way that slab outside runs right up to the window, Drylock isn't going to solve anything.

Agree. With the bottom of the window being defined as the lowest portion of the window and whatever it's framed into, before the concrete starts.

+1 and no Drylock until the water problem is fixed.

I doubt that will work. As long as water can pool up outside, it will find a way in.

Doubt that will work either. The solution is proper grading, perhaps a window well.

+1

Could be just common ants. They will nest in wood cavities, but they don't eat the wood. If there is evidence of tunneling, wood gone, then it could be termites or carpenter ants. Anytime you have wood in contact with water, you're inviting them in. That's why with proper construction, you don't have wood in contact with soil, except in certain circumstances using pressure treated lumber.
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Trader4,
I've noticed that we generally seem to be thinking along the same lines on this whole project -- except that I keep referring to building some kind of barrier in front of the window and you talk more instead about building a window well.
Then it dawned on me that we may be talking about a similar approach but using different terms. I was thinking that by "window well" you meant to dig out around the front of the window and create a window well. But maybe what you meant was to create a metal, plastic, or masonry/stone window well wall around the window (without digging down below the existing grade level); then maybe adding a clear plastic window well cover on top of that to let light in but keep the rain out of the window well; and, then build up the ground level around the new window well so the ground can be graded to allow the water to run off away from the house.
I think that would work.
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On Monday, July 1, 2013 10:21:57 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

When you install a window well below grade, you're not relying on caulking or anything else to seal it and keep the water out. You have a well that is either deep enough with the soil having enough percolation to accomadate the water that goes in, or you could have it tied into the weeping tile system at the footers. I saw Holmes up in CA doing one like that, ie tied to the footer drainage. Either way, the water comes into the well and drains away. To try to keep the water out by caulking around any kind of barrier is just a temporary fix, at best.
Other than that, I agree we have similar ideas on how it should be fixed.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

My thinking is that not much water is really getting into her basement, but most, if not all, of the water that is getting in is just running across the bottom sill of the window because it is at ground level. In one of the OP's photos or videos, it looks like the cement slab that she built is relatively flat and does not build up any large puddles. So, my hunch is that if she can keep the water away from the window, and maybe caulk or seal the seam along the outside foundation wall where the slab meets it, her water problem might be solved.
That's why I think a low-cost barrier in front of the window (like the semi-circular plastic window well wall) and a window well cover may be the only fix she needs.
On the inside, there doesn't appear to be much evidence that water is coming in through the lower parts of the wall -- just overflow from the window. But, that's why I suggested that she leave the wall bare until after a couple a rain storms and watch to see where the water is coming in.
I do know what you mean by the Holmes-show-style window well solutions, but I'm not sure that the OP's situation would require that.
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On 6/29/2013 9:29 AM, leza wang wrote:

I could not see the "tunnels" you referred to, but black ants in tunnels are usually Carpenter ants. They tunnel into damp/rotten wood and sometimes into old termite tunnels. With the water-damaged wood and drywall beneath the window, I would be surprised NOT to find Carpenter ants. Have you had the house inspected by termite company or other pest control contractor? If not, you should and it should be done yearly. Also, look online for information about avoiding termite infestations, and try to find info specific to your locale. Different species of termites are predominant in different areas of the country and in different conditions.
Stores like Lowes and Home Depot have good "how to" books for homeowners that are good for beginners....if you are familiar with how things are done to build or repair home, you will be better able to spot problems before they become big ones.
As for termites, if there are areas like your basement window, you can check around the window to spot signs of termites....little lines of blistered-appearing paint on surface of drywall, wings shed on sills of windows, tap on wood around window to see if areas sound more hollow than the areas that are not damaged. On outside of foundation, subterranean termites build "mud tubes" to reach from soil to wood...they do not crawl in areas open to the sunlight. Soil should not be closer than 6 to 8 inches below the wood sills of the exterior walls. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed so they do not contact roof or wood parts of the house.
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On Friday, June 28, 2013 11:13:09 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

Thanks a lot TomR. I will fix the issue from outside .. about the inside, I really liked the idea of using patching cement to replace the not-so-dry D rywall. I took must of it out now, but I wonder if there is any special cem ent for that or regular cement can be used? Thanks once again for all the h elp.
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leza wang wrote:

You are doing a great job with the photos and videos. That really helps so everyone can see exactly what you have there and maybe figure out the best way to fix it.
Since you have most of the drywall out or off, if you could do another photo or two (or video) of the wall without the drywall there, that would probably help too.
I doubt that there would be any reason to try to put up any new drywall -- definitely, at least not now.
Depending on how the original foundation wall looks, I'm sure it would be easy to figure out what to do with it. There are different types of fillers and coatings that can be used, but it depends on what is there now, whether there are big cracks, etc.
I have various properties with different types of basement walls. Deciding how to finish them is easy once the type of wall and amount of damage is taken into consideration.
My guess is that the water damage has washed away some parts of the basement wall, but the can probably be patched or fixed fairly easily.
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This is about how to fix the water problem on the outside of the house:
Depending on what the real water problem is, this could be a fairly big job. If you are lucky and the only real problem is water that is getting in through the window, then the fix may be much simpler as I described in other posts.
But, in general, the fix for a water problem is to get the outside water to run AWAY from the house.
There are various ways of doing that. One is, if it is possible, you may be able to remove dirt etc. to grade the ground so water runs away from your house and out through the side or back boundaries of your property. That would involve digging out and removing dirt and allowing the water to run to a lower area (such as the side driveway etc.
Also, it is possible that you would need to take up the bricks and the concrete slab that you built, then dig a deep trench down along the wall on the outside, the "parge" and seal the wall from the outside. That's a big job, and I have a hunch that other fixes that you could do will solve the problem and prevent having to remove the slab, dig, and parge, and seal on the outside. "Parge", by the wall, means putting a coating of mortar or cement on the outside of the wall (below the ground level) to help seal and waterproof the wall on the outside. After Parging, the wall can also be sealed with an asphalt-based waterproof coating that would be below the ground level, then fill the dirt back in.
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On Sunday, June 30, 2013 9:32:23 PM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

Thanks a lot for all your help. I am going to do that now (remove dirt etc). Thanks once again really appreciate it.
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