gutter repair and damp basement

Hi All,
I'm a newbie to this group and did a search but found nothing specific to my problem.
Situation: I have a twin roof house with the second roof over attached garage and spare bedroom. Each roof has 2 downspouts, front and back. The house was built with a raised foundation by increasing the ground level due to high water table. The primary roof has down spouts that spill onto lawn (westside) and yes, I've extended the spillway several feet from the house. The second roof's rain water spills out onto the driveway (eastside). The driveway spillway is a recent addition that has improved /reduced the rain water water table problem. In addition, I have a sump well and pump to remove water about 2 feet or less below basement floor. Finally, both roof gutters have a slight sag due to age, causing 25% of rain water to over flow gutters during heavy rains.
Problem: Rain water from primary roof gets into basement causing dampness.
Thoughts: I am thinking about having the gutter redone with pitch sloping towards second roof (east) and move downspout to east end of primary roof so that rain water spills onto second roof. My aim is to get rain water into street and down the sewer drain.
Question: What are problems with such a design? Is this even advisable? Should I have sump well made deeper?
Thanks in advance - Burnt home owner
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I dont think the dept of the sump well will affect anything. The depth of the drain tiles would, but the sump wont. If your sump is functioning then this water must be leaking in through the walls. I think since you identified the problem with the roof, its probably easiest to fix that.
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CL Gilbert
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Hi Gilbert,
Thanks for the reply. Please excuse my ignorance, but what are drain tiles?
BTW, I agree, I think the water is coming in through the walls. I just thought that by lowering the water table, water pressure on the basement walls would be reduced.
On another note, will redirecting spillway onto second roof damage shingles on second roof?
Thanks in advance - Burnt
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Drain 'tiles' are the pipes that run typically around the perimeter of your foundation. They are plastic and have holes in them for the water to seep into. The water level around your foundation should be no higher than the height of the drain tiles. The tiles are piped into your basement floor where they are then piped into your sump pit. The water falls into the sump pit from a pipe, it does not raise from the bottom.
So if you want to lower the level of water you have to lower the drain tiles. And if you lower the drain tiles you will probably need to lower the sump pit.
But I doubt seriously that this is the problem. google for keepbasementdry2.pdf. You should find this document on misterfix-it.com. it will explain quite a bit to you.
i dont know if more water will damage the 2nd roof. I doubt it. just make sure the downspot can handle it, as you only have prolems in heavy rain anyway IIRC.
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CL Gilbert
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Hi Gilbert,
Thanks for the information, I learn something new everyday.
BTW, my drain tiles are between 8 inches to a foot below the basement floor. The drain tile is about 4 inches in diameter.
On anoter note, I can see the water table, as I've used a shop vac to remove water below the pump in the sump pit. The water table just seeps into the pit. This was done when I was trying to diagnose and devise a solution
Hopefully, when I have the gutter work done my problems will be gone.
Thanks again for all the help and information. I greatly appreciate your efforts.
Sincerely - Burnt
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Burnt wrote:

Wow, thats great.

yea me too, when I clean my pit. But my pit does not hold water like yourse. My sump is at the bottom of my pit. If I turn off my sump the water will fill up to a certain point and stop. But thats just because the outside is filling up. Installation of drain tiles and sump pit _lowers_ the water table. So the level you are seeing is probably not final. If you turn off the sump for a long while (depending on your volume of ground water) it will raise to its natural level.
So it sounds like your sump pit does have the water come in from the bottom, and not drop in from the top so to speak?

Good luck.
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CL Gilbert
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Drain tiles are just a fancy word for for the underground pipes with holes to drain water from around the foundation. They are usually surrounded by fabric to keep mud out and gravel which again is surrounded by fabric to keep separate from mud.

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote on 19 Jul 2005:

Your ability to lower the water table without major pumps is about nil.
The good news is that it likely isn't the water table. Does water flow into the basement on days when it isn't raining? No? Then it's probably rain water either temporarily raising the water table, or, more likely, running from the roof down the exterior basement walls.
Drain tile helps with both problems, but a roof's worth of hard rain can easily overwhelm gravity or a sump pump.
Fix the gutters and the ground slope before you do any other work!
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Doug Boulter

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Hi Doug,
Actually, I did get water flow into the basement twice without heavy rain. They happened during a couple of hard winters (different winters) a week or so after a series of big snow storm, while the snow was melting. The sump pit had overflowed and the pump had broke. However, this is a very rare occurance that I can live with.
Thanks for the advice, I will be fixing the gutters.
Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the ground slope. The house's foundation was raised such that ground level is about 2 feet above street level. With an additional elevation of 5 steps (nearly 2 feet) to the front door. Some time in the future, I will talk with a landscaping friend regrading the front lawn per your advice. Unfortunately, the backyard has a full length patio, i.e. flat concrete. Nothing I can do about that.
BTW, based on prior discussion, I will not be doing any work on the sump pit or lowering the drain tile. However, is there a way to upgrade the efficiency of the existing drain tile without tearing up the foundation? If yes, then this will be a future project, after the grading of the front lawn.
Thank you for your advice, your help was greatly appreciated.
Sincerely - Burnt
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Burnt wrote:

Yes your drain tile is impressivly low. I wonder how you know the height of your drain tiles though?
You seem to have indicated that your sump pump only pumps water down to a certain level. mine pumps the pit till its near empty. If your pump is not pumping the pit to near empty it may need its float adjusted or a new float or a float cleaning. Or you could need your exhaust pipes snaked/cleaned. Make sure the check valve is good too. How much does your pump run. Are the pipes that enter your pit always full of water?
Also if your pit ocassionally floods, you could need a stronger pump that can pump more volume. But don't get buck wild as I think the stronger pumps are more noisy too.
If you dont have a backup pump could be a good time to install one. Like a water powered one. it will work if your power fails, but it will also kick in when the existing pump cant handle the load.

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Hi Gilbert,
I can literally see the pipes, they are exposed. The measurement is a rough visual guess. The sump is a plunger style and it sits on a cylinder block, but yes it pumps until the pit is nearly empty. Sorry for the confusion.
When the pump is under heavy use, it literally knocks itself over from all the shaking from the cycling. Once the rubber connecting hose (pump to pvc exhaust pipe) popped off from heavy usuage.
No the drain tiles flow water at a rate of about 1 cup every 10 seconds under heavy rain. Again this is a rough guess, using frig's water dispensor as comparison.
I'll look up the water powered pump and see what I can find. Can you supply a link?
Thanks for all the help, all this information is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Burnt
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Burnt wrote:

Ahh. You are seeing the pipes that come into the sump pit? Or your basement is dirt and not cement? The drain tiles should be outside the house around the perimeter of the foundation. You may see the pipes that drain the drain tiles, but I be surprised if you see the drain tiles themselves? But I have read that sometimes they bring the tiles into the house too.
My house uses drain tiles around the perimeter, then about 6 bleeder 'pipes' to bring the water across the basement wall, then pvc piping under the basement floor and sloping downward to the sump pit. (actually sloping upward, but the plumber is on his way out to fix this-warranty claim)

Interesting. my pump has no rubber hoses. Its straight PVC and screws into the pump. I lift my pump out of the pit by the pvc exhaust pipe. This is all rigid piping and there is no movement. my pump sits on the bottom of the pit. Yes there is sand and stuff buildup. I am going to shop vac it this weekend.
Make sure you have a check valve on that exhaust pipe and make sure its functional.

No, it was installed in my house when I moved in. Hope depot perhaps?

Well I'm not actually a plumber but I have had them over my house about 8 times in the last month working on my foundation drainage system. My sump pit fills up about every 2 minutes. Rain doesent change much. Maybe you just need to clean the pump, adjust the float, and snake the exhaust pipe. I had to put a new pump in.
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Hi Gilbert,
Sorry for the late response, I had company and the PC is in the spare room.
As for your questions and statements:
1) I have a concrete floor with a sump pit in the corner of the basement 2) Maybe, these are feeder pipes coming from the tile drain, I can not tell. 3) Pump works fine. However, the flow rate to the drain tiles does not fill up my sump pit in 2 minutes. Maybe, this is the problem? 4) The connecting hose is a common item that is available in Home Depot. Sorry, I forgot the hoses name.
Thank you very much for your time and effort, it is greatly appreciated.
Thanks again for your response - Burnt
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Yes, several things.
1) Depending on what the drain tile is made of, you can have it roto-rootered. Even better if they have a camera they can send in for a look-see.
2) Today it's common practice to wrap the drain tile in a geo- textile fabric to prevent the fines in the water from getting into the drain tile and clogging it. Digging up exterior drain tile is expensive, but won't disturb the foundation. If it's under the basement floor, then it's probably too expensive for the gain. Cheaper to install exterior drain tile.

Well, you could either put another 3" of concrete on top of the existing with a gentle slope away from the house, or you could build raised flower beds, benches, etc. along the house wall to keep the water from flowing into the crack between the patio and the house.
Of course, sealing that crack is cheaper, but the seal should be checked at least once a year.
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Doug Boulter

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Hi Doug,
I was afraid you were going to say that. Oh well, this is life. I'll have to do a 2 year study after fixing the gutters to justify expenditure for the exterior drain tiles.
I'll have to add the 3 inches of concrete and raised flower beds, as the patio is touching the house for about 20 feet the remaining length are 2 flower bed areas. The flower beds are tough as the AC heat exchanger is blocking one of the beds.
Thanks for your advice and information. I greatly appreciate your help.
Sincerely - Burnt
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Use oversized gutters and downspouts. They cost a lot more but should help in your case.

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Hi Art,
Thanks for the reply. I do have another question about rediredting the spillway. Will directing spillway onto second roof, damage the second roof's shingles?
Thank you in advance, your help is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely - Burnt
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Not likely. But on re-reading your original post, why do you need to pitch gutters to reach the roof. Gutters are better off level so they don't clog as quickly.

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Hi Art,
In all plumbing that is not pump assisted, including the ancient waterways of Italy, the pathway has a pitch such that it uses the force of gravity to move the water or sewage. The pitch is very minor maybe 1 or 2 degrees. In plumbers math, I think the rule of thumb is 1 inch per 10 feet or something like that.
Anyway, the current pitch is towards the west side of the house and the second roof is on the east side. This may be different for gutters as you mentioned they accumlate debris. However, I had gutter guards added in hopes of reducing rain water overflow due to clogged gutters. Unfortunately, they still overflow due to a sag in the gutters, middle section of primary roof overflows during heavy rain. I should have had them check the pitch also, my bad.
Thanks for all the advice, it is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely - Burnt
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